Archduchess Renata of Austria
2 January 1888|
16 May 1935 (aged 47)|
Prince Hieronim Mikołaj Radziwiłł (m. 1909)
|Issue||Dominik Rainer Radziwiłł|
|Father||Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria|
|Mother||Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany|
Archduchess Renate of Austria (2 January 1888 – 9 December 1935) was a daughter of Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria and a first cousin of King Alphonso XIII of Spain. A member of the Teschen branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine and an Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Bohemia, Hungary, and Tuscany by birth, she renounced her titles in 1909 upon her marriage to Prince Jerome Radziwiłł.
Background and early life
Archduchess Renate was the second 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. Renata’s father was a grandson of Archduke Karl of Austria who had led the Austrian army against Napoleon Bonaparte. Her father was also a brother of Queen Maria Christina of Spain. Renate’s mother, Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany was a granddaughter of Leopold II, the last reigning Grand Duke of Tuscany, and of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies.
Archduchess Renate was educated by private tutors with a special emphasis on languages. She learned German, Italian, English, French and, from 1895, Polish. Her father had followed a career in the Austrian Navy and Renate spent her formative years primarily in Istria in the then Austrian port of Pula on 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 and in 1895 her father inherited from Archduke Albert vast properties in Galicia. From 1907 the family’s main residence was in Żywiec 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 Renata ended up marrying one of Poland's richest landowners, Prince Jerome Radziwill. Their engagement was announced in September 1908. The Radziwiłł family was one of the most distinguish families of Poland, but since he did not belong to a ruling family, Renata had to renounce all of her titles, along with the style of Imperial and Royal Highness. They signed a prenuptial agreement and separation of property. The wedding took place on 15 January 1909 in the chapel at Żywiec Castle.
They had six children and lived at Balice Castle, one of the Radziwiłł estates. Her eldest son, Dominik, eventually married Princess Eugénie of Greece and Denmark in 1938. With the defeat and dissolution of the Austrian Hungary Empire after World War I, the destiny of her family was even more closely linked to Poland. Archduchess Renata lived at Balice Castle in Poland, where she died on 16 May 1935. Her husband outlived her for ten years. Prince Jerome remarried. Towards the end of World War II, Prince Jerome was captured by Russian troops and he was taken behind the Iron Curtain. He died in a concentration camp in May 1945. The Radziwiłł properties were all lost.
Archduchess Renate and Prince Jerome Radziwiłł had six children:
- Princess Maria Teresa Radziwiłł (19 January 1910 - 1973 )
- Prince Dominic Rainer Radziwiłł (23 January 1911 – 19 November 1976); married, firstly, Princess Eugénie of Greece and Denmark and had issue. Married, secondly, Lidia Lacey Bloodgood and had issue.
- Prince Karol Jerome Radziwiłł (3 May 1912 – 27 November 2005); married, firstly, Maria Luisa de Alvear y Quirno. Married, secondly, Maria Teresa Soto y Alderete. He had no children.
- Prince Albert Radziwiłł (10 May 1914 – 23 June 1932)
- Princess Eleonore Radziwiłł (2 August 1918 – ???); married, firstly, Count Benedikt Tyszkiewicz and had one son. Married, secondly, Roger de Froidcourt; no issue.
- Prince Leon Jerome Radziwiłł (28 October 1922 - 1973)