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Thank you for listening to the Rest is History. For bonus episodes, early access, ad-free listening, and access to our chat community, sign up at restishistorypod. Com. That's restishistorypod. Com. I have a very big and exciting announcement. Tom and I will be following in the footsteps of Adele, Jimi Hendrix, and Jay Z, or Jay Z, as I call him, to name but a few, because we will be performing at the Royal Albert Hall. It's on Friday, the 18th of October. We will be accompanied by a live orchestra. Don't worry, Tom will not be singing because what we will be doing is we will be diving into the lives of Mozart and Beethoven, arguably the two greatest composers in history, if you discount Bach. We will be exploring their music, their lives, how the French Revolution overshadowed Mozart's final years, and the Napoleonic Wars played their part in the making of Beethoven's greatest symphony. You've got all that to look forward to.


Tickets are on sale now, and you can, of course, get them at therestishistory. Com. And on that bombshell, on with the show.


His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, by the Grace of God, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavia, Galicia, Laudermiria, and Illyria, King of Jerusalem, et cetera, Archduke of Austria, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Krakow, Duke of Lorraine, Salzberg, Styria, Carinthia, Carneola, and Bucavina. Grand Prince of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia, Duke of Upper and Lower Silicia, of Modena, Palma, Piacenza, and Guastala, of Auschwitz and Zator, of Tessian, Frioul, Ragusa and Zara, princely Count of Hapsberg and Tyrel of Kyberg, Gorizia, Gradisca, Prince of Trento and Brixon, Margrave of upper and lower Lusatia and in Istria, Count of Hohenems, Veldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenberg, et cetera. Lord of Trieste, of Ketaro and on the Vindic March, Grand Voivode, of the Voivodeship of Serbia, et cetera, et cetera. Those, Tom Holland, are the titles of Franz Josef, the first of Austria, Hungary. Frankly, we are pretty pitiful by comparison. Our name are your titles? Duke of Brixton, Supreme Voiva, road of South London. They pale by comparison.


Yeah, we love a grand title on the rest of history, don't we? We do. I have to say that probably has there ever been a family in history that has had a better array of titles in the Habsbergs.


I love the Habsbergs, Tom. There's a a particular Habsberg nostalgia among people who've got nothing to do with the Hapsbergs, not in Central Europe at all. People like me who like going to Vienna. Eating Strudel. Eating Strudel, Sasha Tata. Yes, and all that. Thinking about Mahler. Yes.


Yeah, you do. You're a great lover of Habsbourg, Vienna, aren't you? And as you know, I am a great lover of Archduks. There's nothing I love more than to chat away to Archdukes and so on.


I've been to Franz Ferdinand's Castle, Connerpichter.


Have you?


Full of all the creatures that he shot. Some people might think that distasteful. I loved it. Anyway, that's just a tangent. Talk about Archdukes.


Okay. Listeners have probably been able to gage from the tone of project flattery that Dominic, in particular, is affecting.


I'm after an honor, Tom. I'm after perhaps both periods.


You want to be a member of the Order of the Fleece, don't you? The Order of the Golden Fleece.


I do. I absolutely do. My life will be for nothing if I'm not.


We We talked about the Order of the Golden Fleece, which was set up by the Dukes of Burgundy with Bart Van Luhe, ages ago. I saw then that your ears pricked up. I saw the glint of chivalric yearning in your gaze. Obviously, ever since then, it's been a huge ambition, not just to talk about the Habsbergs, but actually to get a Habsberg Archduke onto the podcast. It's basically like getting a member of the Julia Claudians or the Tudors or somebody. We are very I'm really very honored to be joined by a genuine Habsberg, Eduard Karl, Joseph, Michael, Markus, Antonius, Column, Volkard, Maria, Habsberg Lotheringen, to be precise, the Archduke of Austria, better known, Edward, I think, as you're just Habsberg Lotheringen, aren't you, on your passport? Is that right?


Yes, I am. In Hungary, it's more complicated because I'm Habsberg Lotheringai.


Okay, that is complicated.


You're not just the Archduke of Austria. You are also the Hungarian ambassador to the Holy Sea to the Pope.


Yes, in fact, I'm ambassador here since eight years, but I am not the Archduke of Austria because there's tons of us. Oh. In fact, every single Habsberg is an Archduke or an Archduchess. We did this in a rather creative way. We found this title belonged to us in an old document. So all of us are Archduke. There is not the Archduke, but every Habsberg is Archduke or Archduchess.


I apologize profusely. Dominic, Mike, obviously, with his detailed knowledge of Central European peerage, would not have made that crashing mistake.


But I want to add that I make myself sincerely unpopular in Austria, if I even mention the word Archduke, because using that title in Austria will lead to a fine. But we're talking on an English-speaking podcast outside of Austria.


You would genuinely get fined if you use that title in Austria.


It's complicated.


If you went into a cafe and you said, I'm the Archduke, bring me hot chocolate.


Someone can call the police and I can get into trouble. But I think the fine is not that high. It is a correspondent number to a rather low number of corn and I think. But Austria has a complicated situation here. In the rest of the world, people see this as a historic title that is stuck to the Habsbourg, and that's why they use it in speaking about the Habsbergs.


If I was an archdeucal, I'd use it all the time, even if I got a fine.


Yeah, I would, too.


So, Edward, you've written a book, The Habsberg Way: Seven Rules for turbulent times in which you offer the example of your family, dynasty, I might almost say, as a guide to making sense of the present. But before we come to those seven rules, could we just sketch out for people who may not know much about the Habsbergs, where your family come from and what they've done over the course of the centuries, because they've obviously done a great deal.


