Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Hereditary Prince Esterhazy von Galantha is engaged

Photo: Martin Jöchl/Kronen Zeitung

 Hereditary Prince Paul-Anton Nikolaus Maximilian  Esterházy von Galántha is engaged to marry Franziska Reutter.  The engagement took place earlier this month.

Paul-Antal is the only child of Anton  Rudolf Marie Georg Christoph Hubertus Johannes Karl Aglaë, the 13th Prince Esterházy von Galántha and his first wife, Ursula Koenig.  He was born in Munich on February 18, 1986.   

He attended boarding school in England and then studied business administration and international politics at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.  He also has a master's degree, focusing on Central Eastern Europe, from Oxford University.

 Paul Anton is the great-nephew of the 12th Prince, Pál Esterhazy von Galantha (1901-1989.) The family was major landowners in the Austro-Hungarian empire but the end of the first world war changed everything as Austria and Hungary became separate nations, thus leaving the Esterhazys with property in different countries.  

In 1938, Austria abolished fideicommiss, which had allowed family property and fortune to be kept in trusts, allowing the head of the family to maintain properties and provide allowances to other members of the house.  This change meant that Prince Paul received control of what was a large family fortune.

Unfortunately, for the family, there would be further changes that affected the family. After the Communists took over in Hungary, they implemented new land reforms, which included confiscating the properties of former princes and other noble families.  

The family lost everything in Hungary but continued to own property in Austria.  In 1945, Prince Paul was arrested and placed on trial, and sentenced to jail, where he spent 15 years in solitary confinement.  He was released in 1956 during the Hungarian uprising.  The prince and his wife, the former Melinda Ottrubay, whom he had married in 1946, fled Austria with the help of friends and settled in Zurich.

He died in 1989 and was succeeded by his nephew, Prince Anton (1936), but, tragically for the Esterhazy family, Paul left his entire fortune to his widow, Melinda, who died in 2014 at Schloss Esterhazy in Eisenstadt, Austria, which had been the primary residence of the Esterhazy family for more than 300 years.   She created several foundations including the Esterhazy Foundation.  

Melinda left the entire fortune to her nephew, Stefan Ottrubay (1954) who became the General Manager of the Esterhazy Foundation.   Neither Prince Anton nor his son, Paul Anton, are involved with the Esterhazy foundation.  They have filed several lawsuits to regain property, but Austrian courts have ruled in favor of the Esterhazy Foundation.

Neither Prince Anton nor his son, Paul-Anton were permitted to see Melinda in the final years of her life.

Prince Paul Anton's father, Prince Anton now lives in a stable at Eszterháza Palace in Fertőd, Hungary, where he is employed by the state, which owns the palace, to "play the Prince for tourists."

The 35-year-old prince has a strong interest in his family's history and is determined to regain their wealth and property.

 "That's my responsibility, and I do not expect any money – you always have to reinvest everything, especially now, but I really want to restore the old, positive Esterházy corporate culture."

Even if he can regain the Esterhazy properties, he has no plans to live at Schloss Esterházy in Eisenstadt.

"The castle is an outstanding cultural monument with a character that creates an identity for the region and it must remain a place of public life and culture." 

He preferred his life in Vienna.

Even after the issues with Stefan Ottrubay, Paul-Anton Esterházy sees a positive aspect. "Everyone in the country can finally tell the two families apart." 

In a January 2919 interview with the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, he was asked: Do you place no value on “Hereditary Prince” and “His Highness”?

"I have never held titles myself and live a completely normal life. Of course, these terms are still used. They are historical and come from times long past. However, this goes hand in hand with a close connection with the family history."

Is the name Esterházy an honor or a burden?

"It's a great gift. But especially about the situation in Burgenland, it is not easy to watch how strangers use the name Esterházy as a fig leaf for their purposes. All of this is diametrically opposed to the values ​​for which this family has always stood and still stands."

Mr. Esterházy, this week the 87-year-old mother of  Stefan Ottrubray was put in a limousine and brought to Tyrol. The police initially assumed a kidnapping. What's going on behind the scenes?

"I would like to start by saying that it is really annoying when the name Esterházy is associated with a purely internal Ottrubay family topic. And then it is also shocking that so many other people are drawn into this feud or whatever it may be in the Ottrubay family. Hundreds of police officers had to check cars all night in the freezing cold because of a false alarm. You have to shake your head. For me personally and for our family, to be honest, it is not particularly surprising what happened there."

How did you find out about this grotesque story?

My mother called me. She was just in her favorite chocolatier in Munich - as a good son I should actually know the name - and told me that she had just been approached by a lady. “Thank God, you weren't kidnapped at all!” Whereupon my mother said: “Yes, and unfortunately I'm not worth millions either.

As you can see: The Ottrubays are constantly being mistaken for us."

Was that imprisonment or just an old lady outing?

"It is of course difficult to say as an outsider. But how would you and how would I organize a family visit with my mother? You would meet for tea, then pack your suitcase, say goodbye, and leave as normal. But definitely not pushing a nurse away. You have to ask yourself: under what circumstances did your mother come to Eisenstadt from Switzerland if she was simply taken back with you in this - I would like to say unworthy - way?

Your statement was unmistakable: “We have completely different manners,” you said for the Esterházy family, “especially with elderly women.” What did that mean?

Those respectful manners are cultivated in our family. There is open communication, you visit each other and you travel together.

What do you think is behind it?

"I can only speak from my own experience. My great-aunt Melinda also lived in this place and in old age, she signed one highly complex foundation change after another, to the detriment of the Esterházy family, out of nowhere, for completely incomprehensible reasons, after we had been in excellent contact with Melinda for many years."

