Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria

Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria

Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria-Teschen ("Karl Stephan Eugen Viktor Felix Maria von Österreich-Teschen", later "Karl Stephan Habsburg-Lothringen", from 1919 – "Karol Stefan Habsburg-Lotaryński"; (5 September 1860-7 April 1933) was a member of the House of Habsburg and a Grand Admiral in the Austro-Hungarian Navy.


Charles Stephen was the son of Karl Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria (son of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen; 1818-1874) and of his wife Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria (1831-1903). He was born at Židlochovice Castle (Gross Seelowitz), near Brünn (now Brno) in Moravia. At his baptism he was given the names "Karl Stephan Eugen Viktor Felix Maria". Among his siblings were Queen Maria Theresia of Bavaria, Archduke Friedrich of Austria, Queen Maria Cristina of Spain, and Archduke Eugen of Austria.

On 28 February 1886 at Vienna Charles Stephen married Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria-Tuscany (Brandeis-Altbunzlau (Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav), 18 September 1862-Castle of Saybusch (Żywiec), 10 May 1933). ["Marriage of an Archduke", "The Times" (March 1, 1886): 5.] She was the daughter of Archduke Karl Salvator of Austria-Tuscany and his wife Princess Immacolata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. The ceremony took place in the Hofburg and was witnessed by Cardinal Ganglbauer.

Charles Stephen and Maria Theresia had six children:

*Archduchess Eleonora of Austria-Teschen (1886-1974) married morganatically Alfons von Kloss.
*Archduchess Renata of Austria-Teschen (1888-1935) married Prince Hieronymus Radziwill.
*Archduke Karl Albrecht of Austria-Teschen (1888-1951).
*Archduchess Mechthildis of Austria-Teschen (1891-1966) married Prince Olgierd Czartoryski.
*Archduke Leo Karl of Austria-Teschen (1893-1939) married Maria-Klothilde von Thuillières Gräfin von Montjoye-Vaufrey et de la Roche, had issue, among others Count Leo Stefan of Habsburg.
*Archduke Wilhelm of Austria-Teschen (1895-1948).

Military career

In 1879 Charles Stephen was commissioned as a "Seefähnrich" in the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Appointed his naval governor in 1879 was "Fregattenkapitän" (later Admiral) Hermann von Spaun, who accompanied him on a voyage to Brazil and North America in the goelette "Saida". In 1896 he retired from active duty. He continued, however, to be advanced in rank, attaining the rank of Admiral in 1901 and "Grossadmiral" (Grand Admiral) in 1911. [Lawrence Sondhaus, "The Naval Policy of Austria-Hungary, 1867-1918: Navalism, Industrial Development, and the Politics of Dualism" (West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1994), 135-136.] He was named "Marineinspekteur" (Navy Inspector), making him the titular ranking officer of the Navy. Others, however, had effective control of operations in 1914-1918; Anton Haus, Maximilian Njegovan and Miklós Horthy each served in turn as "Flottenkommandant" (Fleet Commander). In 1918 the Emperor Charles I put him in charge of the enquiry into the mutiny of the navy at Cattaro (now Kotor in Montenegro). Charles Stephen recommended a sweeping re-organisation of the navy and the appointment of Miklós Horthy as commander-in-chief. [Sondhaus, 325-326.] Infobox Austriaemperorstyles
royal name=Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria
dipstyle=His Imperial and Royal Highness
offstyle=Your Imperial and Royal Highness
Charles Stephen was an officer "à la suite" of the Imperial German Navy and proprietary head of the 8th Austrian Infantry Regiment. His brother, "Feldmarschall" Archduke Friedrich, was commander-in-chief of the Austro-Hungarian Army from July 1914 to February 1917, and his eldest son, Archduke Karl Albrecht, held the rank of "Oberst" (Colonel) at the end of World War I.

Candidate for Polish crown

On 5 November 1916 the German Emperor William II and the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria issued the 'Act of 5th November' creating the Kingdom of Poland as an independent State with a hereditary monarchy. Charles Stephen was considered as a candidate to be regent and eventually king. ["Will Crown Archduke as King of Poland", "The New York Times" (August 16, 1915): 1; Catherine Radziwill, "The Austrian Court from Within" (London: Cassell, 1916), 161; "Archduke Charles to Govern Poland", "The New York Times" (December 14, 1916): 6; "Imperial And Foreign News Items", "The Times" (May 17, 1917): 5; "The Meeting Of The Reichsrath", "The Times" (May 31, 1917): 5.]