Well, the introductory chapter in my book, which is just a few pages, gives you an overview of our family history. I wrote that for the members in my family who are too lazy to read the entire book but want to know a bit.


Oh, my God.


Because being born as a Habsberg doesn't mean that you automatically know our history. As I point out, we are not like the Bene Gesserit. We don't have other memories, but we have to learn them, too. So, yes, a very short overview would say that we come from the romantic little corner between Germany, Switzerland, and France, where we were Around the year 1200, 1250, we were counts in the area around the Bordensey, Limón Lake. I don't know how you say that in English. Yeah, Lake Lemon. And then in 1273, the first member of our family was dragged onto the stage of world history by being elected king of the Holy Roman Empire. He was never Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire because he wasn't crowned by the Pope. But the job was the same. They thought they would choose an elderly, respectable count that will definitely never fund a dynasty and can be controlled.


How wrong they were.


Boy, were they ever wrong? Then from 1273 to about 1918, the Habsbergs played an important role in most of the years of European history. They then disappeared from the stage again for nearly 200 years because the prince electors decided never to make that mistake again. The Habsbergs were then thrown out of Switzerland by the Swiss and took a foothold in Austria and surrounding countries, and then finally made it back to the imperial throne again after a hiatus. And then a huge history begins that I could talk about for hours.


So the name of Habsberg comes from this period when your ancestors have been thrown out of Switzerland and they move to the Hofberg. Is that right? Which then becomes Vienna. Am I misunderstanding that?


No. The name Casa d'Austria was used by us after having been thrown out of Switzerland. But Habsberg, of course, is a tiny little castle not too far away from Zurich in the canton Argao in Switzerland, where a ratbot of Habsbourg built that one around the year 1,000.


Oh, I see. Right. Yes. Sorry.


And that still stands, by the way, and you can visit it. This is where our family name, Habsbourg, comes from. When we moved to Austria, we took the more elegant title, Casa d'Austria, because it was a bit of a difficult time for the Habsbourg. They had been Emperor for one moment in time, and then suddenly they were out again. They wouldn't be one of the Prince Electors. So they worked on their legend. That's also when we discovered the documents that proved that we were Archduke's.


So we'll come to the documents in a little bit because I want to talk about that in the context of your rules. But at the beginning, you have five dates that you think absolutely everybody should know about the Habsbourg. So you've mentioned one of them, which is 1273, when Rudolf I. His title is King of the Romans, isn't it?




That's the Holy Roman Empire. I know it's incredibly confusing. For those people who don't know, that's effectively the Leviathan that dominates Central Europe, Germany, neither Holy nor Roman, nor an Empire. Is it Voltaire said that, Édouard?


I would disagree. I would disagree.


Okay, I know you would. So there's 1273. Now, the next really important date that you identify is round about 1500. So what happens then that's so important?


I would say around 1450, 1460, the Habsburgs were still a family of dreamers sitting around Vienna. And then with a series of marriages, they really explode onto the world history stage. And then after very few years, all over the lifespan of Maximilian, suddenly are everywhere in the world. They go from Austria via Burgundy to Spain and the rest of the world in very few years time, around the year 1500.


This is when Maximilian is the one who marries the daughter of Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy, who we talked about with Bart Van Lu. And so that's where the Order of the Golden Fleece and all that inheritance of lands in the low countries comes from.


Yes, and the Spanish Protocol. If I begin to speak about Maximilian, you could have me for hours. He is probably one of the greatest, most romantic characters we ever had in the family. He wrote three autobiographies. They were all pimped up versions of his life as nightly adventures. He was friends with Dura. He was friends with the greatest artist in his time. But most of all, he had no money, and he sat south of Vienna in the castle of his father, when suddenly history called, and he was called to marry and to save the most beautiful princess in the world. So his life suddenly became one of those nightly romances that he always read. What had happened was that Charles the Bold had somehow agreed with Maximilian's father that their children should get married. I think the deal was that he might then get the title of King from the Emperor, Frederick the third, father of Maximilian. And then suddenly, Charles the Bold was killed in a battle with the Swiss, and this young girl was suddenly the heir sitting in Burgundy helpless, while the French king moved his armies to take Burgundy, finally take it back France, and marry her off to his, I think, 13-year-old son.


She had been writing letters with Maximilian for years. Very nice. They never met, of course, as you usually never did before you got married as a Habsbourg or prince at that time. And she just wrote him a letter and said, Come and save me my night. And he, of course, had a horse and a nightly armor and a few friends and a few soldiers and no money. So he got on his horse south of Vienna, and he rode up the Danube towards Burgundy. And on the way, more and more people joined him, bishops and princes and counts, with their armies, with the soldiers. He still never had enough money. But they knew, of course, that he was the son of Emperor Frederick, so very probably going to be elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, too. So it paid to be on his side, I think. And he made it in time to arrive with a huge golden army and beautiful armor to Burgundy, more or less days before the French arrived. And they got immediately married. They were a A beautiful couple. He was incredibly strong, handsome, and a daring fighter, very cultivated. They read nightly novels together.


We would be watching the Crown or something together on an iPad. They write nightly novels. And their common language was Latin because they didn't speak the same language. It was a great love story. They really loved each other. Unfortunately, Mary died very soon from a writing accident. But in the meanwhile, she has given birth to important children. With these two children, the whole marrying off and building networks and taking over the world by marriage, politics of the Habsbourg began.