Why did your great-aunt sign all of this?

"At first, it was the Fürst Esterházy private foundation, which was in perfect harmony with the family. We were the beneficiaries there and controlled and monitored the foundation. Then Mr. Ottrubay succeeded in gaining control over the entire statutes through considerable feint. We were excluded from the benefits overnight."

How could he do that?

He left us no more opportunity to communicate with my very old great-aunt. The last time I tried to see her was in 2009. That was her 90th birthday. I drove to Eisenstadt, knowing that she lives in this house, a few stones throw away, where Mr. Ottrubay's mother was picked up on the same street and knocked there until her nurses took me in and took me to an adjoining room then was closed. I had to wait there until Dr. Ottrubay was spoken to and as a result, I was asked to leave. In retrospect, Dr. Ottrubay made it clear that he might as well have turned the police on me.

Have you written letters to your great-aunt?

Naturally. During the good times, Melinda answered them too. I used to visit her in Switzerland when I was a child. She played with me on the balcony and pushed me around on chairs with castors. I have fondest memories of that.

What happened to your letters?

I don't know. At the post box, the fate of a letter is no longer in our hands.

You have been a great opponent of Dr. Ottrubay. Do you feel comfortable in this role? 

"What does "opponent" mean? If you look at the family history, I am ultimately in the chain after my great-uncle, Prince Paul, and my father, the head of the family. It's a role you don't choose.

"This man is taking over a cultural asset and the first thing to do is to eradicate the existence of this family! 

How has he tried to "erase" existence?

 "One of his first official acts was to change the name of the Fürst Esterházy Family Private Foundation to FE Private Foundation. From the death of my great-uncle in 1989, it was always clear within the “domain” who would be the successor in the family tradition, and that was my father at the time, Prince Anton.

"Of course, this is very questionable if Dr. Ottrubay comes into this whole environment under unexplained circumstances and puts our family in front of the door." 

 Are you still in contact with Mr. Ottrubay?

If it is not necessary, there is no contact. We are civil on our side and that is also the style that we maintain. He just refused us the most normal form of politeness of shaking hands in court. But how could the relationship with a person who has been driving his own family into such bottlenecks for almost two decades?

You have to ask him that. Just this much: he is the sole ruler of a very special fortune. Will this dispute ever be settled? Or will you have to fight in court all your life?

"The courts must and will decide. In the meantime, I will represent and defend the values of the family and clear up misunderstandings. This is not an Esterházy scandal, this is an Ottrubay scandal. You are an investment manager. Would you like to manage the foundations yourself?>It would certainly be good and right if a family member were at the helm of these foundations. I also believe I have the skills to manage them conscientiously and sustainably following the values of the Esterházy family.

You were born in Bavaria and have lived in Vienna for four years. What does Burgenland mean to you?

"I feel very at home in Burgenland, it has only belonged to Austria for 100 years and no longer to Hungary. Our home in Bavaria also comes from the Esterházy surroundings of the former Austria-Hungary. In other words, this connection to Austria and Burgenland was born in my cradle."

"Which music touches you deeply?

"The symphony with the bang, of course. Haydn communicated with his patron and patron, Prince Esterházy, in a very special elegance. Haydn touches and accompanies me. Haydn even performed in my Oxford college before he received his honorary doctorate."\

Could a nobleman like you imagine marrying a commoner?"

Naturally. Where love falls.

@Stig Nielsen  The couple in 2019 at the marriage of  Otto, Prince of Castell-Rüdenhausen & Sophia Mautner von Markhof.  Her parents also attended the wedding.

The future Hereditary Princess studied Engineering at the Technical University in Munich before heading to the University of Edinburgh, where she received a Bachelor's degree in Civil engineering in 2012.   She is the head of Agile at Freelectics, a Bavarian-based company.

In 2020, Franziska, who is known as Sissi, was profiled on the Medium.com website.  She was born July 6 1989 at Klagenfurt and is the youngest of four children of Georg von Reutter and Joanna Rowena Christine Doubleday.   


Franziska is a descendant of Archduke Johannes of Austria  (1782-1859) and his morganatic wife, Anna Maria Josephine Plochl (1804-1885).  They married in 1829, and in 1844, Anna Maria was created Countess von Meran.  

Franziska's paternal great-grandmother was Countess Marie Valerie von Meran (1902-1990) who married Count Johann Anton von Goess (1892-1970).  Their eldest child, Countess Marie Anna von Goess  (1922-2010) married in 1945 to Georg von Reutter (1919-2003).  They had four children: Marie Valerie, Georg, Aglae, and Elisabeth.

Georg married Joanna Doubleday, the youngest child of Garth Leslie Doubleday and May Alison Hann.   They are the parents of four children: Georg (1984), Alison (1985), Clemens (1988-2011), and Franziska  (1989).

Georg is married to Rachel Anne Carson and they have two children, Clara and Josephine. Alison is the wife of Count Benedikt von Abensberg und Traun and they have five children, Bernhard, Camilla, Margaretha,  Agnes and Rudolf.

Franziska's second brother Clemens was killed in a car accident in Italy in 2011.   His family set up the Clemens Reutter Stiftung to raise funds "to take disadvantaged children and their carers into the mountains where they can enjoy the peace and power of nature, fresh air, and exercise."


Franziska is also a model


Andrea said...

Is the couple related?



Marc23 said...


Yes, they are.

They are 6th cousins once removed as both are descendants of Baron Jozsef Orczy de Orczy (1746-1804) and his wife Countess Borbala Berenyi de Karans-Berenyi (1755-1819).