Zita of Bourbon-Parma

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Image:Karlfamily.jpg
Coronation photograph of Zita as Queen of Hungary, with her husband, King Charles I and Crown Prince Otto.
31 December 1916

Zita of Bourbon-Parma (German: Zita von Bourbon-Parma) (May 9, 1892 - March 14, 1989) was the last Empress-consort of Austria and Queen-consort of Hungary.

She was born as HRH Zita Maria delle Grazie Adelgonda Micaela Raffaela Gabriella Giuseppina Antonia Luisa Agnese of Bourbon, Princess of Parma in Villa Pianore near Lucca in Italy. She was a daughter of the deposed Robert I, Duke of Parma and his second wife, Maria Antonia of Portugal.

Zita married Karl of Austria in 1911 and in the following decade gave birth to eight children, starting with Crown Prince Otto (born 1912), the current head of the Habsburg dynasty. She was accused by critics of being behind her exiled husband's attempts to regain the throne of Hungary, where the monarchy had been re-established under a regent after the end of the First World War, and from which he had not abdicated.

After Karl's death in 1922, Zita wore mourning black until she died 67 years later. Zita left Madeira but continued living abroad, in France, Spain, Belgium, Canada, and the United States. She spoke five languages, and kept in contact with many of Europe's royal houses throughout her exile. In her old age, from 1962 onward, she lived in Zizers, Graubünden, Switzerland at a former Franciscan monastery, where she died. She was always a fervent Roman Catholic.

Image:KarlandZita.jpg
Karl and Zita
A coronation photograph from 1916

In 1982, the Austrian government granted Zita the right to re-enter Austria, although she had never renounced the Habsburg claim to the throne. She was buried in Vienna's Imperial Crypt (die Kapuzinergruft) in the city centre, which had served for centuries as the Habsburg family's burial place. Zita received what was in effect a state funeral, attended by leading politicians, state officials and international representatives, including a representative of Pope John Paul II.


[edit] Beliefs about the death of Crown Prince Rudolf

Zita always asserted her belief that the deaths of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria and his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera at Mayerling in 1889 were not a double suicide, but rather murder by French or Austrian agents. Three years after Zita's death, an examination of the remains of Vetsera (which followed its theft, and had been carried out to ensure the returned remains were of the right person) cast serious doubt on the official explanation of the deaths; in particular, it was found that Vetsera had not been shot as always claimed but battered to death.

A subsequent re-examination of files on the deaths also raised serious questions to the matter on Rudolf's death: He, too, had been involved in a struggle, had been shot with a gun that was not his and, unusually for someone committing suicide, managed to fire all six bullets even though the first killed him. The re-examination discredited the official 'double suicide' explanation. With Zita's death, however, no person remained alive who could supply any information on what the private views of the Imperial family and in particular the private views of Rudolf's father, Emperor Franz Josef of Austria, had been on the controversial deaths.ca:Zita de Borbó-Parma da:Zita (kejserinde af Østrig) de:Zita von Bourbon-Parma et:Zita (Austria-Ungari) es:Zita de Borbón-Parma fr:Zita de Bourbon-Parme it:Zita di Borbone-Parma nl:Zita van Bourbon-Parma ja:ツィタ (オーストリア皇后) no:Zita av Bourbon-Parma ro:Zita de Bourbon-Parma fi:Zita von Bourbon-Parma sv:Zita av Bourbon-Parma

Zita of Bourbon-Parma

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