Zita of Bourbon-Parma

Zita of Bourbon-Parma

Capezzano Pianore, Provincia di Lucca, Toscana, Italy
Death 14 Mar 1989 (aged 96)
Zizers, Bezirk Landquart, Graubünden, Switzerland
Burial Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
Plot Gruftkapelle, the one after Franz Josef's Gruft
Memorial ID 7179 · View Source
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Austro-Hungarian Monarch. Born Zita Marie der Gnaden Adelgunde Michaele Raphaelle Gabrielle Josphine Antonie Luise Agnes delle Grazie di Borbone, Principessa di Parma the daughter of Roberto I di Borbone, Duca di Parma and his second wife, Maria Antonia Adelaide de Bragança, Infanta de Portugal at Villa Pianore, Province di Lucca, Italy. She was the fifth of her mother's children, the seventeenth of her father's. She attended a boarding school at Zanberg in Upper Bavaria, and a convent on the Isle of Wight, Britain for her education. In June 1911 she became engaged to Archduke Karl von Österreich, heir presumptive to the Austrian throne. They married at Schloss Schwarzau some four months later. The couple would have eight children. When Karl's uncle Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, he became heir apparent. Emperor Franz Joseph died in November 1916 and the following month Karl I and Zita were crowned in Budapest. In the closing days of World War One, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was wracked with tension between ethnic groups. As part of his Fourteen Points, US President Wilson demanded that the Empire allow for autonomy of its peoples. In October 1918 the emperor issued a proclamation making Austria a federal union. Each of the empire's ethnic groups, however, declared their independence, until even Hungary officially ended the union between Austria and Hungary. On Armistice Day, Karl issued a carefully worded proclamation in which he did "relinquish every participation in the administration of the State" although he never used the word abdicate in hopes of being asked to stay in power. The royal family departed for their hunting lodge at Eckartsau, on the borders with Hungary and Slovakia. With the aid of Zita's brother, Sixtus, and George V of Great Britain, the family were evacuated to Switzerland on March 1919. After a brief flirtation with regaining the Hungarian throne in 1921, the family entered into exile on the island of Madeira. Zita's husband died of pneumonia there in 1922 while she was pregnant with their last child. She would wear black in his memory for the remainder of her life. At the invitation of Alfonso XIII, Zita and her children were relocated to the Pardo Palace in Madrid, Spain and then to Palacio Uribarren at Lekeitio in the Bay of Biscay. By 1929, Zita again relocated, this time to Steenokkerzeel, Belgium, where she continued to lobby for a Hapsburg restoration. After the 1938 annexation of Austria, however, her efforts changed to the resistance of the German occupation in Austria. In May of 1940, Zita and her family fled in advance of the German invasion of Belgium. Refugees, they were granted visas to the United States and arrived in New York in July, 1940 but eventually settled in Quebec, Canada. After the war, Zita toured the United States and Canada to raise funds for war-ravaged Austria and Hungary. In 1959, she returned to Europe, taking up residence in Johannesstift, Zizers, Kanton Graubünden, Switzerland. She became involved in the effort to have her husband canonized. In the summer of 1988, she developed pneumonia and was often bedridden thereafter. In March 1989, she called her son Otto and told him she was dying. The family traveled to her bedside and stayed with her until her death little more than a week later at age 96. Her funeral was held in Vienna and Zita's body was carried to the Kapuziner Crypt in the same coach used in the funeral of Emperor Franz Joseph in 1916. More than 200 members of the Habsburg and Bourbon-Parma families attended, as did some 6,000 state officials and international representatives, including a representative of Pope John Paul II.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 27 Nov 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7179
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Zita of Bourbon-Parma (9 May 1892–14 Mar 1989), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7179, citing Kapuzinergruft, Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria ; Maintained by Find A Grave .