ANOTHER VON HABSBURG SPEAKS OUT!
By Gene Hogberg
Q. “Do you see Franz Josef Strauss often…?”
A. “Well I don’t see him often…, When we tak about politics head to head, he’s brilliant. I don’t mind that but otherwise he’s too blustery.”
Q. “You can look back through history many centuries ago and know that Charles V was your great-great-great-great grandfather. Does that do something to your everyday thinking?”
A. “I am descended from him through the Madeirian Line, but no– I feel more empathy toward my Grandfather Karl I, who was the last Emperor of Austria. Incidentally, my Grandmother Zita is still living. She is 93 years old, totally blind, but she has a sharp clear mind. She has a staff of advisors who keep her up-to-date on the latest world news. You can sit down with her and carry on conversations about what is happening in the world today and she will know everything you’re talking about.”
Q. “Do you feel the monarchy will ever be restored to Austria?” (Just then an elderly lady standing beside me nudged me and said: ”you don’t mean that question, do you?!” The Archduke did not mind it.)
A. “There was a poll taken in Austria much like your Harris Poll. Eleven percent of the people surveyed said that if they had their choice of a government they would want to live under the monarchy. Now eleven percent does not seem to be a very high figure but the same poll was taken in Belgium and only one percent of the people wanted a monarchy.”
Q. (From a young female student) “Who then would be the Emperor if that were to materialize?”
A. “My father is 73 years old and had to renounce any pretension to the throne. I have five sisters–I am the oldest of my brothers–I would,”
Q. “You admitted that even though the Common Market is moving along very well toward unity there are a lot of border problems due to different languages and customs. If that remains a problem, wouldn’t you draw upon the influence of the Catholic Church to settle such disputes since much of the Market is Catholic?”
A. “Most certainly yes. But I take their advice when it’s good and disregard it when it’s bad. For example, there was an Irish Catholic priest who was smuggling arms into a country in Africa dealing in revolution. The man was caught by the authorities and promised not to do it again. He returned immediately to that activity–was caught again, and again told the authorities he would not do that again. He was released. The church said that we should have aided much more in his release. I told the church that that man should have been shot.”
Q. “Are you related to the Royal House of Windsor?”
A. “Yes, through the Saxsonian Line. But I do not go in for all that social activity. I must by protocol attend the weddings of the royal families in Europe but I do not care for all that: I would rather be out talking politics, promoting the United States of Europe.
“One thing saddened and angered me last June at a wedding to which my grandmother attended. She of course needed two escorts since she is blind and when she came into the hall all the royalty stood up specifically to greet her with the exception of one person. That was Prince Andrew, who was sitting on a couch with his cigarette and glass of wine, lounging around very disrespectfully, There was my grandmother you know, the last Empress of Austria–quite an amazing achievement. But we were vindicated when we saw one of Andrew’s uncles race across the floor, stand him up and proceed to castigate him before the others in attendance.”
A further note by Mr. Witmer: The Archduke referred to England as “us and them” or “them and us”! The overall impression he left with the small audience was that he didn’t care too much for the British. He did state that he admired and liked the Queen and Prince Charles.Our thanks to Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Witmer for their contributions.]]>