House of Schwarzenberg

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House of Schwarzenberg
Blason Maison de Schwartzenberg.svg
Arms of the Princes of Schwarzenberg
Style(s) Serene Highness
Founded Early 15th century
Founder Erkinger of Seinsheim
Current head Karel VII of Schwarzenberg
(Princely) County of Schwarzenberg
(Gefürstete) Grafschaft Schwarzenberg
State of the Holy Roman Empire

Coat of arms

Capital Schwarzenberg Castle, Scheinfeld;
Český Krumlov (de facto since 1670s)
Government Principality
Historical era Late Middle Ages
Early Modern Era
 •  Acquired by the lords of Seinsheim 1405 – 1421
 •  Imperial immediacy 1429
 •  Raised to
    Imperial County
 •  Raised to
    Princely County
14 July 1670
 •  Raised to Princely
 •  German Mediatisation 1806

Schwarzenberg (Czech: ze Švarcenberka) is the name of a Bohemian and Franconian aristocratic family. The Schwarzenbergs were prominent members of the Bohemian nobility and achieved the rank of Princes of the Holy Roman Empire. The family traces its roots to the lords of Seinsheim during the Middle Ages.[1]

The current head of the family is Karel VII of Schwarzenberg, the 12th Prince of Schwarzenberg. He is a Czech politician who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.


The family stems from the lords of Seinsheim, who had established themselves in Franconia during the Middle Ages.[2] A branch of the Seinsheim family (the non-Schwarzenberg portion died out in 1958) was created when Erkinger of Seinsheim acquired the Franconian territory of Schwarzenberg and the castle of Schwarzenberg in Scheinfeld during the early part of the 15th century. He was then granted the title of Freiherr (Baron) of Schwarzenberg in 1429. At that time, the family also possessed some fiefdoms in Bohemia.

In 1599, the Schwarzenbergs were elevated to Imperial Counts, and the family was later raised to princely status in 1670.[3] The House of Schwarzenberg acquired extensive land holdings in Bohemia in 1661 through a marriage alliance with the House of Eggenberg. In the 1670s, the Schwarzenbergs established their primary seat in Bohemia and, until 1918, their main residence was in Český Krumlov, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic).

At the beginning of the 19th century, the House of Schwarzenberg was divided into two princely-titled lines (majorats).[4] The senior branch died out in the male line in 1979 upon the death of Joseph III of Schwarzenberg, who was the 11th Prince of Schwarzenberg. The cadet branch was established by Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, at Orlík, Murau and Vienna, and this branch continues to the present day.

The two branches have now been re-united under the current head of the family, Karl VII of Schwarzenberg, who is the 12th Prince of Schwarzenberg. He is a Czech politician and served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Coat of arms[edit]

The ancestral arms of the lords of Seinsheim consisted of vertical stripes in silver and blue.[5]

The family became Freiherren (Barons) of Schwarzenberg in 1429, and a silver tower on a black hill was added to their coat of arms to represent Schwarzenberg.[6]

In 1599, Adolf von Schwarzenberg became an Imperial Count, and he added a quarter showing the head of a Turk being pecked by a raven. This was to commemorate the conquest on 19 March 1598 of a Turkish-held fortress in Hungary that was known in German as Raab ('Raven').[7][8][9]

In 1670, the Schwarzenbergs were raised to princely status. Their coat of arms was subsequently augmented, with quarters added for the domains of Sulz, Brandis (canting arms: a brand) and the Landgraviate of Klettgau.[10][11]

Notable family members[edit]

The House of Schwarzenberg produced many military commanders, politicians, church dignitaries (including a Cardinal), innovators and patrons of the arts.[12] They were related to a number of European aristocratic families, notably the Lobkowicz (Czech: Lobkovicové) family. Some of the most noteworthy members of the Schwarzenberg family are:

Property and residences[edit]


The Schwarzenberg land holdings in Bohemia included the Duchy of Krumlov, the town of Prachatice and Orlík Castle. The family also acquired the property of the House of Rosenberg (Czech: Rožmberkové). On their lands, the Schwarzenbergs created ponds, planted forests and introduced new technologies in agriculture.[13]

Upon the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in 1939, the possessions of Prince Adolph of Schwarzenberg were seized by the Nazi authorities. He managed to flee, but his cousin Heinrich, Duke of Krumlov, was arrested and deported. After World War II, the Czechoslovakian government stated, by law No. 143/1947 from August 13, 1947 (Lex Schwarzenberg), that the assets of the Schwarzenberg-Hluboká primogeniture passed to the Land of Bohemia.[14]

Castles and palaces[edit]

The Schwarzenberg property holdings included the following residences:

Titles of the family[edit]

Town of Seinsheim (ancestral origin)
Coat of arms of the town of Seinsheim

Lords of Seinsheim[edit]

The House of Seinsheim regarded Erchanger, Duke of Swabia (died 917), as their ancestor.[15]

Barons of Schwarzenberg[edit]

In 1599, the barony was raised to an Imperial county.

Counts of Schwarzenberg[edit]

On 14 July 1670, the county was raised to an Princely county and, the following year, to a Princely landgraviate.

