Grand title of the Emperor of Austria

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First page of the February Patent of 1861 with the grand title of the emperor
Empress Maria Theresa, on her right are the crowns of the Holy Roman Empire, Hungary and Bohemia (by Martin van Meytens, 1752/1753)

The grand title of the Emperor of Austria was the official list of the crowns, titles, and dignities which the emperors of Austria carried from the foundation of the empire by Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor's imperial proclamation of August 11, 1804 until the end of the monarchy in 1918.

After the House of Habsburg established itself in the 11th century, it grew in power. Various domains were added to its empire in central, eastern and western Europe. The throne of the Holy Roman Empire was continuously occupied by the Habsburgs between 1438 and 1740, and again between 1745 and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. The house also produced monarchs of the Kingdoms of Bohemia, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Portugal, Spain, and (jure uxoris) of England and Ireland, as well as rulers of several Dutch and Italian principalities amongst many others.

The Austrian Empire was declared as the Holy Roman Empire dissolved itself and became a successor state. The former Holy Roman Emperor Francis II became the Emperor of Austria. In accordance with tradition and the titles that were already held, he promulgated the grand title to codify the most important monarchical titles of various countries and territories under Habsburg rule, and also of titular rulers of former possessions. With the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 the grand title was again slightly modified. Although the Austrian emperor was also the nominal head of the German Confederation, this was not included in the grand title since it was an elected office.

The grand title was not a complete listing of all the titles held; instead it ends with an etc. There were also a middle title and a small title.

The empress, as consort of the emperor, was also given the feminine version of the title.

Grand title[edit]

The full title (in German) of the Austro-Hungarian monarch as of 1914 was:

Seine Kaiserliche und Königliche Apostolische Majestät
von Gottes Gnaden Kaiser von Österreich,
König von Ungarn und Böhmen, von Dalmatien, Kroatien, Slawonien, Galizien, Lodomerien und Illyrien;
König von Jerusalem etc.;
Erzherzog von Österreich;
Großherzog von Toskana und Krakau;
Herzog von Lothringen, von Salzburg, Steyer, Kärnten, Krain und der Bukowina;
Großfürst von Siebenbürgen, Markgraf von Mähren;
Herzog von Ober- und Niederschlesien, von Modena, Parma, Piacenza und Guastalla, von Auschwitz und Zator, von Teschen, Friaul, Ragusa und Zara;
Gefürsteter Graf von Habsburg und Tirol, von Kyburg, Görz und Gradisca;
Fürst von Trient und Brixen;
Markgraf von Ober- und Niederlausitz und in Istrien;
Graf von Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenberg etc.;
Herr von Triest, von Cattaro und auf der Windischen Mark;
Großwojwode der Woiwodschaft Serbien
etc., etc.[1][2]

which translates to:

Explanation of the individual titles listed in the grand title in their order[edit]

Emperor of Austria[edit]

In 1804 Holy Roman Emperor Francis II foresaw the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, so he sought to preserve his family's imperial status by creating the new title "Hereditary Emperor of Austria".

Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Bohemia[edit]

The kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia were originally elective monarchies, but like many elective monarchies heredity was respected. Ferdinand, the future Holy Roman Emperor, married the daughter of King Vladislaus II (who held both kingdoms), and when Vladislaus' son died Ferdinand was elected in 1526. Eventually his descendants made the throne hereditary.

King of Dalmatia[edit]

Dalmatia became a crown land of the Habsburgs with the Treaty of Campo Formio and finally following Napoleon's defeat. It was previously part of the Habsburg titles as Kings of Croatia and Slavonia. The kings of Hungary and Croatia held the title of Kings of Dalmatia since the Middle Ages.

King of Croatia[edit]

In 1102 the Croatian nobles agreed to share the same King as Hungary. In 1526 Ferdinand I was elected king, and eventually his descendants made this throne hereditary.

King of Slavonia[edit]

In 1490s king Vladislaus II of Hungary officially included Slavonia into royal title, and in 1526 when Ferdinand I was elected king he inherited the title and passed it to his descendants.

King of Galicia and Lodomeria[edit]

Galicia and Lodomeria was annexed by Austria in the First Partition of Poland, creating a new kingdom for the Habsburgs. The title had been claimed by the Kings of Hungary in the Middle Ages.

King of Illyria[edit]

With the re-annexation of the Illyrian provinces in 1815 the Habsburgs created a new crown land.

