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Obitury;Otto von Habsburg;


Archduke Otto von Habsburg, son of the last Austro-Hungarian emperor, died on July 4th, aged 98.


If only his great-uncle had died earlier. Franz Joseph I was a masterful ruler of the Austro-Hungarian empire, but his 86 years brought rigidity when the times called for reform. This doomed the noble legacy that his great-nephew (full name Franz Josef Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xavier Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius) could have inherited. He remembered the old man, as well as the coronation of his father Charles in December 1916. It was a short and gloomy reign, in a botched war that left Europe’s most successful multinational state, the 11-nation monarchy run from Vienna and Budapest, beyond saving. The four-year-old—first crown prince and then uncrowned pretender—served nine decades longer, with brains and charm.

要是他那个伟大的叔叔去的早点就好了。Franz Joseph I是奥匈帝国的一位优秀的统治者,只是当那个被称为改革的时代来临时,他86年岁月所带来的就只能算是顽固保守。这就注定他的侄子(全名Franz Josef Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xavier Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius)会继承这个“崇高”的使命。他记得叔叔,也记得父亲在1916年12月的加冕礼。那是一个短暂而阴暗的朝代,在那场你争我夺的战争里,欧洲最强盛的多民族政府,从Vienna到Budapest,横跨11个民族的君主制国家未能幸免于难。这位4岁被加冕,之后就无缘皇冠的皇储,以他的智慧和人格魅力生活了九十多年。

Not that people were grateful, especially at first. A gallant British officer helped the royals escape from Austria, a turbulent and shrunken republic with no taste for the finery of the past. The other realm, Hungary, was nominally a monarchy but run by a regent (who, absurdly in a land-locked country, was styled admiral). Exiled in Spain at a threadbare and tiny court, the young Otto was schooled for the empty throne: he was fluent in Croatian, English, French, German, Hungarian and Spanish. And Latin, too—he was perhaps the last politician in Europe able to conduct business in that language.


In 1922 he became the head of the House of Habsburg: “Your Majesty” to legitimists, and by the Grace of God “Emperor of Austria; King of Hungary and Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia and Lodomeria; King of Jerusalem, etc; Archduke of Austria; Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow; Duke of Lorraine, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and Bukowina; Grand Prince of Transylvania; Margrave of Moravia; Duke of Silesia, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Guastalla, Auschwitz and Zator, Teschen, Friaul, Dubrovnik and Zadar; Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, of Kyburg, Gorizia and Gradisca; Prince of Trento and Brixen; Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia”. His other titles were more minor.

1922年他成为了Habsburg家族的掌门人:正统王朝派的“陛下”,受上帝保佑的“奥地利的皇帝;匈牙利,波西米亚,达尔玛提亚,克罗地亚,撕拉沃尼亚,加利西亚,罗的梅里亚,耶路撒冷的国王等;奥地利大公;托斯卡纳及克拉科大公;洛林,萨尔茨堡,萨利亚,克恩腾,卡尼奥拉及布科维纳公爵;特兰西瓦尼亚大公;摩拉维亚伯爵;西里西亚,摩德纳,帕尔马,皮亚琴察,Guastalla,奥斯维辛及Zator, Teschen,Friaul,拉古扎和萨拉的公爵;哈普斯堡及蒂罗尔,Kyburg,Gorizia及 Gradisca皇室;特兰托及Brixen王子;上、下卢萨蒂亚伯爵”。还有其他级别更低的头衔。

The Nazis sought his help, hoping for some stardust from a real ex-empire to give lustre to their gimcrack one. But the prince detested them, having slogged his way through “Mein Kampf”. As a student in Berlin, he irked Hitler by refusing to meet him. In 1938, as Austria’s leaders quailed before the Anschluss, the Habsburgs’ scion offered to return and rally resistance. Luckily, he didn’t get there. The Nazis ordered him to be shot on sight.


At Roosevelt’s invitation he spent the war years in America, where he plotted vainly to get Hungary to dump the Nazis, and more successfully to help Austria shed its image as Hitler’s poodle. But post-war Austria stayed nervy and vengeful, declaring him an “enemy of the republic”. He could visit only in 1966, five years after reluctantly renouncing his claim to the throne, becoming—there and there only—humble Mr Habsburg-Lothringen. He found his compatriots’ post-imperial neuroses a tempting target for his jokes. Told of an Austria-Hungary football match, he asked impishly: “Who are we playing?”


Exiled monarchs mostly find it hard to keep their dignity: absurdity, and a court full of creeps and fantasists, are never far away. That was not the Habsburg style: his family maintained cordial relations with Europe’s other émigré royals, but his business was more serious. First he had to restore the family fortune on the lecture circuit, which well rewarded his erudition and wit. He brought up seven children (five glamorous daughters, then two much-awaited sons) with his wife Princess Regina at a lakeside villa in Bavaria. Real politics followed: “opium”, as he fondly called it. He became a member of the European Parliament in 1979 when that body was just a talking shop, seeing it as a harbinger of bigger things to come.


A family history going back to the eighth century helped him see the continent’s destiny in grand terms, with the European Union a wider and better version of the Holy Roman Empire (his family had headed that lamented outfit until history caught up with it in 1806). He was no fan of the Brussels bureaucracy, but promoted the integration his name epitomised: common culture, open borders and, above all, no more wars. Only the meanest Austrians remained uncharmed.


Putting the clock back


His glory days came late, in 1989, when what had seemed a sentimental preoccupation with Mitteleuropa—merely a meteorological term, cynics sniffed—was suddenly practical politics. A lifetime foe of the communist usurpers in eastern Europe, he plotted with reformist politicians in Budapest to stage a symbolic cross-border Austro-Hungarian picnic in the summer of 1989, breaching the Iron Curtain for ever. Once drenched with blood and tears, the division of Europe was washed away with tea and lemonade. Some of his fans wished he had run as the first president of a free Hungary, providing a way back from the disastrous turning taken 70 years before. Sadly, his modesty prevailed. He concentrated instead on lobbying for speedy and generous expansion of the EU to the east, most recently Croatia.


He died a happy man, right about almost everything, if usually too early.


重点单词   查看全部解释    
modesty ['mɔdisti]


n. 谦逊,虚心,端庄,朴实,中肯

glory ['glɔ:ri]


n. 光荣,荣誉,壮丽,赞颂
vi. 为 ..

harbinger ['hɑ:bindʒə]


n. 先驱,预兆

reform [ri'fɔ:m]


v. 改革,改造,革新
n. 改革,改良

gloomy ['glu:mi]


adj. 阴暗的,抑沉的,忧闷的

expansion [iks'pænʃən]


n. 扩大,膨胀,扩充

bureaucracy [bjuə'rɔkrəsi]


n. 官僚制度,官僚主义

erudition [.eru'diʃən]


n. 博学

charm [tʃɑ:m]


n. 魅力,迷人,吸引力,美貌
v. (使)陶

restore [ri'stɔ:]


vt. 恢复,修复,使复原


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