Because the key one is they have a son called Philip, and he marries the heiress of Castile, doesn't she? And that brings in Spain. And so a generation later, you have Charles IV. I mean, he's basically king of everywhere or Emperor of everywhere. Including America. Except France and England, including, yeah, vast swathes of the Americas. So the Habsbourg now have their hands on. Spain, Burgundy, Central Europe, their heartland in Austria, just this colossal empire. I guess at that point, when you consider it contains, but it's nominally much of South America, the largest empire anybody has seen. Yes.


Parts of America, parts of North America, too. Many islands in the Pacific, the Philippines, are called after King Philip of Spain. So that was the famous realm where the sun never set.


Yeah. So the first global empire, the first properly global empire. Yeah. Yes.


So the Habsburg solved that problem by having two lines of the family, two branches, one of them in Spain and one of them in Vienna. And the way they cut up the world was that the Spanish looked after the world empire, Spain, Sicily, and the Austrian one looked after Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and always the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire for about 180 years. And what they also did was getting married among each other rather frequently.


So just on the two branches for a second. So you're obviously the Central European aren't you? Yes. But do you have anything to do with the Spanish Habsbourg? Or have you lost touch with them?


Dominic, they died out in 1700. So we don't meet them too often.


Yeah, well, that's what I was going to ask.


The other date that I suggest, the third date that I suggest, is the year 1700. And one of the major topics on Twitter when people talk to me is, of course, the inbreeding the Habsbourg jaw, and the marrying between the Austrian and the Spanish branch. It happened several times over the centuries, Which in the end, definitely, we know this nowadays, led to the last Spanish hapsberg dying absolutely incapable of having children from genetic diseases.


But are there no leftover illegitimate Spanish hapsbergs? That's my question. In other words, I find it implausible to imagine, given the behavior of monarchs over the centuries, that there are no little offshoot somewhere in lurking around in the back streets of Seville or something. Burgos.


You mean walking through Seville and suddenly seeing a face saying, You look like me.




Dominic, Tom, you know as historians that the further you go back into history, the more we are related to everyone.


We're all descend from Genghis Khan, aren't we?


Every European person now is somehow descended from Charlemagne. But no, the Spanish branch is definitely gone. And 1700 is a good year because this is the end of the Habsburg rule in Spain. The last Habsburg there dies. The Spanish War of Secession happens, and you only have the Austrian branch. And then for a few years, it seems that the Austrian Branch will also die out, which is probably one of the most dramatic moments in our history is Charles VI realizes that first of all, for 10 years, he doesn't have children. Then after 10 years, he has two daughters. And then he knows that he will have to find a way to make his daughter carry on the family. And he goes around Europe and negotiates with every ruler, and they agree to the pragmatic sanction, which is when and if Maria Thereseia gets married, she adds the name of her husband to her own, and she can carry on the family. And of course, if Maria Thereseia didn't If she had any children, that would have been it. But she had 16. Yeah. And that restarted the Habsbergs around 1740 onwards. And it's no coincidence that she won the female Habsberg Championship on Twitter.


You're aware I did a Habsberg Championship on Twitter where I very democratically asked people to vote for their favorite Habsbergs. I began with 16 male and 16 female. Then, like in a football Championship, we went down four, two can go on to the next round. And in the end, among the males, you have blessed Emperor Karl. I know why he won. I was pretty certain he would win in the male team. But Maria Teresa won. And she's really incredible because her Her taking over the Empire is one of the most dramatic things in Habsburg history. Her father died rather unexpectedly. He hadn't really prepared her for this. She was by then married, had her first children. And immediately when his father died, Frederick of Prussia began to move his armies to it, Silesia.


This is Frederick the Great.


Yes, Frederick the Great. My grandfather always used to say Frederick of Prussia, who some call the Great. The Duke of Bavaria immediately moved his armies into Austria and said, I am the Archduke. The pragmatic sanction doesn't count. She was alone. She wasn't a soldier. She had a crumbling empire, a badly shaped army, bad finances, and old ministers. Then she showed what she was made of. She was incredibly dynamic, and she went to the Hungarian. So one of the topics of my book is the complicated relationship between the Habsbourg and Hungary. And that's also the topic of the introduction by Viktor Orbán. The Hungarian weren't exactly enthusiastic to be ruled by the Habsbourg. And Mary-Teresia just went to Hungary and beg the Hungarian for help against Frederick of Prussia. And they said yes, because she stood there with her young son, Joseph, and all of that. And then she worked tirelessly, had 16 children, went out, danced, was cheerful, played cards. And many aristocrats remember how they were nearly ruined by playing cards with her. And at the same time was a very good Catholic and built a network. She really reestablished the Habsbourg in 1740 to 1780.


And then the next big date, 1806, because that is the date when under pressure from Napoleon, Francis II dissolves the Holy Roman Empire.




And so the Holy Roman Empire, this extraordinary multinational creation is gone. But a new multinational creation exists, which is effectively the Austrian Empire, or as it becomes with the compromise of 1867, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Does that mark a a narrowing of the horizons for the Habsberg, do you think?


In a way, yes, and in a way, not anymore, because by 1806, it wasn't the world empire anymore, and the Holy Roman Empire wasn't what it was anymore. A a few hundred years before that. But in a way, it doesn't change anything because that's one of the topics of my book, especially the third point in my book, is the principles that they used from 1273 on that ruled the the way they were Holy Roman emperors, became the principles of the Austrian Empire. And whenever the Habsbourg did that right, it was fantastic. The Austro-Hungarian Empire did many things right. My very humble opinion, the European Union still has to learn to get right. And one of the reasons for Brexit, I think, is because of our English friends not absolutely feeling respected in their vision.


So the EU is not Habsbourg enough.


You said that.


