Royal wedding revives hopes of
Archduke Otto marries
From ROLAND PULLEN, in Paris
The beautiful French Renaissance town of Nancy recaptured some of the splendor and pomp of a European royal ¡ly of 100 years ago when the Arch- Duke Otto of Hapsburg, the throneless Emperor of Austria," married tall, blond. soft-eyed Princess Regina of Saxe- Meiningen this month.
Dark, retiring Archduke Otto, pre- tender to the Austrian throne, still dreams of one day re-establishing the old Austrian
AROUND him in his
exile gathers still a
ind of titled dreamers ho work busily at "State papers" and who try to create the phantom at- mosphcre of the old Court. They are firm in their con- don that the "royal" wed- ing will give new hope to her dreamers, some still in Austria and others exiled in many countries, for the re- establishiment of the old Aus- ian order.
The romance of the Arch- Duke Otto and Princess Regina Began in a displaced persons camp on the side of Lake atnberg in Bavaria last year. The princess was working as
a welfare officer there when
Otto visited the camp to talk to some Hungarian royal-
He invited her to a cup of J and a biscuit. They met again in Paris, and it was there it they decided to become engaged.
Nancy was chosen as the wedding town because there,
a domed Renaissance urch, are buried the Lor- ine aneestors of Otto's family.
More ian 60 members of ker former royal houses
were present at the wedding, for the Hapsburg family has been intextricably mingled with the royal blood of Europe's former ruling houses for hundreds of years.
Among them were the sad Empress Zita, Otto's mother, who has lived in exile in Swit- zerland, Portugal, and France since her husband, the last real Emperor, Charles of Austria, stepped down from the throne.
In the First World War so
complicated were the royal marriages of Europe that Zita's brothers, Sixtus and Xavier, were fighting against her. They were in the Belgian Army fighting against Austria.
Some of the most fabulous
jewels in Europe were worn at the wedding. Two gilded horse-drawn coaches, kept by former Hapsburg retainers in the hope that some day the Empire might be revived, were
seen for the first time in 30
years at the wedding.
Best man was Otto's brother Robert, who, with brothers Rudolf, Karl Ludwig, and Felix, attempted a propaganda coup d'etat at Igls, near Inns- bruck, in the Tyrol, in Janu- ary, 1946.
With two girl secretaries and four typewriters, they neatly typed thousands of copies of a "manifesto to the people of
THE GROOM, AGED 36. A man of letters, Franz Josef Otto of Hapsburg has written several books, and during the war did im- portant anti-Nazi propa-
Austria." These they gave to
Otto to distribute in two de luxe French cars as he left for Switzerland.
Karl Ludwig and Rudolf were later expelled by the Aus
tri"n Government under a law
forbidding a Hapsburg to set foot on Austrian soil without permission.
Two Tyrolese monarchists, Count Leopold Kuenigi and Karl Ploetcher, were arrested. They had told Otto that he could become Chancellor and then King after the manner of Napoleon III of France when he was elected President and made himself Emperor.
Two parties of monarchists exist in Austria. One insists on none other than a Haps- burg; the other is 'willing to accept any king. But neither
exerts much influence.
The Austrians show little re-
sentment towards the Haps burgs.
What worries Otto and his small band of faithful followers is that the Austrians don't take
i him seriously.
Most of the royalist leaders still in Austria are ovei 80, and few young lieutenants seem to be coming forward.
Otto is rich. Part of his
dynasty's fabulous wealth was restored to him by State law in 1934, and he has many in-
vestments in the U.S. and in France.
But he says he is a man of simple tastes.
Paris newspapers eagerly followed Otto and his bride to-be as they moved around Paris buying antique furnish- ings for their home. Most of their shopping was done on
A leading P?ris couturier made Princess Regina's wed- ding dress, which cost more
The Princess has had a tragic life. During the war she fled with her mother, the Countess of Kerscnbruck, and her brother to Munich, where they lived for three years in great poverty.
Her father, the Prince of Saxe-Meiningcn, was deported
THE BRIDE, AGED 25. Princess Regina of Saxe Meiningen, has lived with her mother in Bavaria since her father died in a Russian prison camp after the war.
to Eastern Germany, where he died. Her brother is a priest
Forced to earn a living, the princess became a nurse, and later a welfare officer at the
Bavarian prison camp where
she met Otto.
Her family has always been keenly interested in the theatre. One of her uncles was the founder of the 20th century realist school of
drama in Bavaria.
Otto and his bride will make their home in Paris.
But, like most Parisians, they are having housing
Baron de Workmann, Otto's personal representative in Paris, told me: "I have looked in vain for two months for a suitable home, but I'm sure something will turn up."
Though in all probability a house will turn up for the Archduke Otto and his bride because money for rent or pur- chase will be no object-there is no possibility that he will wear the crown of the Em- peror of Austria and King of Hungary.
If he faces facts, he must realise that his hopes of re- establishing the old order faded completely when the Austrian Republic outlawed his case
But he can comfort himself with the thought that he has found a freedom his ancestors never knew.
He was able to choose a wife not for dynastic reasons, but because he loved her.