Francesca von Habsburg

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Archduchess Francesca
Vienna 2012-05-26 - Europe for Tibet Solidarity Rally 112 Francesca von Habsburg.jpg
Francesca promoting a 'Tibet event', in Vienna, Austria, on 2012-05-26.
Born (1958-06-07) 7 June 1958 (age 57)
Lausanne, Switzerland
Spouse Archduke Karl of Austria
Issue Archduchess Eleonore
Archduke Ferdinand
Archduchess Gloria
Father Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza
Mother Fiona Frances Elaine Campbell-Walter
Religion Roman 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 wife of Karl Habsburg-Lothringen, head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.


She was born as 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 the 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 Croatia Francesca visited the country to help protect Croatia's heritage and artworks[1] and to help restore churches and paintings damaged during the fighting.[3]

Francesca is now a leading figure in the art world and regularly participates in the major biennales by commissioning new works of contemporary art through her 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] The website of the foundation is 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 world wide.

Francesca has criticised her stepmother, Carmen Cervera, for the latter's management of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid after the sale of John Constable's painting, "The Lock".[5]

She appeared as Queen Marie-Henriette in the production Kronprinz Rudolf (de) (2006), directed by Robert Dornhelm.

Personal life[edit]

Francesca married the heir to the Habsburg dynasty, Archduke Karl, son of Dr. 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, assumes, since their mother Regina's death in 2010, the rank of Grand Mistress of the Order of the Starry Cross that Francesca would normally have assumed otherwise.[7][8]

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


National dynastic honour[edit]

National honour[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
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  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. Paris: L'Intermediaire des Chercheurs et Curieux. pp. 44, 50. ISBN 2-908003-04-X. 

External links[edit]

Francesca von Habsburg
Born: 7 June 1958
Austro-Hungarian royalty
Titles in pretence
Title last held by
Regina of Saxe-Meiningen
Empress consort of Austria
Queen consort of Hungary and Bohemia

4 July 2011 –