Austro-Hungarian Empire's Last Heir Dead at 98

Otto von Habsburg became champion of European integration
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2011 3:19 AM CDT
Archduke Otto van Hapsburg, Final Heir to Austro-Hungarian Empire, Dead at 98
In this Dec. 3, 1936 file picture photo, Archduke Otto von Habsburg poses in the uniform of a captain of the Tyrolean rifleman's regiment.   (AP Photo)

Archduke Otto von Habsburg outlived the empire he was supposed to inherit by 92 years. The royal—christened Franz Josef Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xavier Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius—was the eldest son of the final emperor of the Austro-Hungarian empire, reports the BBC. He grew up in exile in Switzerland and Spain after the multiethnic European empire his father ruled collapsed in 1918.

The archduke, who has died in Germany at the age of 98, was a fierce opponent of Nazism and Communism, and spent much of his life working for greater European integration. He spent two decades as a member of the European Parliament and helped organize the Pan-European Picnic on the border of Austria and Hungary in 1989, an event credited with hastening the fall of the Berlin Wall. He will be buried in Vienna's Imperial Crypt. (Read more Otto von Habsburg stories.)

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