King of Jerusalem[edit]

The Kingdom of Jerusalem was abolished upon its conquest by the Egyptian Mamluks in 1291 AD[3]. The Habsburgs were one of many dynasties to claim the title. They inherited it through the House of Lorraine. In the 18th century, the title was added by Leopold I of Lorraine, Francis I's father, in order to claim a royal title. More recently, the current King of Spain, Felipe VI of Spain, holds the (entirely ceremonial) title of King of Jerusalem alongside countless other defunct titles.

Archduke of Austria[edit]

In 1282 King Rudolf I of Germany enfeoffed himself with the Duchy of Austria. His descendant Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor officially elevated it to an archduchy in 1453, confirming a 1356 forgery by Duke Rudolf IV.

Grand Duke of Tuscany[edit]

Following the War of the Polish Succession, future Holy Roman Emperor Francis I was forced to exchange his native Duchy of Lorraine for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. He later passed the grand duchy to a younger son, but the main branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine continued to use the title.

Grand Duke of Kraków[edit]

The Free City of Kraków was incorporated into the Austrian Empire in 1846 following the Kraków Uprising.

Duke of Lorraine[edit]

The male line of the original House of Habsburg went extinct with Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor. His daughter Maria Theresa married the aforementioned Francis, Duke of Lorraine (later Emperor Franics I), and their progeny became the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.

Duke of Styria[edit]

Rudolf I of Germany enfeoffed one of his sons as Duke of Styria. The title passed down to the Leopoldian line, which became the sole remaining branch of the House of Habsburg after the death of king Ladislas the Posthumous, last descendent of the senior, Albertinian line.

Duke of Carinthia[edit]

In 1335 Otto, Duke of Austria was enfeoffed as Duke of Carinthia. The title passed down with the Leopoldinian line.

Duke of Carniola[edit]

The March of Carniola was part of the Habsburg domains since Rudolf I of Germany. In 1364, duke Rudolf IV of Austria elevated it to a duchy. The title passed down the Leopoldinian line. After the death of Ferdinand I, the Inner Austrian domains (Carniola, Styria and Carinthia) were passed down to a junior branch which in 1619 finally reunited all the Austrian Habsburg lands.

Duke of Bukovina[edit]

In 1775 the Habsburgs annexed a piece of land from the Principality of Moldavia and created the Duchy of Bukovina out of it.

Grand Prince of Transylvania[edit]

In the 16th century Transylvania was conquered by the Ottomans from Hungary and created as a separate principality. In 1711 the Habsburgs reclaimed it and added the Principality of Transylvania to their titles. In 1765 it was elevated to a Grand Principality.

Margrave of Moravia[edit]

Moravia was a Crown Land of Bohemia; thus when the Habsburgs became Kings of Bohemia they also acquired Moravia.

Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia[edit]

Silesia was originally owned by the Kingdom of Poland, but it was gradually broken up and acquired by Bohemia as a Crown Land. After losing most of historic Silesia to Prussia in the Silesian Wars, the Habsburgs consolidated what remained into Upper and Lower Silesia.

Duke of Modena[edit]

Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d'Este, daughter of the last Duke of the House of Este, married Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este, allowing this title to pass to the Habsburgs. It was subsequently lost to Sardinia during the unification of Italy.

Duke of Parma, Piancenza, and Guastalla[edit]

Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor acquired Parma after the War of the Polish Succession, but his daughter Maria Theresa lost it after the War of the Austrian Succession.

Duke of Auschwitz and Zator[edit]

The Habsburgs acquired this title in the First Partition of Poland.

Duke of Teschen[edit]

The Duchy of Teschen was one of the Bohemian Crown Lands historically part of Silesia.

Duke of Friaul/Friuli[edit]

This title was claimed by Maximilian I during the Italian wars in the early 16th century. Friuli was eventually lost to the Republic of Venice. The Habsburgs acquired Friuli only in 1797 with the Treaty of Campo Formio, and then again after Napoleon's defeat. It was lost to Italy in 1866.

Duke of Ragusa[edit]

Ragusa (modern-day Dubrovnik) was a maritime republic, which in the late Middle Ages recognized the suzerainty of the Hungarian kings. It was abolished by Napoleon in 1806 and incorporated to Austrian Dalmatia after his defeat.

Duke of Zara[edit]

Zara (or Zadar) is a city in Dalmatia, modern-day Croatia. In the Middle Ages, it was contested between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Republic of Venice. It was considered an integral part of the Kingdom of Dalmatia by both parts, but the title was assumed by the Hungarian kings in order to assert their rights over the city. It became a Habsburg domain for the first time with the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797, and then again in 1813 after Napoleon's defeat.

Princely Count of Habsburg[edit]

Habsburg was the original seat of the House of Habsburg.

