Last Austrian emperor's heir buried

2011-07-16 20:15

Vienna - Political leaders and royalty from across Europe paid their last respects to Otto Habsburg, the eldest son of the last Austro-Hungarian emperor, who was buried at Vienna's Imperial Crypt on Saturday.

Thousands of Austrians and tourists lined the streets of the historic city centre for the funeral, after a week of ceremonies honouring Habsburg, who died on July 4 at his Bavarian home aged 98.

And although his body was to be buried in the crypt of his ancestors in the Austrian capital, Habsburg's heart will find a separate resting place - in Hungary.

Respecting a longstanding family tradition, it will be buried in the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma in northwest Hungary in a private family ceremony on Sunday.

His wife Regina, who died last year, will be reburied beside him in Vienna.

Funeral mass

Vienna's archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn presided over a funeral mass at St. Stephen's Cathedral on Saturday afternoon.

Among those present were Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia; Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg; Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein; and representatives of the British, Spanish and Belgian royal families.

Leading politicians also attended, including Austrian President Heinz Fischer; Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili; the prime ministers of Croatia and Macedonia; and European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek.

Habsburg, who was exiled with his family after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, was a strong proponent of Europe and served for 20 years as a member of the European Parliament.

More than 400 police officers were deployed for security in central Vienna where the last event to merit such pomp was the funeral in 1989 of former empress Zita, wife of the last emperor Karl I and mother of Otto Habsburg.

Known abroad as Otto von Habsburg, he was just Otto Habsburg in Austria, after the state abolished his family's titles in 1919.

  • OZNOB - 2011-07-16 22:35

    a very sad day in deed

  • aryantoo - 2011-07-17 07:09

    He was not the last one.I am still alive.Long live the monarchy.

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