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Archduke Friedrich
Preceded by Archduke Albrecht
Personal details
Born (1856-06-04)4 June 1856
Gross-Seelowitz, Moravia
Died 30 December 1936(1936-12-30) (aged 80)
Magyaróvár, Hungary
Spouse(s) Princess Isabella of Croÿ
Religion Roman 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

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.

Amongst his siblings were Queen Maria Theresia of Bavaria, Queen Maria Cristina of Spain, Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria, and Archduke Eugen of Austria.

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.

  • Maria Christina, Archduchess of Austria-Teschen (1879–1962), married Prince Manuel of Salm-Salm
  • Maria Anna, Archduchess of Austria-Teschen (1882–1940), married Elias, Duke of Parma
  • Maria Henrietta, Archduchess of Austria-Teschen (1883–1956), married Prince Gottfried of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingfurst
  • Natalie Maria, Archduchess of Austria-Teschen (1884–1898)
  • Stephanie Maria Isabelle, Archduchess of Austria-Teschen (1886–1890)
  • Gabriele Maria Theresia, Archduchess of Austria-Teschen (1887–1954)
  • Isabella, Archduchess of Austria-Teschen (1887–1973), married Prince Georg of Bavaria
  • Maria Alice, Archduchess of Austria-Teschen (1893–1962), married Baron Friedrich Waldbott von Bassenheim
  • Albrecht Franz, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Teschen (1897–1955)

Military career

Friedrich's marshal's baton at the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum.

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 estimating 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 the spring of 1917 Emperor Charles himself took over the supreme command; the Archduke, although the Emperor's representative, no longer appeared in the foreground. Friedrich remained supreme commander until February 1917 when Emperor Charles I decided to take the office himself.

Retirement and death

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 Hungarian army were present to pay their last respects to their former Supreme Commander.


Decorations and awards

Austrian honours
Foreign honours


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1922). "Frederick, Archduke of Austria". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York. 
  2. "Papa Friedrich Preferred", Time Magazine ( 18 February 1929)


External links

Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen
House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Cadet branch of the House of Lorraine
Born: 4 June 1856 Died: 30 December 1936
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Archduke Albert
Duke of Teschen
Succeeded by
Monarchy abolished
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
Monarchy abolished
Duke of Teschen
Succeeded by
Archduke Albrecht Franz

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