Princely Count of Tyrol[edit]

Duke Rudolf IV of Austria inherited Tyrol in 1363.

Princely Count of Kyburg[edit]

Rudolf I of Germany claimed the County of Kyburg when its ruling dynasty went extinct. A brief period of rule by the city of Zürich became permanent from 1452 when it was used as collateral for a loan the Habsburgs never repaid; they continued to use the title despite no longer being in possession of the land.

Princely Count of Gorizia and Gradisca[edit]

The Habsburgs acquired the County of Gorizia (German Görz) in 1500. In 1647, the nearby town of Gradisca and the surrounding area on the right bank of the Isonzo river, which had been conquered from the Venetians, was elevated to an immediate status and given to the Eggenberg family. With the extinction of the family in 1754, it was merged with Gorizia to form the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca.

Prince of Trent[edit]

In the 1300s Trent was annexed by Tyrol and thus was controlled by the Habsburgs.

Prince of Brixen[edit]

In 1803 the Prince-Bishopric of Brixen was secularized and annexed by the Habsburgs.

Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia[edit]

Lusatia was a Crown Land of Bohemia.

Margrave in Istria[edit]

With the reannexation of Istria the Habsburgs revival the Margivate's title.

Count of Hohenems[edit]

When the male line of the original Counts of Hohenems died out in 1759 the county came under suzerainty of the House of Habsburg.

Count of Feldkirch[edit]

When the last count of Feldkirch Frederick VII of Toggenburg died in 1436 the county passed back under the suzerainty of the House of Habsburg.

Count of Bregenz[edit]

After 1451 the title of count of Bregenz was held by the House of Habsburg and Bregenz was incorporated into the duchy of Austria.

Count of Sonnenberg[edit]

Sonnenberg was a partition of Waldburg and was annexed by the Archduchy of Austria in 1511.

Lord of Trieste[edit]

By the Peace of Turin in 1381, Venice renounced its claim to Trieste and the leading citizens of Trieste petitioned Leopold III of Habsburg, Duke of Austria, to make Trieste part of his domains.

Lord of Cattaro[edit]

After the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797, it passed to the Habsburg Monarchy. However, in 1805, it was assigned to the French Empire's client state, the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy by the Treaty of Pressburg, although in fact held by a Russian squadron under Dmitry Senyavin. It was restored to the Habsburg Monarchy by the Congress of Vienna.

Lord on the Windic March[edit]

After 1374 and the death of the Tyrolean branch of the Meinhardiner dynasty, the Windic March fell to the House of Habsburg.

Grand Voivode of the Voivodeship of Serbia[edit]

The Voivodeship was formed by a decision of the Austrian Emperor in November 1849, after the Revolutions of 1848/1849. It was formed in accordance with privilege given to Serbs by the Habsburg emperor in 1691, recognizing the right of Serbs to territorial autonomy within the Habsburg Monarchy.

Subsequent use[edit]

After 1918, the Grand Title was invoked for historical commemorative reasons in two Habsburg burial ceremonies in Vienna.

At the burial of Zita, the last Empress (1916–18), on 1 April 1989 in the imperial mausoleum, three prayers were said for the deceased by a speaker commissioned by the family, before the gate was opened and the sarcophagus was borne into the mausoleum. The first prayer started with the feminine form of the Grand Title: "Zita, Empress of Austria, crowned Queen of Hungary, Queen of Bohemia ...". In the list of duchess titles, the title of Duchess of Parma claimed by the Habsburgs was omitted, as she had a closer tie to Parma. Her father, Robert of Parma, was the last Duke of Parma (1854-1860) and as a pretender to that title she was a Princess, even though she was not born until 1892. Thus at the end of the list of titles was inserted, "Infanta of Spain, Princess of Portugal and of Parma".

Zita's son Otto von Habsburg was buried on 16 July 2011, and a prayer was said in the mausoleum: "Otto of Austria, first Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, royal prince of Hungary and Bohemia ..." The titles of King of Jerusalem and Archduke of Austria were omitted. No Austrian Emperor was actually sovereign over Jerusalem, and in 1961 Otto had renounced all claims of sovereignty in the Republic of Austria.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James Lyon, Serbia and the Balkan Front, 1914: The Outbreak of the Great War (Bloomsbury, 2015), ch. 1, note 1.
  2. ^ J. H. W. Verzijl, International Law in Historical Perspective, Volume VI: Juridical Facts as Sources of International Rights and Obligations (Leiden: A. W. Sijthoff, 1973), p. 173.
  3. ^ of Suchem, Ludolph. Rectoris Ecclesiæ Parochialis. p. 46.