And so your final date. So your final date is the 12th of November 1918. And that is the date that you mentioned him earlier. So the Emperor Karl, he is the heir of Franz Joseph, the very famous, gigantic mustachioed Emperor that everybody equates with the 19th century.


And Dominic, you talked about him, didn't you? On our 12 Days of Christmas episodes.


I love him. He's very stoical. I love a dull monarch, Tom, as you know. So I love George IV.


Yes, I know you do. Yes.


And the more abstemious, unfun-loving. I love when Monica gets up before 4:00 in the morning, has a cold shower, and then does his paperwork.


Did he collect stamps?


He's the man who would, I think Tom, even if he didn't. He's a stamp collector in his soul. I think we should say that. Anyway, he's dead. That's the end of him. First World War. Karl comes in, and Karl is booted out. Edward, a very sad moment for you. Some listeners who you would obviously absolutely have no time for. You're saying this is a tremendous moment. The Republican listeners, I mean, he's booted out, but he doesn't abdicate. Isn't that right? And he tries to come back to Hungary and reclaim his Crown. So is there a slight sense? I don't want you to give away state secrets, family secrets. Is there a sense in your Habsberg WhatsApp group that you're all waiting for the moment when you can put right-Waiting for the call. Yeah, when you can put right what happened on the 12th of November, 1918?




History doesn't repeat itself, but it rimes. So I say, crazier things have happened in history. I don't see monarchy coming back in Austria or Hungary right now. But as I said, crazier things have happened.


Okay, that's the politician's answer, Tom.


I'm a diplomat.


Well, I think at some point in your book, you do say, no, Habsbergs are dreaming of coming back, or are they? I think the question of what a Habsbourg Europe might look now is a very interesting one that is opened up by the list of seven rules that you have given in your book. I think we should take a break now. Maybe when we come back, just very quickly, we could skim through these seven rules to try and get a sense of what the lessons of history are for politicians in Europe and perhaps beyond today.


Welcome back to The Rest is History. We are talking about Habsberg history. We're in fact, talking to a Habsberg about his own history, or rather he's talking to us. That is, of course, Edward Habsberg, the Hungarian ambassador to the Holy See, a man who could go into a Viennese café and introduce himself as an Archduke, but he would face a fine for doing so. Edward, I think this is your chance to brandish that title as much as you can. There is no fines on the rest of history.


We completely acknowledge you as Archduke of Austria.


You have these seven rules that you think Europe should emulate, and these are the lessons to be drawn from Habsbourg history. So we're going to go through the seven, and we'll pick a historical example or two for each one to anchor them in the family story. So your very first rule is get married and have lots of children. Now, some people would think that's very deleterious to your family income. The more children you have, because children are very expensive.


But also, I mean, quite distracting these days, I'd have thought, isn't it?


Very distracting, Tom.


Particularly your Prime Minister or something or President.


Well, Edward is going to put us right. So explain to us, Edward, what's the gist of this?


Well, the gist is, of course, I'm married and have six children. I want everybody else to experience the same sense of happiness and fulfillment that I experience from this marriage. I'm married since 28 years now, and it's cool. No, that's not just trying to convince everybody else, but it's also I believe that a society with large families is a good society. I think that around the dinner table, you learn all the values that you need for a just, for a merciful And you learn all the virtues you need in a modern democracy. You learn to look after your younger siblings, for instance. And all of that you learn in a big family.


I mean, looking at the lessons of history, did the fact that the Habsbergs... I mean, you talked about Maria are having 16 children. Was that helpful for the Habsbergs or Maximilian having all his children?


Well, Maximilian is the big one, isn't he? Because marital diplomacy is the key to his success, isn't it, Edward?


Okay, Tom, first to your question, there's a very nice quote. I think it's by Ferdinand the second. He said, daughters should in all cases be welcome because they unite different countries. Sons, on the other hand, might tear one country apart. So yes, in Habsbourg history, it wasn't always easy to have sons. It was always useful to have daughters because you use them in chips in marriage, diplomacy. And this is to your point, Dominic. What Maximilian did in the 15th, 16th century was incredible because first he used his two children to get the Spanish Empire. Then he used their children to get the Hungarian and Bohemian Crown. And that was all Maximilian over several years. And he, of course, married off his grandchildren while they were still very small. They weren't actually, of course, married, but it was all agreed upon. One of them, even before he was born, it was like, If yours is a boy and mine is a daughter, then they get married.


Just one final point on the whole business, and you touched on it in the first half. And this is the issue of inbreeding and the Hapsberg jaw. I can't help noticing gazing at you on our video call, that you're a very handsome man and that your jaw is impeccably shaped and framed.


Why? Thank you, Tom.


Tom, I can't believe you're flirting with the- With the Archdeac of Austria.


Shameless behavior. Talk us through the Habsberg jaw. Where does it come from? Where does go? And is it true that all Habsbergs are into bread or not?


This is a very good and important question. I'm thankful that you make it. There was an article in The Economist about two years ago about that that led to all inbreeding jokes on my Twitter account, as you can imagine. So first of all, yes, it is true, the Habsbergs did marry dozens of times between the Austrian and the Spanish branch between the 16th and the 17th century. Yes, that's true. And yes, that led to genetic kinetic mutations and deformations in the later Habsbourg and the Spanish branch. However, it's very important to realize that the Habsbourg jaw that looks spectacular, it's the lower mandible standing out very strongly, doesn't come from the inbreeding. There's a famous joke, the French Diplomate Reports home saying that Charles IV played tennis. It was at the time, and it rained, and the drops came into his mouth, and he complained to his teacher that the drops came into his mouth, and the teacher told him, Well, then close the mouth, which solves the problem for him. Very ironically, he writes all of that. So they had a very strong, forward-jutting, lower jaw. But that happened before the Spanish branch even existed.


That happened in the generation above Maximilian, and nobody married any Habsbourg then at that time. It came from Zimburga, who was his, I think, Polish grandmother. And I suppose it was probably Probably made more prominent, perhaps, by the inbreeding, but it doesn't come from the famous Habsbourg inbreeding. Another point I make in my book, too, is that among those 74 marriages, I think it was 74 altogether over 100 in 50 years between Vienna and Madrid, nearly all of them were very happy marriages, not because they were cousins, but because they had the same set of values, the same faith, the same ideas about marriage, about family, They had the same sense of humor. They lived in a very similar culture world. And so they married someone they never met, but they met somebody who came from a world they could understand.


To be fair, Edward, we've talked before in the podcast about a very different family who are famous interbreeding, which is the Tolemies, the descendants of Tolemies, Alexander the Great's friend and captain who take over Egypt. And they married each other and then had the most hideous family feuds and always murdering each other and plotting and stuff. And the Habsbourg never really seemed to have done that, actually. When you look at the history, families who dominate history are often famous because they all hate each other. But the Habsbourg are quite unusual, and they do seem to have rubbed along pretty well. You think, I mean, I'm not just making another play for the golden fleece.


I think I'm well ahead of you there.


There are remarkably few coups in palace, plots, conspiracies, all these kinds of things. So is there a genuine esprit de corps, do you think, among the Habsbourg at their peak in, I don't know, the 18th or 17th century or whatever.


Dominic Flattery will get you anywhere.




But you will remember that I complimented your chin. Yes. If you're deciding which of us is to join the Order of the Golden Fleece, just remind you of that.


So I think there's two reasons why the Habsburgs are an awfully nice family without backstabbing murder and horrible things. One of them is that from the beginning, they had to look after an incredibly complex set of countries, had to be very diplomatic, and couldn't afford power games, violence. There were a few moments where family inside intrigues in the Habsburg family in the early times. But apart from that, they were always, you're absolutely right, a very esprit de corps, and they were all Catholic.


Right. So this is your second rule, isn't it? Yes. Your second rule is be a Catholic. Dominic pulling a very Protestant face of that. So could you just talk through that? Why you think that's significant for the success of the Habsbergs over the sweep of history?


I I think that the Habsbergs saw their job being Emperor or being Archdechers married out somewhere as part of their vocation as Catholic and as Christians, and as something they would one day have to render accountability to God in the last judgment. Nowadays, we're used to cultural Catholic or Salon Catholic or Catholic by baptism. But you were a serious Catholic in the 15, 16, 17, 18th century. Well, 18th century, you had the Enlightenment. Things got a bit different. But the faith was something that shaped your every decision. And you thought twice about doing something nasty because you knew that you could, of course, go to confession. But in the end, God would ask you, you were Emperor over your people. Did you do this right? And this was a serious matter. So the Habsbourg took their faith very serious. You could even say a joke like, Are the Habsbourg Catholic? It's almost like, Is the Pope Catholic? They were always Catholic. Catholic, and they still are, I may add, our like 4-500 family members that still hang around. Most of us are active Catholics, devout Catholics. We still have lots of children. So it's something that shaped our family a lot.


And yes, I believe that it led to the harmonious parts of our family history.


Could I just ask about one very celebrated Habsberg who seems not to have been perhaps as Orthodox in his Catholicism as he might have been, and that is Rudolf II. He's based in Prague, isn't he? Towards the end of the 16th century, and he's a great enthusiast for alchemy and secret rites and all kinds of things like that.


He refused the sacrament on his deathbed, didn't he? He had no time for all this. Carry on.


He and his father both did that. Very, very dark moment in our family history.


So they're the dark sheep.


In a way, they are. In a way, they are. I regularly pray for them. On the other hand, it was difficult to be a Holy Roman Emperor in a moment where Where Protestantism and the Reformation broke into the German lands. And I mean, the Holy Roman Empire was mostly centered around the German-speaking lands, and half of your princes suddenly were Protestant, and you somehow had to come to grips with that and somehow had to live with that situation. People like later Ferdinand II, they stood strong and even too strong. I mean, people hated them.


Yeah, I was going to say Ferdinand II. I mean, he's ultra Catholic, isn't he? He's identified with the counter-reformation. He's one of the great protagonists of the the 30 Years War. But maybe, Edward, you will say I've been reading too much Protestant historiography, because in a lot of the histories of the 30 Years War, the implication is if he had been less Catholic, if he had been less insistent on orthodoxy and maybe more tolerant of the Protestant princes, the great blood bath of the 30 Years War might not have unfolded. Now, I know I'm talking myself out now of that honor, but I'm going to stick with it anyway. Keep going, Dominic.


Keep digging.


So What's your take on Ferdinand II? Because you did hint there that he might have been too Catholic.


I'm a diplomat, and my heart tells me he was a good Catholic Emperor. The diplomat in me sees that he could have achieved things like Kissinger says in his book on Diplomacy, where he says the absolute not understanding by Richelieu how Ferdinand could be so stupid not to make small steps to achieve something for Austria. The Catholic in me says, because Ferdinand remained firm, Austria is still Catholic. The diplomat in me says, well, he could have made some agreements, and perhaps we would have had less problems also with Prague and with Bohemia and with these parts of the event. So we don't know. It went the way it went. If you look at the history of Ferdinand II, the way he was raised, educated, shaped, the vows he made to keep Austria Catholic, he couldn't have gone any other way. In my book, I say, I think that he did the right thing. Of course, I do because I'm a Habsberg. But as I said, the diplomat in me understands your position. But we can rarely ask the question, what would have happened if it's not allowed to historians. We, for instance, could ask if Franz Ferdinand's car wouldn't have stopped and turned around at exactly that point where Gavrilo Princip, by coincidence, was walking after his first attempt.


Imagine, no first World War. Two years later, Emperor Franz Ferdinand, with a very balanced view of the Slavic people in his empire, no Germany humiliated by Versailles, no fertile ground for Hitler, no Second World War. Imagine, but you can't do that.


This is music to my ears. We should have done a deal and turned on the French. Edward, there's no doubt about that.


This is the shameless power play. That actually leads us on to the third point that you make, which is believe in empire and subsidiarity. Now, subsidiarity is a word that's very popular in the EU, isn't it? The idea that you seed power back to the various parts of the imperial entity. But enthusiasm for empire isn't something that you tend to get these days. So what's the justification for empire?


In my book, I speak about the difference between the empire in Star Wars and in Dune, in the Dune novels, and of course, in the movie, too. Our idea of empire is a ruthless power grab by one Emperor over many, many different countries that are all uniform places where armies enforce or Medians, and then a band of rebels, Luke, Skywalker, et cetera, fight against that. The Holy Roman Empire was very different. I think that's probably the central chapter in my book about subsidiarity is the Habsburg Empire only worked and only worked well when the lower levels, the single nations, the single peoples were respected by the Habsbergs. From the beginning, you have that in the 13th century, you have Charles IV writing this to his son as a rule, and you have it up to the very last moment.


I love the quote you give from Francis II, who was Emperor during Napoleonic Wars. A good empire is when all the nations within it are moderately discontented in the same way. Maybe that's the best that can be hoped for.


Yes. The interesting question is, what could be done better in the EU? And apart from, of course, that it would be easier if we had an Emperor.


You are ready to answer the call if required.


No, I'm probably the penultimate of all the Habsbourg. I would have to kill about 80 to 90 male Habsbergs to get to the drone, and I don't want to do that.


Well, Dominic could be your man there.


On the other hand, Tom, sometimes countries or other places called Minor Habsbergs to take over. Usually, it didn't go very well, if you remember.


Mexico, yeah.


Yes, exactly. Yeah. But subsidiarity is an important point, and it is written into the founding document of European Union in Article 5. And my country, Hungary, of course, where I'm ambassador for, very often feel stepped on their toes by Brussels and feel disrespected and feel Brussels interfering into our inner affairs. This is exactly what the Hungarian felt when the Habsbourg didn't do their subsidiality right. And the moment that the Habsbourg emperors respected the Hungarian diet, the Hungarian parliament, their legal structures, their language, and all that, everything went well in the empire.


But so, Edward, the counter argument might be, this is obviously, we can't get too deep into the historography of the Habsbourg Empire, but there has always been this argument among historians that the surging passions of nationalism, the sense that as the 19th century continues, the strong sense of national identity in Hungary, in Croatia, in-Tunsylvania. Yeah, Pennsylvania, the Czech lands, and so on. The thing that you see in those books by... I mean, you see it to some extent in those books by Miklosh Banffy, those brilliant books about life in Hungary and Transylvania at the end of the Empire, the sense that the idea of dynastic loyalty is actually just being completely corroded by the new power of nationalism. Does that suggest that the end of the Empire was always coming? Or to go back to your previous thing, do you think that business about Franz Ferdinand and the United States of Austria that he dreamed of, do you think that was really realistic?


First of all, I agree, Dominic, that you have a very strong argument. If you look at what happened in 1848, 1848, you made two brilliant episodes about 1848, was the moment where at the beginning, Franz Joseph was ready to give concessions to Hungary and the others to get peace, then realized that this would blow the empire apart and then installed a reign of terror for about 10 years, at least, to keep everything together. I believe that after 1867, with the Ausgleich between Austria and Hungary, and with the perspective of Franz Ferdinand becoming Emperor.


That, for our listeners, is the bit where the empire is divided in two, isn't it? They're between an empire of Austria and a Kingdom of Hungary. He's now the King and Emperor, and the Hungarian run their own business.


What you call the Kaukha Imperial and Royal Monarchy, the Emperor only being king in Hungary and Emperor in Austria, and Hungary getting a lot of rights, their own rights and being respected very strongly. And of course, all the Slavic people felt left out by that. They more or less had the Germans and the Hungarian separated the world among themselves. What about us?


And of course, an improbable enthusiast for this model, provided by the Habsberg monarchy, is Arthur Griffith, the leader of Sinn Féin in the years before the Easter Rising. So if Sinn Féin can be fans of Habsbourg, who can't? So the fourth point you make is stand for law and justice and your subjects. And the great exemplar of that that you offer is your great, great, great grandfather, Archduke Joseph, the Palatine of Hungary, who lived between 1776 and 1847. What is it about him that you see as being exemplary for people?


Well, he and his about 10 brothers were raised in the spirit of enlightenment. They knew that their job, wherever they were going to be sent, was to bring that country firmly into the 19th century, do everything to better the life of their subjects, and to work tirelessly obviously for that. It's the counterargument to the idea of the cackling evil ruler that we have nowadays. When he arrived in Hungary in the 1790s as Palatine for the Emperor, he fell in love with that country, with the language with their culture. And he went native. Our family branch remained in Hungary until the Second World War. We became that much Hungarian. And he did the difficult job of negotiating between the Hungarian leadership and the Emperor. And he founded the Academy of Sciences. He founded the first fire department there. He did everything to bring the country firmly into the present and help Hungary. So he and his brothers are in the spirit of enlightenment, trying to be there for their subjects, trying to help them. And I think this is something that I see over the centuries in most Habsbourg. But of course, after enlightenment, even stronger up to the end, Habsbourg always saw themselves really as servants to their subjects.


