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Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
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Charles & Zita

October 21 was chosen as the Feast of the Blessed Emperor Charles not because it is the date of his death — which is 1 April 1922 — but rather to commemorate the marriage (photo, below) between Archduke Charles of Austria (as he was then) and Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma in 1911. While Charles died a mere thirty-four years of age, Zita lived on to ninety-six before passing away in 1989 (when I myself was four).

Not very long ago I was in Quebec City, which was where the Empress Zita and the Imperial Family spent their exile during the Second World War. The Hapsburgs, dispossessed first by the Socialists and then by the Nazis, were then so poor they had to collect dandelions from which to make a soup, but they took poverty in their stride. Passing a grassy bit near the Chateau Frontenac, I wondered “Did Crown Prince Otto once pluck weeds from this plot to feed his hungry mother and siblings?”

Also in that ancient Canadian city is La Citadelle, that great hunk of stone and earthworks, perhaps the oldest operational military installation in the New World. There we were lucky enough to be granted access to the tomb of the greatest Canadian, Major General the Rt. Hon. Georges-Philéas Vanier, Governor-General of Canada from 1959 until his death in 1967. General Vanier and his wife had such a reputation for Christian charity and piety that the Vatican is collecting evidence towards their eventual recognition as saints. Their son is Jean Vanier, the founder of the famous l’Arche communities that care for the handicapped and the disabled. I wonder if the Hapsburgs and the Vaniers ever crossed paths in wartime Quebec…

Charles of Austria
pray for us!

This post was published on Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 8:12 pm. It has been categorised under Austria Bohemia Church Hapsburg History Hungary Monarchy Quebec Saints and been tagged under , , , , , , , .
Comments
  1. Juan Novillo Astrada
    22 October 2008
    9:58 am

    Dear Andrew,
    First of all congratulations for your site. It is very interesting.
    On the other hand, I guess you have read it, but if not, I recommend you the book “Zita, impératrice courage” of Jean Sévillia. It is an excellent biography of Empress Zita and of his entourage.
    Bravo again! Best regards,
    Juan Novillo Astrada
    Buenos Aires
    Argentina

  2. Peter Kraus
    22 October 2008
    6:42 pm

    Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube
    Nam quae Mars aliis, dat tibi regna Venus

  3. Arn
    23 October 2008
    9:58 am

    Do Polo players read? Amazing!

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