Gabriela von Habsburg

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Gabriela von Habsburg

Greater coat of arms of Georgia.svg

Gabriela von Habsburg.jpg
Ambassador of Georgia to the Federal Republic of Germany
In office
November 6, 2009 – January 15, 2013
Preceded by Levan Duchidze
Succeeded by Vladimer Chanturia
Personal details
Born (1955-10-14) 14 October 1955 (age 59)
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Alma mater Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Archduchess Gabriela
Wappen Kaisertum Österreich 1815 (Klein).png
Spouse Christian Meister (1978-1997)
Issue Severin Meister
Lioba Meister
Alena Meister
Full name
Gabriela Maria Charlotte Felicitas Elisabeth Antonia
House House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Otto von Habsburg
Mother Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen

Gabriela von Habsburg, (born 14 October 1956), also known as Archduchess Gabriela of Austria, is the granddaughter of Charles I, the last Emperor of Austria. She is also a prolific abstract sculptor, working mainly in stainless steel as well as stone-printed lithography. She was the Ambassador of Georgia to Germany from 2009[1] to 2013.[2]

Upbringing and education[edit]

Gabriela von Habsburg was born in Luxembourg, the fourth child of Otto von Habsburg, the erstwhile crown prince of Austria, and his wife, Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen. She was baptised with the names Gabriela Maria Charlotte Felicitas Elisabeth Antonia. According to her birth certificate, her last name is "of Austria-Hungary" (von Österreich-Ungarn).[3]

She was raised at her parents' home in exile, Villa Austria, in Pöcking, Bavaria. As a result of the Habsburgs' banishment from Austria, she feels that she grew up deprived of any sense of pride of country, evolving instead a self-concept as a "European".[4] She believes that her dynasty's role in history shaped her upbringing, "I grew up in a family where we never spoke about anything at mealtimes except politics," she recalls.[4]

After graduating in 1976, Gabriela von Habsburg studied philosophy for two years at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. From 1978 to 1982, she studied art at the Munich Academy of Arts with Robert Jacobsen and Eduardo Paolozzi.

She does not use her ancestral titles as a member of the House of Habsburg: "Princess Imperial and Archduchess of Austria, Princess Royal of Hungary and Bohemia", with the style of Imperial and Royal Highness."[4][5] The use of such titles is illegal in Hungary and Austria.[6]


Since 2001, she has been an art professor at the Academy of Arts of Tbilisi, Georgia while also teaching at the Summer Academy of Arts in Neuburg an der Donau, Germany until 2005. She found the creativity and cheerfulness of her students in the face of the adversity then prevalent in Georgia inspiring.[4] During her tenure there she was granted Georgian citizenship.[4] Her five hectare vineyard in Georgia produces wine.[4]

In November 2009, Georgia appointed Gabriela von Habsburg as its ambassador to Germany, and since March 2011 she has maintained a flat in Berlin.[4][7] Believing that Georgian history served as a crucible for European culture, she has maintained that the liberalizing reforms of President Mikheil Saakashvili have been welcome and invigorating for Georgia's people and economy, which has prompted her to work for Georgia's membership in the European Market.[4] She was dismissed from her position in January 2013, after the change of government in Georgia in October 2012.

Since March 2010 Gabriela von Habsburg has represented Georgia at the International Council of the Austrian Service Abroad.

Some public installations[edit]

  • 1985 Museum of the State of Tyrolya (Ferdinandeum), Innsbruck, Austria
  • 1990 National Academy of Science, Washington D.C.
  • 1994 Voest Alpine MCE, Linz, Austria
  • 1994 Achmatowa Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • 1994 Museion Bozen, Bolzano, Italy
  • 1995 Museum for foreign Art, Riga, Latvia
  • 1996 Museum Würth, Künzelsau, Germany
  • 1997 Municipal Galery of Budapest, Hungary
  • 1998 City Museum of Skopje, Macedonia
  • 1998 Galeria Murska Sobota, Slovenia
  • 2004 Skulpturschweiz Foundation Sculpture park, Luzern, Switzerland[8]
  • 2007 Monument of the Rose Revolution in Georgia[9]
  • 2009 Monument to the Three Powers in the State, at the Georgian Presidential Administration in Georgia

Marriage and children[edit]

On 30 August 1978, in Pöcking, Bavaria, Gabriela was married civilly and on 5 September 1978 religiously at St. Odile to Christian Meister, a German attorney. They divorced in 1997 and the marriage was annulled canonically.[5] Gabriela was the only one of her parents' seven children to marry a spouse who had neither a title nor an aristocratic name. They had three children.

  • Severin Meister, born 9 January 1981 in Starnberg, Bayern, Germany
  • Lioba Meister, born 20 Aug 1983 in Starnberg, Bayern, Germany
  • Alene Meister, born 7 September 1986




Gabriela von Habsburg.Sculpture (English version) By Prof. Mathias Frehner and Prof. Carla Schulz-Hofmann Bucher GmbH & Co. Druck Verlag Netzwerk; (22. Oktober 2007) ISBN 978-3-902612-31-1

Gabriela von Habsburg.Skulpturen (German version) ISBN 978-3-902612-20-5


  1. ^ Parliament Approves New Ambassador to Germany. Civil Georgia. November 6, 2009
  2. ^ Saakashvili Dismisses Ambassadors FM Wanted to be Replaced. Civil Georgia. January 15, 2013
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Gelber, David, Financial Times, The art of diplomacy, 29 April 2011, access date 21 May 2011
  5. ^ a b de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal and Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Empire d'Autriche-Hongrie. Paris, 2002, p.201. ISBN 2-9507974-3-1
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Georgia Nominates Habsburg Duchess as Envoy to Germany". Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  8. ^ (German) : SkulptUrschweiz :
  9. ^ President of Georgia - PressRelease
  10. ^ Archdiocese of Vienna - " Oberste Schutzfrau: Gabriela Habsburg-Lothringen "
  11. ^ Sancrucensis, blog article about the Order and its Grand Mistress
  12. ^
  13. ^ Considering that her brother Karl and sister-in-law Francesca live separated since 2003, Archduchess Gabriella assumes, since her mother Regina's death in 2010, the rank of Grand Mistress of the Order, normally held by the wife of the Head of the imperial House.[citation needed] The order requires 16 quarters and legitimate birth, as well as Catholicism. Francesca, estranged wife of the Head, was not born within Catholic marriage, nor does she have 16 noble great-great-grandparents as required. Her sister-in-law Archduchess Eilika is not Catholic. However, the choice of Archduchess Gabriela is surprising, given that she has older sisters

External links[edit]