It sounds a bit idealistic, but it was real.


Could I, just to play devil's advocate, offer two counter examples, both from the 16th century, the first being the conquest of America and the lands in America that become subject to Habsbourg rule, and the second also in the 16th and going into the 17th century is what happens in the Netherlands, where there is a massive revolt against Habsberg rule. Where the Habsberg is falling down there, are they getting it right there or not?


Tom, you may notice that these two examples barely make I took it into my book. Yeah, we did notice that. Perhaps there's a reason for that.


I had noticed. Indeed, I think they're not mentioned at all.


I would say we were learning. We were learning.


Okay, that's a very fair answer. Yeah.


I think that's what comes on. That's a tremendous consolation to the people of Peru.


And indeed, the Netherlands. Okay, so number five is know who you are. And this introduces what I think is absolutely my favorite detail of Habsbourg history, which is that your title Archduke actually comes from the Emperor Nero, which I hadn't realized at all.


Well, the Habsbourg were sitting in Vienna. They were brooding because they were neither prince, elector, nor emperors anymore. So the Habsbourg tried to build up the family image, and they discovered some documents in a style, if you read them in Latin, that sounds like you and me trying to write a document in Latin during school. One is a letter by Caesar about his uncle, the duks of Komes Austria, and how important it is that everyone should obey to him. And the other one is a document by Nero. And all the titles are wrong when you read it. It's so ridiculous. We found those things in our documents. There was the same time where we found very old family trees going back to biblical times.


Brilliant. Yeah. You've got a family tree going back to Noah.


Is that correct? Yes. To Noah, of course, which makes sense because Adam and Eve doesn't really make sense because everybody descends from Adam and Eve. But Noah is pretty good as an ancestor.


Definitely. This rule is called know who you are. You talked about discovering these documents. Of course, if I was being harsh, I might say, make up who you are, and that these documents were forgery. Now, I know you will think this is Protestant skepticism run riots, but it's perhaps one of the great lessons of Habsbourg history, be the master of the narrative, invent your own mythology.


Dominic, I have to be very serious. These documents have been accepted by an Emperor to be genuine.


No matter that the Emperor was a Habsberg, they were accepted by an Emperor.


Therefore, they have legal value, and therefore, we are Archduks. That's the first thing. The second thing is, yes, indeed, after writing that chapter, I'm not totally adverse to people designing their own vision of who they are if it encourages them to good things. Then you can build a bit your own mythology. I don't have a problem with that.


No, that's excellent. You've correctly put Dominic in his place. I wish more guests were robust with Dominic in that way. Number six is be brave in battle.


You never spoke about the golden fleece, Tom. You never spoke about the golden fleece.


Well, I think we could maybe talk about that when the show has ended and people aren't listening in. Discreet discussion about it.


You and me, Tom. You and me, Tom. Dominic is out now. Clearly.


Number six is be brave in battle. The example you cite is Archduke Charles, son of Leopold II, at the Battle of Aspern in 1809, which is basically Napoleon gets defeated, unheard of. So this is a great victory for the Austrians.


Whenever I write a tweet about that, everybody always says, Well, but you won the next battle, and don't make such a big show out of Aspern. But that's definitely not true. It's not just wishful thinking. It was a thunder that went through all of Europe. It was unthinkable It was remarkable for Napoleon to lose in a land battle. And why I use this image is also because Archduke Charles really was brave. He was incredibly brave in that battle. It was a very hard, very tough battle. It wasn't an easy victory. And it was the first time Napoleon was defeated. That really sent a message, he can be defeated. And it was that moment that his star began to lose his shining, I think.


And just on you mentioning Charles' bravery. So to give the listeners a sense, It's 1809. They're crossing a river, aren't they? It's a battle over a river crossing. The French look like they're going to win. I mean, there is a colossal numbers of solftions the way with these great land battles in Central Europe. French end up losing 20,000 men. But at the key moment, Charles leads a countercharge with the reserves. He's on a white horse. He's got a flag in his hand. It's very stirring stuff. Yeah, brilliant. Isn't there a statue of him, isn't there? In the center, in the Heldenplatz? Yes. The center of Vienna with his flag on his horse.


Yes, that exact moment.


It is a very It was an exciting moment. Yeah. Although, as you said, the French did win the next battle.


Of course. And then, Karl had to step down from his post because he made a peace agreement with Napoleon without consulting the Emperor. So, yes, of course, they won the next battle. But it was possible to beat Napoleon. I won't let anybody take that away from me.


Okay, very good. Very strong.


We'll put that in the ledger. The seventh and final rule is die well.


Yes. I think we should all think a bit more about death. It gives your life perspective. It lets you question whether anything you're doing is really important. And of course, as a Catholic, I know that the moment of my death, besides also, among other things, about the way I will spend eternity, the Habsbourg were very aware of that. I'm just trying to bring that point home. And I've seen this put in practice because I was present at the funeral of Emperies Zita when she died, and of Otto von Habsberg, where they both times did this famous Habsbourg knocking ritual.


You have a lovely description of that in your book. So this is at the Cappuccino crypt in Vienna, in the Neuermarkt, in the center of the city. So tell us about the knocking ritual. What happens?