Arms of the princes of the senior branch
Arms of the princes of the Orlík branch

Princes of Schwarzenberg[edit]

Primogeniture (branch of Krumlov and Hluboká)

Secundogeniture (branch of Orlík)

In November of 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Empire ceased to exist.

Heads of the House of Schwarzenberg (after 1918)[edit]



  • 1979–present: Karel VII, son of Karl VI, adopted by Heinrich, thus unifying both lines

The Dynasty[edit]

The names hereby presented are those of all the direct successors of the Prince John I of Schwarzenberg (1742-1789). They have been respectively divided into the two brenches of Krumlov and Orlik, including the contemporary generations. For the genealogy to be easier to consult, the male successors alone are listed, and they are accompanied with remarkable informations whether necessary. In bold the names of the members of the eldest part of the family.

  • Jan I Nepomuk (1742–1789), 5th Prince of Schwarzenberg, 10th (3rd of his line) Duke of Krumlov
    • A1. Josef II Jan (1769–1833), 6th Prince of Schwarzenberg, 11th (4th of his line) Duke of Krumlov (1789–1833), founder of the main branch of the family (that of Frauenberg-Krummau)
      • B1. Jan Adolf II (1799–1888), 7th Prince of Schwarzenberg, 12th (5th of his line) Duke of Krumlov (1833–1888)
        • C1. Adolf Josef (1832–1914), 8th Prince of Schwarzenberg, 13th (6th of his line) Duke of Krumlov (1888–1914)
          • D1. Jan II Nepomuk (1860–1938), 9th Prince of Schwarzenberg, 14th (7th of his line) Duke of Krumlov (1914-1938)
            • E1. Adolph Jan (1890–1950), 10th Prince of Schwarzenberg, 15th (8th of his line) Duke of Krumlov (1938–1950)
            • E2. Karl (1892–1919)
            • E3. Edmund Černov (1897–1932) - Called "Black Sheep" as a consequence of the refusal of his surname
          • D2. Alois (1863–1937)
          • D3. Felix (1867–1946)
            • E1. Josef III (1900–1979), 11th Prince of Schwarzenberg (1950-1979), last member of the eldest side of the dynasty
            • E2. Heinrich (1903–1965), 16th (9th of his line) Duke of Krumlov (1950–1965) (adopted G1. Karel (VII/I))
          • D4. Georg (1867–1952)
          • D5. Karel (1871–1902)
        • C2. Cajus (1839–1941)
      • B2. Felix (1800–1852), Prime Minister of the Austrian Empire
      • B3. Friedrich (1809–1885), Archbishop of Prague
    • A2. Karel I Philipp (1771–1820), Prince of Schwarzenberg, founder and chief of the second line of the family (Orlík)
      • B1. Friedrich (1800–1870), Who renounced his right of majorat in favour of his brother
      • B2. Karel II (1802–1858), Prince of Schwarzenberg
        • C1. Karel III (1824–1904), Prince of Schwarzenberg
          • D1. Karel IV (1859–1913), Prince of Schwarzenberg
            • E1. Karl V (1886–1914), Prince of Schwarzenberg
              • F1. Karel VI (1911–1989), Prince of Schwarzenberg
                • G1. Karel (VII / I) Schwarzenberg (* 1937), 12th Price of Schwarzenberg (from 1979), 17th (10th considering his original line) Duke of Krumlov (from 1965), Former Minister of the Foreign Affairs and candidate to the Presidence of Czech Republik in 2013. He unified the two lines of the family.
                  • H1. Jan Nepomuk (* 1967)
                • G2. Friedrich (* 1940–2014)
                  • H1. Ferdinand (* 1989)
              • F2. Franz Friedrich Maria (1913–1992)
                • G1. Hugo Tiberius (* 1936)
                  • H1. Lukas (* 1963)
                    • I1. Egon Hildebrand (* 1996)
                • G2. Jan Nepomuk (* 1957)
                  • H1. Alexander Holden (* 1984)
            • E2. Ernst (1892–1979)
            • E3. Josef (1894–1894)
            • E4. Jan Nepomuk (1903–1978), Austrian Embassador
              • F1. Erkinger (* 1933)
                • G1. Jan (* 1963)
                • G2. Alexandr (* 1971)
                  • H1. Karl Philipp (* 2003)
          • D2. Friedrich (1862–1936)
      • B2. Leopold (1803–1873), Austrian Marshal

Title of the head of the Schwarzenberg family[edit]

Styles of
The Prince of Schwarzenberg
Blason Maison de Schwartzenberg.svg
Reference style His Serene Highness
Spoken style Your Serene Highness
Alternative style Sir
  • H.S.H. The Prince of Schwarzenberg, Duke of Krumlov, Count of Sulz, Princely Landgrave of Klettgau (German: S.D. der Fürst von und zu Schwarzenberg, Herzog von Krummau, Graf von Sulz, gefürsteter Landgraf im Klettgau)

The other members of the Schwarzenberg family are not referred to as Dukes of Krumlov, and they should be addressed without the word "The" in front of their title of Prince or Princess. In the German language, the princely title of the head of the family is "Fürst", whereas other members of the family are titled as "Prinz" or "Prinzessin". The eldest son of the head of the family would be addressed with the title of "Erbprinz".


External links[edit]