Francesca von Habsburg

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Francesca von Habsburg
Archduchess of Austria, Royal Princess of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia
Vienna 2012-05-26 - Europe for Tibet Solidarity Rally 112 Francesca von Habsburg.jpg
Francesca promoting a 'Tibet event', in Vienna, Austria, on 26 May 2012
Consort of the Head of the
House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Tenure1 January 2007 – present
PredecessorRegina of Saxe-Meiningen
Born (1958-06-07) 7 June 1958 (age 61)
Lausanne, Switzerland
Archduke Karl of Austria
(m. 1993; separated 2003)
IssueArchduchess Eleonore
Archduke Ferdinand
Archduchess Gloria
FatherBaron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza
MotherFiona Frances Elaine Campbell-Walter
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Austrian imperial family
Imperial Coat of Arms of the Empire of Austria (1815).svg

HI&RH Archduke Karl
HI&RH Archduchess Francesca

Francesca von Habsburg-Lothringen (born 7 June 1958) is an art collector and the estranged wife of Karl von Habsburg, current head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.

Early life[edit]

She was born Francesca Anne Dolores Freiin Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon et Impérfalva in Lausanne, the daughter of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and his third wife, fashion model Fiona Frances Elaine Campbell-Walter. She was educated at Le Rosey in Switzerland[1] and at the age of eighteen attended Saint Martin's School of Art[2] but left after two years.


After leaving college she worked as an actress, singer and model[3] Her partying lifestyle in London in the 1980s earned her reputation as an It girl.[1] For the ten years after she left Saint Martin's college she lived in England, New York and Los Angeles before moving to Lugano to become curator for her father's art collection.[4] During the war in 1991-1995 Croatian War of Independence she visited the country to help protect Croatia's heritage and artworks[1] and to help restore churches and paintings damaged during the fighting.[3]

Von Habsburg regularly participates in biennales by commissioning new works of contemporary art through a foundation called Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary which she founded in 2002 in Vienna Austria.[1] and has built up her own art collection with over four hundred pieces of contemporary video and digital art.[4] She also appeared as Queen Marie-Henriette in the production Kronprinz Rudolf (2006), directed by Robert Dornhelm.[citation needed] Since 2012, TBA21 has a new exhibition space in Vienna's second district, more precisely in a public park called Augarten. The exhibition space was therefore renamed Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary–Augarten. It exhibits works from the collection in thematic exhibitions twice a year. The Foundation also organises exhibitions of its collection worldwide.[citation needed] More recently, she has criticised her stepmother, Carmen Cervera, for the latter's management of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid after the 2012 sale of John Constable's painting, "The Lock".[5]

Personal life[edit]

Francesca married the heir to the Habsburg dynasty, Karl von Habsburg, son of Otto von Habsburg, in Mariazell on 31 January 1993. They have three children.

Francesca and Karl have been amicably separated since 2003.[3] Considering this separation, Karl's sister, Archduchess Gabriella, has assumed, since their mother Regina's death in 2010, the rank of Grand Mistress of the Order of the Starry Cross that Francesca would otherwise normally have assumed as the wife of the heir.[7][8]

She owns a residence in Port Antonio, Jamaica; where she is a keen supporter of the Reggae music industry.[9]


Dynastic Orders[edit]

Austrian Order[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Byrnes, Sholto (2006-06-18). "Francesca von Habsburg: The It-girl who became an empress". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  2. ^ Paco Barragán ([n.d.]). Interview with Francesca von Habsburg. ArtPulse Magazine. Accessed August 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Milner, Catherine (2006-05-13). "'It's like an invasion - without rape and pillage'". Daily Telegraph. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  4. ^ a b Milner, Catherine (2006-05-13). "'It's like an invasion - without rape and pillage'". Daily Telegraph. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  5. ^ "Euro Weekly News - Spain's largest FREE local newspaper in English".
  6. ^ "Royal godparents and godchildren".
  7. ^ Archdiocese of Vienna - " Oberste Schutzfrau: Gabriela Habsburg-Lothringen "
  8. ^ Sancrucensis, blog article about the Order and its Grand Mistress
  9. ^ Jamaica Gleaner Archived 2012-01-22 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Seeger Press
  11. ^ Felix Austria Film
  12. ^ Hola
  13. ^ news networld Internetservice GmbH. "Habsburg reloaded - Auf den Spuren der Kaiser-Kinder • NEWS.AT".
  14. ^ Enache, Nicolas (1999). "La Descendance de Marie-Therese de Habsburg Reine de Hongrie et de Boheme". L'Intermediaire des Chercheurs et Curieux. Paris. pp. 44, 50. ISBN 2-908003-04-X.

External links[edit]