A READER WAS kind enough to bring to my attention the recent death of His Imperial & Royal Highness, Archduke Carl Ludwig Maria Franz Joseph Michael Gabriel Antonius Robert Stephan Pius Gregor Ignatius Markus d’Aviano of Austria, one of the sons of Blessed Charles, the last (up to this point) Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, etc. Carl Ludwig’s birth in 1918 was hailed with a 101-gun salute from the imperial field artillery, but the Habsburgs were soon overthrown by a republican element in Vienna and forced into exile. The Archduke studied at the University of Louvain until the outbreak of the Second World War, when the Habsburgs fled to the safety of Quebec.
There, the family were so poor they sometimes had to survive off a soup the Empress Zita cheerfully prepared from dandelions picked in the park. Carl Ludwig, however, was able to complete his studies at the Université Laval, the oldest university in Canada, before being allowed to join the United States Army in 1943. On June 6, 1944, he took part in the D-Day landings in Normandy, and later became aide-de-camp to the Comte de Hauteclocque, a general in the Free French Forces (later known as Maréchal Leclerc), and served with the Algerian spahis. He was discharged from the U.S. Army with the rank of Major in 1947, and in 1950 married Princess Yolande de Ligne.
The Archduke’s funeral was offered by the Papal Nuncio to Austria in the Stefansdom, the cathedral of Vienna. Among those gathered to pay their final respects were Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, and Prince Karl VII Schwarzenberg, the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs. Count Liederkerke represented the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, while the Belgian king was represented by his daughter Princess Astrid.
After the funeral Mass concluded, the Archduke’s coffin was processed through the streets, accompanied by family, clerics, knights and aristocrats, members of Austrian, Hungarian, and Czech traditionalist organizations, and university students. The destination was the church of the Capuchin Franciscans, in whose crypt the members of the imperial family are traditionally interred.
When they reach the Capuchin church, a member of the funeral party cries “Open!” and the Abbot inquires “Who are you? Who asks to enter?”
“We bear the remains of His Imperial & Royal Highness, Archduke Carl Ludwig Maria Franz Joseph Michael Gabriel Antonius Robert Stephan Pius Gregor Ignatius Markus d’Aviano of Austria!”
“We know him not,” the Abbot responds. “Who goes there?”
And again: “We bear the remains of His Imperial & Royal Highness, Archduke Carl Ludwig Maria Franz Joseph Michael Gabriel Antonius Robert Stephan Pius Gregor Ignatius Markus d’Aviano of Austria!”
“We know him not”. For the third time, the Abbot inquires, “Who goes there?”
“We bear the body of Carl Ludwig, our brother, a sinner like us all.” At that moment, the doors of the abbey swing open and the Abbot calls out “You may enter!”
Some soul was good enough to take a few brief videos at the funeral:
The procession into the Stefansdom.
The long line of representatives from traditionalist organizations in the various parts of the old Habsburg empire.
The Tantum ergo was sung to that splendid tune of Haydn’s, the Kaiserhymne.
Outside the Capuchin church, the old Imperial anthem itself is sung one last time as the ceremony at the doors is performed.
The doors open, and the body of the Archduke is laid to rest.