At the time Charles Stephen was living at the Castle of Saysbusch (Żywiec), in Galicia. His chances were enhanced by the fact that he spoke fluent Polish. Two of his daughters were married to Polish princes belonging to the noble houses of Radziwill and Czartoryski. However as Charles Stephen was a member of the Imperial House of Austria he needed permission to become king from the head of the family, Emperor Charles I, who hesitated, having himself planned to assume the Polish crown. Moreover, the Radziwill and Czartoryski families urged the cause of Russia (as their ancestors had in the 18th century). Adding to the political muddle was the support of Ukraining nationalism by Charles Stephen's son, Archduke Wilhelm.

In the end, the proclamation was so vague and tentative that it failed to inspire enthusiasm among its supposed beneficiaries or even among the Germans and Austro-Hungarians themselves.


In addition to his professional career as a naval officer, Charles Stephen took an active interest in yachting. He was a flag officer of the Imperial and Royal Yacht Squadron. ["The Pola Regatta", "The Times" (April 12, 1895): 8.] His interest in yachting brought him to England on several occasions including in 1879 for the Royal Yacht Squadron Regatta, ["Yachting", "The Times" (August 8, 1879): 11.] in 1900, ["Court Circular", "The Times" (June 30, 1900): 8.] and in 1911. ["Court Circular", "The Times" (September 2, 1911): 9.] In 1892 he was made a member of the (British) Yacht Racing Association. ["Yacht Racing Association", "The Times" (January 21, 1892): 4.] He purchased several British yachts including the "Valkyrie" from the Earl of Dunraven in 1892 ["Court Circular", "The Times" (April 29, 1892): 9.] and the "Ul" from Ramage and Ferguson Limited in 1911. ["Launch of a Royal Yacht", "The Times" (May 31, 1911): 12; ""Imperial Steam Yacht", "The Times" (July 26, 1911): 24.]


When Charles Stephen's uncle Archduke Albert, Duke of Teschen died in 1895, he and his brothers each inherited large estates. His largest properties were in Galicia especially at Saybusch (now Żywiec in Poland). Among the businesses operated here was the Żywiec Brewery which was nationalized by the Communists after World War II. Charles Stephen had a palace at Pola (now Pula in Croatia) and a winter palace in Lussin (now Lošinj. He also had a palace in Vienna in the Wiedner Hauptstrasse. [Nellie Ryan, "My Years at the Austrian Court" (London: J. Lane, 1915), 76-77.]


Charles Stephen was a Bailiff and Grand Cross of Honour of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a Knight Grand Cross of the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword, and a Knight of the Austrian Order of the Golden Fleece, the Danish Order of the Elephant, the Swedish Order of the Seraphim, the Prussian Order of the Black Eagle, ["Almanach de Gotha", 1910, p. 7.] and the Tuscan Order of Saint Stephen. [Guy Stair Sainty, [ "The Sacred Military Order of Saint Stephen, Pope and Martyr" ] ] In 1916 he was named Protector of the Polish Academy of Learning in Krakow. ["Three Archdukes Removed", "The New York Times" (September 22, 1916): 3] He was a "Grossadmiral" (Grand Admiral) in the Austro-Hungarian Navy, equivalent to the rank of "Feldmarschall" (Field Marshal) in the Army.

Later life

After 1918 Charles Stephen continued to live in Żywiec, which had passed to the sovereignty of the Republic of Poland. He died there on 7 April 1933. Archduchess Maria Theresia died there a month later, on 10 May 1933. Neither lived to see the war fronts pass through Galicia in 1939 and 1945, bringing first Nazi and then Communist rule.


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1= 1. Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria
2= 2. Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria
3= 3. Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria
4= 4. Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen
5= 5. Princess Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg
6= 6. Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary
7= 7. Duchess Maria Dorothea of Württemberg
8= 8. Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
9= 9. Maria Louisa of Spain
10= 10. Frederick William, Duke of Nassau
11= 11. Isabelle of Sayn-Hachenburg
12= 12. Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor (= 8)
13= 13. Maria Louisa of Spain (= 9)
14= 14. Duke Louis of Württemberg
15= 15. Princess Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg
16= 16. Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
17= 17. Maria Theresa of Austria
18= 18. Charles III of Spain
19= 19. Maria Amalia of Saxony
20= 20. Charles Christian, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg
21= 21. Princess Carolina of Orange-Nassau
22= 22. Wilhelm Georg, Count of Sayn-Hachenburg
23= 23. Princess Isabella Auguste Reuss of Greiz
24= 24. Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor (= 16)
25= 25. Maria Theresa of Austria (= 17)
26= 26. Charles III of Spain (= 18)
27= 27. Maria Amalia of Saxony (= 19)
28= 28. Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg
29= 29. Margravine Sophia Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt
30= 30. Charles Christian, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg (= 20)
31= 31. Princess Carolina of Orange-Nassau (= 21)



* Ryan, Nellie. "My Years at the Austrian Court". London: J. Lane, 1915. The memoirs of an English governess in Charles Stephen's household.

External links

* [ Admiral Erzherzog Karl Stefan von Österreich-Teschen ] at

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