The story of the last Emperor and Empress of Austria-Hungary is a romantic tale of courage and faith.
Blessed Charles of Austria was the last Habsburg ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, beatified in 2004 by Pope John Paul II. The late Pope was himself formerly bishop in the once Habsburg-ruled city of Cracow, and his baptismal name “Karol” (meaning Charles) was given in memory of the late Emperor under whom his father had served as an officer in the Imperial army.
Married to Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, Charles inherited the throne of Austria-Hungary in 1916, at the height of the First World War, upon the death of his uncle the Emperor Franz Josef. His dedicated efforts to end the war earned him the popular name “The Peace-Emperor” but led him to an idealistic struggle in the face of impossible odds and an early death in exile on the island of Madeira, after two attempts to regain the Hungarian throne.
This book tells of these events, set in the context of the wider drama of the twentieth century, showing how a great and historically peaceful empire was destroyed by nationalist intrigue, leaving the way free for the totalitarian powers that came afterwards, until their respective falls in 1945 and 1989.