The knocking ritual, first of all, you can watch it on YouTube. There are videos, both of Zita's and of Otto's funeral. And you arrive with a coffin at that church, which is on the Neumarkt. You knock at the door that leads down the stairs to the crypt. And then you have a voice from inside, a Capucin, who guard, of course, the bodies of the Habsbourg the crypt, asks who is there. And then the mast of ceremony reads out the titles of the Emperor, just as you did at the beginning of the show. And the voice answers, We don't know him. And then they knock again, and they read out all the achievements the Emperor has done in his life. And again, the voice answers, We don't know him. And the third knock comes, Who is there? And then they would say, Zita, a poor, sinful woman. And then the door opens. And that is the Habsbourg to its death in a nutshell. I give a few very nice examples, a few grandiose one with Emperor Maximilian, the way he disposed his body to be treated.


That's an amazing story. He demanded that all his teeth be taken out, his hair cut off, and then his thought he was to be whipped and covered with lime and ash. What's all that about? Or is that perfectly reasonable in your way of thinking?


We all do that. No. I think it was, as I told you, the Habsbooks were very aware that their life was being seen for many people as an example, like a sermon. So with every gesture around his funeral, he wanted to encourage people to die like a good Christian. And this was a sign of humility. I was the Emperor, but I'm only a poor sinner, probably in purgatory for what I did in my life. And he wanted to make that visible. The other thing that he did was the way he was buried in the steps under the altar in Wienerneustadt, which I saw for the first time last year, which is you have steps leading up to the altar. And in the second step, there's just the word Maximilian. There is no huge sarcophage. There is no images. It's just his name. And he wanted to be buried under the altar. So the priest would say mass above his chest and pray for him.


And probably the most famous Habsbourg death of all is the youngest daughter of Maria Teresa, Maria Antonia, but better known as Marie-Antoinette.


Wow. That's such a story. And I didn't discover it in a Habsbourg book, but I discovered it in the extremely readable autobiography of the executioner of Paris, Charles-Henri Samson, who was there during the Terreur. By the way, a book everybody should read. It's incredible. He was on the little cart rumbling to her execution, and she was very unhappy and nervous, looking around all the time at the houses around, and he didn't understand why. And then she passed one house, and her face lit up, and from then on, she was in peace. She went to her execution in total absolute peace. And afterwards, after the revolution, he drove back to the house. He looked at the house, what is this house? He didn't find anything. And then after the revolution, he spoke with underground Catalogs who told him the real story. She wasn't allowed to go to confession before her death, which for a Habsberg and for a Catholic is a horrible thing because you have to carry all the weight of your sins without being sure that they have been forgiven. So So she had been told that a bishop would be standing at one of the houses and the window and give her the absolution in extremis from that window.


Of course, if the bishop would have been caught, he would immediately have been killed. It was forbidden for a Catholic bishop to be present even in Paris. And when she saw that bishop giving her the absolution, she knew it was good. She was going to death in peace with God. That's very typical for a Habsberg. And many Americans say on Twitter, I didn't know Marie-Antoinette was a Habsbourg. So Yeah, there you have another one of those stories.


Oh, very moving, very moving note on which to end, I think. So, Tom, are you convinced by the seven rules? Are you going to live your own life in accordance with those Habsberg edicts?


Well, I think that when I become a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece, I will have no choice but to.


Well, what I haven't told you is that I actually have another Habsberg friend. So my friend Max von Habsberg, who is a listener to the Restes History. As you will know, Edward, he is a history teacher based in Oxford. So he is my ticket to the top.


So I think that we will be hitching ourselves to rival Habsberg.




And the conflict will put the 30 years war into the shade.


People sometimes say to me, do you think the rest of this history will ever end? That's how it will end. It's a scene of Habsberg Civil War. Brilliant. Edward, thank you so much for coming on the show. Your book is The Habsberg Way: Seven Rules for Turbulent Times. And I know you're too diplomatic to answer this question fully, but there must be a bit of you that thinks Europe's not in a brilliant place at the moment. Do you think maybe the return of the double-headed eagle might just be what Europe needs?


If we're ever needed, we're around. In the meanwhile, we're on Twitter.


Very good.


That's the perfect note on which to end. Thanks so much, Edwin. Thank you, everyone, for listening. And we will be back very soon.


Bye-bye. Bye-bye.


Goodbye. Thank you for having me on the show.


Tom, I've just learned some absolutely extraordinary and exciting news. And anybody who's a history lover, anybody who, like me, loves spending their summer at festivals, will delight and rejoice at this news, won't they?


They absolutely will. And the news is that in June, it is the Chalk History Festival in Broadchalk, in the Chalk Valley, the very village in which I grew up. My brother James and I, we talked about this the other day on a Restless History bonus episode. But for all of you who didn't hear that, I can't recommend the Festival enough. There's an unbelievable array of talks from top historians and others beside, plus a mass of other things to see and do, live music every day, living history, performances, and of course, lots of food, drink, camping, all historically themed, and an absolutely stunning setting.


It's an amazing setting, Tom, and it's a real highlight of my year. I've had it inked into my diary for months, really looking forward to it. And the The highlight of the week, I have to say, has to be our special live performance of The Rest is History, which we will be doing on the Tuesday, weren't we? Tuesday, the 25th of June.


Yeah, so that's the day you'll be there, Dominic. I know you've got to head off after that, but I will be still there doing a host of other things, and basically, I'll be there for most of the week. So please do join us. Tickets are on sale now, and you can get them at www. Chalkfestival. Com. And that's C-H-A-L-K-E. So chalk with an E on it, festival. Com. It'd be wonderful to see you there.