Friday, November 4, 2011

Karl sent into exile

November 4, 1921

Former Austrian Emperor Karl is now on a British ship, "an exile from his country to an island in the Atlantic," reports the New York Times.   The Portuguese government has told the Allies that Karl can live "under guard" on the island of Madeira.  The "conditions of his guardianship" are now being arranged.

Karl is accompanied by his wife, Zita, who is pregnant with another child, to the Riverside station at Baia.  They arrived late.  Some "peasants had waited all night to offer flowers," which Zita was allowed to accept.   Zita entered the boat first, followed by her husband, dressed in a fur coast "against the cold of the early morning.  The chauffeur, who drove the couple to the station, paid tribute to the former emperor: "Whatever people say, he's a very pleasant gentleman."

Archbishop Scioppa spent a few minutes alone with Karl on board the ship, and made "a last attempt to persuade the King to abdicate."  But Karl said: "I see no reason why I should abdicate as I am being exiled.  As for my country, there is no reason, either, in such action on my part, as it is being ordered to proclaim not only my deposition, but the proscription of my family."

As the Glowworm pulled out of the harbor, Karl came out one last time to take have a final look at the country and "to say farewell to those who had come to see him leave it."  Before they left, both Karl and Zita asked the French officers, who were guarding them, "whether it was true that the great powers had demanded their deposition."   Zita "wept with disappointment" when she was told it was true.  

"What is to be come of my children?" she asked.

The family will have little money to live on, even in "comparatively cheap" Madeira.  Karl has left "enormous debts in Switzerland," and has already sold "most of the family jewels in his possession."

The children and a small staff remain in Switzerland, but arrangements are being made for "their removal to Luxembourg" until they can "join the exiles in Madeira."

As the former imperial couple were being taken into exile, the Hungarian National Assembly passed "two readings of the bill" that calls for the dethroning of former Emperor Karl.  A third reading takes place on Sunday, which will be followed by the expected passage of the legislation.

No comments: