House of Lorraine
Achievement (coat of arms) of the House of Lorraine.svg
Country Alsace, Austria, Bohemia, Brabant, France, Flanders, Hungary, Lorraine, Luxembourg,

Empire of Brazil, House of Orléans-Braganza House of Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, House of Bourbon-Braganza, Mexico, Modena and Tuscany

Parent house Ardennes–Metz
Titles *Holy Roman Emperor
  • Emperor of Austria
  • Empire of Brazil
  • Emperor of Mexico
  • King of the Romans
  • King of Bohemia
  • King of Croatia
  • King of Hungary
  • King of France
  • Archduke of Austria
  • Grand Duke of Tuscany
  • Duke of Milan
  • Duke of Brabant
  • Duke of Lorraine
  • Duke of Alsace
  • Duke of Bar
  • Duke of Luxembourg
  • Duke of Modena
  • Count of Flanders

(see more)

Current head Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen
Deposition Lorraine:
1738 – Francis I ceded title in accordance with the Treaty of Vienna, gaining Tuscany

Holy Roman Empire, Luxembourg,
Brabant, and Flanders

1805 – Francis II & I ceded titles in accordance with the Peace of Pressburg

1847 – Marie Louise died without issue

1859 – Leopold II abdicated due to pressure from Italian nationalists

1867 – Maximilian I executed by Liberal republicans.

Austria, Hungary and Bohemia:
1918 – Charles I & IV relinquished participation in state affairs following the end of World War I

Cadet branches *Vaudemont
  • Guise (extinct)
  • Habsburg-Lorraine
    • Austria-Este
    • Hohenberg
    • Habsburg-Tuscany
    • Habsburg-Mexico

The House of Lorraine (German: Haus Lothringen) originated as a cadet branch of the House of Metz. It inherited the Duchy of Lorraine in 1473 after the death without a male heir of Nicholas I, Duke of Lorraine. By the marriage of Francis of Lorraine to Maria Theresa of Austria in 1736, and with the success in the ensuing War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748), the House of Lorraine was joined to the House of Habsburg and became known as the House of Habsburg‑Lorraine (German: Haus Habsburg-Lothringen). Francis, his sons Joseph II and Leopold II, and his grandson Francis II were the last four Holy Roman Emperors from 1745 until the dissolution of the empire in 1806. The House of Habsburg-Lorraine inherited the Habsburg Empire, ruling the Austrian Empire and then Austria-Hungary until the dissolution of the monarchy in 1918.

On 8 September 1822, in the first day after the Proclamation of Independence, Prince Pedro issued a decree to adopt for the Kingdom of Brazil a new flag and coat of arms, replacing the Portuguese colours, then white and blue, with new colours, green and yellow (green was chosen for its association with the House of Braganza, Pedro's dynasty; yellow was chosen as it was the colour of the House of Habsburg, in which Pedro's wife, Leopoldina, was born; the new national colours therefore honoured the Royal couple that led Brazil at the foundation of its independence); those new symbols would later pass to the Empire of Brazil when it was founded on 12 October 1822.

Although its senior agnates are the Dukes of Hohenberg, the house is currently headed by Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen (born 1961), grandson of the last emperor Charles I.[1]


House of Ardennes–Metz[]

The house claims descent from Gerard I of Paris (Count of Paris) (died 779) whose immediate descendants are known as the Gerardides. The Matfridings of the 10th century are thought to have been a branch of the family;[2] at the turn of the 10th century they were Counts of Metz and ruled a set of lordships in Alsace and Lorraine. The Renaissance dukes of Lorraine tended to arrogate to themselves claims to Carolingian ancestry, as illustrated by Alexandre Dumas, père in the novel La Dame de Monsoreau (1846);[3] in fact, so little documentation survives on the early generations that the reconstruction of a family tree for progenitors of the House of Alsace involves a good deal of guesswork.[2]

What is more securely demonstrated is that in 1048 Emperor Henry III gave the Duchy of Upper Lorraine first to Adalbert of Metz and then to his brother Gerard whose successors (collectively known as the House of Alsace or the House of Châtenois) retained the duchy until the death of Charles the Bold in 1431.[4]

Houses of Vaudemont and Guise[]

The Château du Grand Jardin in Joinville, the seat of the Counts and Dukes of Guise.

After a brief interlude of 1453–1473, when the duchy passed in right of Charles's daughter to her husband John of Calabria, a Capetian, Lorraine reverted to the House of Vaudemont, a junior branch of House of Lorraine, in the person of René II who later added to his titles that of Duke of Bar.[5]

The French Wars of Religion saw the rise of a junior branch of the Lorraine family, the House of Guise, which became a dominant force in French politics and, during the later years of Henri III's reign, was on the verge of succeeding to the throne of France.[6] Mary of Guise, mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, also came from this family.

Under the Bourbon monarchy the remaining branch of the House of Guise, headed by the duc d'Elbeuf, remained part of the highest ranks of French aristocracy, while the senior branch of the House of Vaudemont continued to rule the independent duchies of Lorraine and Bar. Louis XIV's imperialist ambitions (which involved the occupation of Lorraine in 1669–97) forced the dukes into a permanent alliance with his archenemies, the Holy Roman Emperors from the House of Habsburg.

House of Habsburg‑Lorraine[]

The coat of arms of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. The shield displays the marshaled arms of the Habsburg, Babenberg and Lorraine families.

