Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Archduke Rainer is dead

January 27, 1913

Archduke Rainer of Austria died today in Vienna. He was 86-years-old. The archduke was a second cousin of Emperor Franz Josef, and a brother-in-law of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. He was born in Milan on January 11, 1827, the son of Archduke Rainer and Princess Elisabetta of Savoy. In February 1852, he married Archduchess Marie Caroline of Austria. Last year, they celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

Although known primarily as a soldier, Archduke Rainer was also interested in science and art. He created the "the magnificent science and art museums" in Vienna. He also organized and promoted international exhibitions in Vienna and at the Prater in 1873 and 1889, respectively. "The scientific world owes to him the possession of a rare collection of papyrus records and Egyptian manuscripts," which includes manuscripts of the Gospel, dating before the 5th century. This collection is now housed in the library at Alexandria, Egypt.

Archduke Rainer and Archduchess Marie Caroline "were among the richest members of the House of Habsburg," and next to the Emperor, "were the most popular." The couple did not have any children, but they had adopted their niece, Countess Maria Rainiera, who is the wife of Enrico, Prince of Campofranco.
Maria Rainiera is the daughter of Rainer's youngest brother, Archduke Heinrich, who in 1868 contracted a morganatic marriage with Leopoldine Hofman. Ten years later, Leopoldine was created Baroness von Waideck. Maria Rainiera was also known by this title until the time of her marriage in 1892, when she was created Countess von Waideck.

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