Zita of Bourbon-Parma

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Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma (Zita Maria delle Grazie Adelgonda Micaela Raffaela Gabriella Giuseppina Antonia Luisa Agnese; 9 May 1892 – 14 March 1989) was the wife of Emperor Charles of Austria. As such, she was the last Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary, and Queen of Bohemia.

Born as the seventeenth child of the dispossessed Robert I, Duke of Parma and his second wife Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal, Zita married the then Archduke Charles of Austria in 1911. Charles became heir presumptive to the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria in 1914 after the assassination of his uncle Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and acceded to the throne in 1916 after the old emperor's death.

After the end of World War I in 1918, the Habsburgs were deposed when the new countries of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs were formed. Charles and Zita left for exile in Switzerland, and later Madeira where Charles died in 1922. After her husband's death, Zita and her son Otto served as the symbols of unity for the exiled dynasty. A devout Catholic, she raised a large family after being widowed at the age of 29, and remained faithful to the memory of her husband for the rest of her long life.


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