- Historical event:
- 1 April 1922
- Blessed Charles of Austria died in exile because the victorious powers after World War I wanted him to move away from the area of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was only 34 years old, and his wife was pregnant at the time (with their eighth child).
On this day in 1922 Charles I of Austria (or Charles IV of Hungary) died.
He was the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He inherited the throne from the famous Emperor Franz Joseph, who was his cousin through the male line.
Charles became the ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1916, i.e. in the middle of the war. He tried to stop the war through secret diplomatic channels, which angered his German allies. He was very devout, and Pope John Paul II (canonized in 2014) beatified him in 2004.
Charles died in exile because the victorious powers after World War I wanted him to get away from the area of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. So they used the British ship, and brought him to the island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. The island is located north of the Canary Islands, and belongs to Portugal even though it is hundreds of miles away from that state.
The victorious powers chose Madeira due to the relative isolation of the island in the ocean. Charles was there with his wife Zita (the process of her beatification has also been launched in the Catholic Church) and their children. They lived in relatively modest circumstances compared to their previous residences.
Blessed Charles of Austria died only a few months after arriving in Madeira. In fact, he got pneumonia, and died on this day in 1922. He was only 34 years old. Zita was pregnant at the time with their eighth child – Archduchesses Elizabeth, who was born about two months later.