Franz, Count of Meran

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Franz, Count of Meran
Arms of the Count of Meran

Franz Ludwig Johann Baptist Count von Meran, Baron von Brandhofen (b. 11 March 1839 in Vienna; d. 27 March 1891 in Opatija) was an Austrian nobleman and Viennese courtier.[1]


Franz was the only child of the morganatic marriage of Archduke Johann of Austria-Tuscany and Anna Maria Plochl, and a grandson of the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II. On 8 July 1862 at Ottenstein, Germany, he married Countess Theresia von Lamberg, the second child and only daughter of Franz Philipp, Count von Lamberg and Countess Caroline Hoyos.[1]


His father having eloped with his mother (daughter of a postmaster at Bad Aussee) in defiance of Archduke Johann's brother the Emperor, Franz was entitled to inherit none of his father's positions or entailed possessions. However the esteem in which his father was held by both emperor and nation as a general and patron of the arts shielded Franz from some of the scandal and consequences of the circumstances of his birth. Born legitimate but a commoner, unable to bear the Habsburg-Lorraine surname of his father's dynasty, when his mother was ennobled by the Emperor seven years after her marriage to the archduke, Franz shared in her new title, becoming Baron von Brandhofen 4 July 1834.[1] He was raised to comital rank as Count von Meran 29 April 1844 (letters patent issuing 30 December 1845, Vienna).[1]

While still a child he had been designated a Landmann in Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Tyrol and Austria, and was accorded a seat in the Austrian House of Lords on 24 November 1842.[1] After his father's death at Palais Meran in Graz in 1859, the manors of Schenna, Steinz and Gut Brandhof were combined into a fideicommis for him and his future descendants.[1]

He served the Habsburg emperors as Imperial and Royal Chamberlain, member of the Aulic Council and as a general in the Imperial army, becoming in 1868 a knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.[1]

He died at Opatija, Croatia on 27 March 1891, aged 52.[1]


Seven children were born to his marriage to Countess Theresia von Lamberg (1836–1913), who bore the titles Count/Countess von Meran, Baron/Baroness von Brandhofen and inter-married with prominent families of the Austro-Hungarian nobility:[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Enache, Nicolas (1999). La Descendance de Marie-Therese de Habsburg, Reine de Hongrie et de Boheme. Paris: ICC. pp. 253–255, 266, 278, 295. ISBN 2-908003-04-X. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Renate Basch-Ritter, Anna Plochl - Die Frau an der Seite Erzherzog Johanns, Advea Verlag 2005