After Emperor Joseph I and Emperor Charles VI failed to produce a son and heir, the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 left the throne to the latter's yet unborn daughter, Maria Theresa. In 1736 Emperor Charles arranged her marriage to Francis of Lorraine who agreed to exchange his hereditary lands for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (as well as Duchy of Teschen from the Emperor).

At Charles's death in 1740 the Habsburg holdings passed to Maria Theresa and Francis, who was later elected (in 1745) Holy Roman Emperor as Francis I. The Habsburg-Lorraine nuptials and dynastic union precipitated, and survived, the War of the Austrian Succession. Francis and Maria Theresa's daughters Marie Antoinette and Maria Carolina became Queens of France and Naples-Sicily, respectively, while their sons Joseph II and Leopold II succeeded to the imperial title.

Apart from the core Habsburg dominions, including the triple crowns of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia, several junior branches of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine reigned in the Italian duchies of Tuscany (until 1860), Parma (until 1847) and Modena (until 1859). Another member of the house, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, was Emperor of Mexico (1863–67).

In 1900, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (then heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne) contracted a morganatic marriage with Countess Sophie Chotek. Their descendants, known as the House of Hohenberg, have been excluded from succession to the Austro-Hungarian crown, but not that of Lorraine, where morganatic marriage has never been outlawed. Nevertheless, Otto von Habsburg, the eldest grandson of Franz Ferdinand's younger brother, was universally regarded as the head of the house until his death in 2011.[7] It was at Nancy, the former capital of the House of Vaudemont, that the former crown prince married Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen in 1951.[1]

List of heads[]

Francis I of Lorraine with his family.

The following is a list of ruling heads (after 1918 pretenders) of the house of Ardennes-Metz and its successor houses of Lorraine and Habsburg-Lorraine, from the start of securely documented genealogical history in the 11th century.[2]

  • Gerhard III, Count of Metz, 990-1045
  • Adalbert, Duke of Upper Lorraine r. 1047/8
  • Gérard, Duke of Lorraine, r. 1048–1070
  • Theodoric (Thierry) II r. 1070–1115
  • Simon I, r. 1115–1138
  • Matthias I, r. 1138–1176
  • Simon II, r. 1176–1215
  • Frederick I, r. 1205/6
  • Frederick II, r. 1206–1213
  • Theobald I, r. 1213–1220
  • Matthias II, r. 1220–1251
  • Frederick III, c. 1251–1303
  • Theobald II, r. 1303–1312
  • Frederick IV, r. 1312–1328
  • Rudolph, r. 1328–1346 (killed in the Battle of Crécy)
  • John I, r. 1346–1390
  • Charles II, r. 1390–1431

Charles II died without male heir, the duchy passing to Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine, consort of Naples by marriage to Duke René of Anjou. The duchy passed to their son John II (r. 1453–1470), whose son Nicholas I (r. 1470–1473) died without male heir. The title now went to Nicholas' aunt (sister of John II) Yolande.

House of Lorraine[]

The House of Lorraine was formed by Yolande's marriage to Frederick II, Count of Vaudémont (1428–1470), who was descended from John I (Yolande's great-grandfather) via his younger son Frederick I, Count of Vaudémont (1346–1390), Antoine, Count of Vaudémont (c. 1395–1431) and Frederick II, Count of Vaudémont (1417–1470). René inherited the title of Duke of Lorraine upon his marriage in 1473.

House of Habsburg–Lorraine[]

The heir of Franz Joseph, Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, committed suicide in 1889. Franz Joseph was succeeded by his grandnephew, Charles I, son of Archduke Otto Francis, the son of Archduke Karl Ludwig, a younger brother of Franz Joseph.

Family tree[]


Notes and references[]

  1. ^ a b Gordon Brook-Shepherd. Uncrowned Emperor: the Life and Times of Otto von Habsburg. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003. ISBN 1-85285-439-1. Pages XI, 179, 216.
  2. ^ a b c Cawley, Charles, Lorraine, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,, retrieved August 2012 ,, in Medieval Lands Project
  3. ^ See Chapter XXI.
  4. ^ William W. Kibler, Grover A. Zinn. Medieval France: an Encyclopedia. Routledge, 1995. ISBN 0-8240-4444-4. Page 561.
  5. ^ Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages (ed. by André Vauchez). Routledge, 2000. ISBN 1-57958-282-6. Page 1227.
  6. ^ Robert Knecht. The Valois: Kings of France 1328–1589. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2007. ISBN 1-85285-522-3. Page 214.
  7. ^ Brook-Shepherd also notes that morganatic alliances were not forbidden by ancient Magyar laws. See Brook-Shepherd 179.

External links[]

Royal house
House of Lorraine
House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Preceded by
House of Habsburg
Archduchy of Austria
Archduchy elevated to the Empire of Austria
Kingdom of Bohemia
Kingdom abolished
Duchy of Burgundy and the Burgundian Netherlands
Duchy abolished
Kingdom of Hungary
Incorporated into the Empire of Austria
Austro-Hungarian Compromise recreates the Kingdom of Hungary separate from the Empire of Austria in 1867
Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom abolished
New title Empire of Austria
Empire abolished
Preceded by
House of Medici
Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Grand Duchy abolished
Became the Kingdom of Etruria, a territory of the House of Bourbon
Preceded by
House of Bonaparte
Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia
Kingdom abolished
Italy united under the House of Savoy
Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Grand duchy abolished
Incorporated into the United Provinces of Central Italy
Preceded by
House of Iturbide
Deposed in 1823, a republic was created in the interim
Empire of Mexico
Empire abolished

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