Archduchess Mechthildis of Austria
Archduchess Mechthildis of Austria
|Born||2 January 1891|
|Died||2 June 1966 (aged 74)|
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Prince Olgierd Czartoryski (m. 1913)
|Father||Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria|
|Mother||Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany|
Archduchess Mechthildis of Austria (11 October 1891 – 6 February 1966) was a daughter of Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria and a first cousin of King Alphonso XIII of Spain. She was a member of the Teschen branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine and an Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Hungary, and Bohemia by birth. In 1913 she married Prince Olgierd Czartoryski. The couple had four children and lived in Poland until the outbreak of World War II when they emigrated to Brazil.
Background and early life
Archduchess Mechthildis was a daughter of Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria and his wife Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany. Both of her parents were closely related to Emperor Franz Joseph. Mechthildis’s father was a grandson of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen who had led the Austrian army against Napoleon Bonaparte. Her father was a brother of Queen Maria Christina of Spain. Mechthildis’s mother, Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany was a granddaughter of Leopold II, the last reigning Grand Duke of Tuscany. On her mother line, she was a great-granddaughter of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies.
Archduchess Mechthildis was educated by private tutors, her education made special emphasis on languages and she learned German, Italian, English, French, and from 1895, Polish. Her father had followed a career in the Austrian Navy and Mechthildis spent her formative years primarily in Istria in the then Austrian port of Pula in the Adriatic. Her father was very wealthy and the family had a winter residence in the island of Losinj in the Adriatic, a palace in Vienna. In 1895 her father inherited from Archduke Albert vast properties in Galicia. From 1907 the family main residence was in Zywiec castle in western Galicia.
Archduke Charles Stephen put aside his career in the navy and centered his ambitions in creating a Polish branch of the house of Habsburg. He encouraged all of his children to become Polish and Archduchess Mechtildis, like her sister Archduchess Renata, married a Polish Prince, Olgierd Czartoryski, in 1913. The marriage took place on 11 January 1913 at Zywiec Castle, Saybusch, Poland, two days after her eldest sister Archduchess Eleonora married Alfons von Kloss. Mechtildis had to renounce all of her titles, along with the style of Imperial and Royal Highness, since Prince Olgierd Czartoryski did not belong to a royal family. The couple had four children, two sons and two daughters, and lived on a Czartoryski estate in Poland. At the outbreak of World War II they fled to South America and stayed initially at Petropolis with members of the Brazilian Imperial family, the Orleans Braganza. Prince Olgierd was for many years the Ambassador of the sovereign and military order of Malta to Brazil and Paraguay. Archducess Mechthildis died on 6 February 1966 in Rio de Janeiro, her husband eleven years later. They have descendants in Brazil and in Europe.
Archduchess Mechthildis and her husband Prince Olgierd Czartoryski (1888–1977) had four children:
- Prince Constantine Czartoryski (9 December 1913 – 31 August 1989); married Countess Karolina Plater-Zyberk
- Princess Cecylia Czartoryska (9 April 1915 – 19 April 2011); married Count Jerzy Rostworowski.
- Princess Izabella Czartoryska (8 August 1917 – 2015); married Count Raphael Bninski.
- Prince Alexander Czartoryski (21 October 1919 – 2007)