Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen

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Archduke Friedrich
Armee-Oberkommandant Feldmarschall Erzherzog Friedrich 1916 Ernst Förster.png
Supreme Commander of the Imperial and Royal Armed Forces
In office
1914 – 2 December 1916
PredecessorFranz Joseph I
SuccessorCharles I
Duke of Teschen
PredecessorArchduke Albrecht
Born(1856-06-04)4 June 1856
Gross-Seelowitz, Moravia
Died30 December 1936(1936-12-30) (aged 80)
Magyaróvár, Hungary
SpousePrincess Isabella of Croÿ
(m. 1878–1931; her death)
IssueMaria Christina, Hereditary Princess of Salm-Salm
Maria Anna, Princess Elias of Bourbon-Parma
Maria Henrietta, Princess Gottfried of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
Archduchess Natalie
Archduchess Stephanie
Archduchess Gabriele
Isabella, Princess Georg of Bavaria
Maria Alice, Baroness Friedrich Waldbott von Bassenheim
Archduke Albrecht Franz, Duke of Teschen
FatherArchduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria
MotherArchduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen (Friedrich Maria Albrecht Wilhelm Karl; 4 June 1856 – 30 December 1936) was a member of the House of Habsburg and the Supreme Commander of the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I.

Early life[edit]

Friedrich was born at the castle Gross-Seelowitz (now Židlochovice, near Brno in Moravia) the son of Karl Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria.

His siblings included Queen Maria Cristina of Spain, Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria, a candidate for the Kingdom of Poland, and Archduke Eugen of Austria, an Austrian officer.

When Friedrich's uncle Archduke Albert, Duke of Teschen died in 1895, he and his brothers each inherited large estates. Friedrich owned properties at Ungarisch-Altenburg (now Mosonmagyaróvár in Hungary), Belleje, Saybusch (now Żywiec in Poland), Seelowitz (now Židlochovice) and Frýdek in the Czech Republic, and Pressburg (now Bratislava in Slovakia). His Vienna residence, the Palais-Albrecht, housed the Albertina art collection which he owned.


On 8 October 1878 Friedrich married at Château L'Hermitage in Belgium, Princess Isabella of Croÿ (1856–1931), daughter of Rudolf, Duke of Croÿ, and his wife Princess Natalie of Ligne. They had nine children together.

  • Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria-Teschen (17 November 1879-6 August 1962) she married Prince Manuel of Salm-Salm on 10 May 1902. They have four children.
  • Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria-Teschen (6 January 1882-25 February 1940) she married Elias, Duke of Parma on 25 May 1903. They have eight children.
  • Archduchess Maria Henrietta of Austria-Teschen (10 January 1883-2 September 1956) she married Prince Gottfried of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingfurst on 3 June 1908. They have three children.
  • Archduchess Natalie of Austria-Teschen (12 January 1884-23 March 1898)
  • Archduchess Stephanie of Austria-Teschen (1 May 1886-25 August 1890)
  • Archduchess Gabriele of Austria-Teschen (14 September 1887-15 November 1954)
  • Archduchess Isabella of Austria-Teschen (17 November 1888-6 December 1973)she married Prince Georg of Bavaria on 10 February 1912.
  • Archduchess Maria Alice of Austria-Teschen (15 January 1893-1 July 1962) she married Friedrich Heinrich Carl Maria Baron Waldbott von Bassenheim, son of Friedrich Lothar Baron Waldbott von Bassenheim and Hedwig Baronin von Beust, on 8 May 1920. They have six children.
  • Albrecht Franz, Duke of Teschen (24 July 1897-23 July 1955) he married Irene Lelbach on 16 August 1930 and they were divorced on 1 June 1937. He remarried Katalin Bocskay de Felsö-Banya on 9 May 1938 and they were divorced in 1951. They have two daughters. He remarried, again, Lydia Strauss-Dorner after 1951. They have one son.

Military career[edit]

Like most of the princes of the ruling house, Friedrich adopted a military career, and served creditably for many years as commandant of the V. (Pressburg) Corps. Subsequently, commander-in-chief of the Austrian Landwehr (militia) and army inspector, he became, after the murder of the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, inspector-general of the Austro-Hungarian Army.[1]

In World War I, he was —from the dynastic point of view —as grandson of the victor of Aspern, Archduke Charles, and as nephew of the victor of Custoza, Archduke Albert, the predestined head of the armed forces of Austria-Hungary; and on 11 July 1914 Friedrich was appointed supreme commander of the Austro-Hungarian Army by Emperor Franz Joseph I. He thought it his duty to accept this heavy responsibility, but, modestly underestimating his own powers, left the actual exercise of the command to his chief-of-staff, Franz Graf Conrad von Hötzendorf. In the performance of ceremonial duties, and as mediator for the settlement of the conflicting demands of the military, civil and allied elements, his services were undeniable.[1] He was promoted to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall on 8 December 1914. In February 1917 Emperor Charles himself took over the supreme command; the Archduke, although the Emperor's representative, no longer appeared in the foreground.

Retirement and death[edit]

After World War I the governments of Austria and Czechoslovakia confiscated all of Friedrich's properties within their borders. These included his palace in Vienna and his art collection. He retained his properties in Hungary however. In 1929 he won a court case requiring compensation from the Czechoslovak government.[2]

Friedrich died at Ungarisch-Altenburg (Magyaróvár, now Mosonmagyaróvár) in 1936. His death was the biggest royal event for Hungary since the coronation of King Karl in 1916. The funeral and burial in the Pfarrkirche in Mosonmagyaróvár was attended by his nephew, the exiled King of Spain; by numerous archdukes; by all the surviving Austro-Hungarian field marshals; by personal representatives of Hitler; by members of the House of Savoy; by the diplomatic corps; by a son of exiled German Kaiser Wilhelm; by representatives of the governments of Germany, Italy and Austria, and by Hungary's Regent, Miklós Horthy and his wife. There were members of the Hungarian government and delegates of the German and Austrian in attendance as well. Entire battalions of the Royal Hungarian Army were present to pay their last respects to their former Supreme Commander.

Decorations and awards[edit]

Friedrich received the following decorations and awards:[3][4]

National orders and decorations
Foreign orders and decorations



  1. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Frederick, Archduke of Austria". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company.
  2. ^ "Papa Friedrich Preferred", Time Magazine (18 February 1929)
  3. ^ "Archduke Friedrich". Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  4. ^ Hof- und Staatshandbuch der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie (1918), Genealogy p. 11
  5. ^ Jørgen Pedersen (2009). Riddere af Elefantordenen, 1559–2009 (in Danish). Syddansk Universitetsforlag. p. 472. ISBN 978-87-7674-434-2.
  6. ^ "Real y distinguida orden de Carlos III". Guía Oficial de España (in Spanish). 1918. p. 210. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  7. ^ Shaw, Wm. A. (1906) The Knights of England, I, London, p. 204
  8. ^ Svensk rikskalender (in Swedish), 1909, p. 613, retrieved 6 January 2018 – via


External links[edit]

Media related to Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen at Wikimedia Commons

Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen
Born: 4 June 1856 Died: 30 December 1936
Titles of nobility
Preceded by
Archduke Albert
Duke of Teschen
Succeeded by
Archduke Albrecht Franz