Post by Francois R. Velde Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
Agreed. Moreover, I cannot see how the Neippergs could have been
considered ebenbürtig by Habsburg standards: they were not on the 1900
list of approved families published at the time of Franz Ferdinand's
But among those inexplicably included were the Fugger (ennobled 1512),
Looz-Corswarem (never Reichsfürsten, nor compliant with any standard
of Ebenbürtigkeit), the Salm-Horstmar (never Reichsfürsten), the
Starhemberg (whose Ebenbürtigkeit for purposes of marriage to a cadet
prince of Hesse-Rheinfels-Rotenburg had been challenged as recently as
1754), the Trauttmansdorff (Reichsfürsten in 1805; females only
countesses), the Thurn und Taxis (not even altgräfliche), the
Windisch-Graetz (Reichsfürsten only in 1804), etc.
Whereas princesses and countesses of such distinguished mediatized
families as Erbach-Schonburg, Isenburg-Budingen (the Isenburg-
Birsteins were listed!), Ligne, and Stolberg were excluded from the
But keep in mind that equality was not formally required by the Habsburg
house law (at least the 1839 text). What was required was consent of the
head of house.
Hmm. Emperor Maximilian I's motto comes to mind: Bella gerant alii; tu,
felix Austria nube ("Let others wage war; you, happy Austria, marry!").
Perhaps that explains why the Habsburgs' dynastic reach so long
exceeded that of houses which relied on armies rather than sex for
territorial conquest. Joanna went mad because Philip was so fair...
Post by Francois R. Velde
I haven't seen the original text of the 1900 amendment, so
I don't know exactly what role this list plays exactly,
Nor have I seen anything but a summary. The list was issued as an
attachment to and referenced in the body of the decree declaring Franz
Ferdinand's forthcoming marriage to Countess Sophie Chotek to be
morganatic, and explaining why. Below is the commentary on the wedding
contract that was apparently published with the list (warning: my
translation is tentative, but I no longer have the original German,
"In the Family Statute of 3 February 1839, but more especially, in the
interpretation of Title 1 paragraph 1 of 12 June 1900, the conditions
are precisely defined for a marriage of equal status, and those
families are also enumerated with which an equal marriage with a member
of the Dynasty could be accepted. As Countess Chotek is neither a
member of the All-highest Dynasty, nor of another presently or formerly
sovereign Christian House, nor of any former immediate princely house
of the Empire -- as specifically enumerated in the appendix to the
House law -- Archduke Franz Ferdinand could only enter a morganatic,
that means an unequal, marriage with her."
Post by Francois R. Velde
but it surely
does not obviate the need for the consent of the head of house, who
also had the final word on validity of all marriages.
No doubt. But let us not forget the tendency in some 19th century
German house laws to enjoin the Head of House from withholding consent
to equal marriages without compelling reason.
Post by Francois R. Velde
Morganatic marriages also required the consent of the head of the house.
Which presumably means that the marriages of those archdukes (and one
notorious archduchess) who eloped must not have been deemed legally
married in the Emperor-King's realms?
The 1900 list actually names 48 families, but several are branches of
the same family. They are specified, however, because not all branches
of mediatized families were included: those whose head had received the
title of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsfürst) by 1806 are
included in the 48, but others are included as well, so the list is
inconsistent. There are 32 distinct families named.
(The Habsburg list only concerned itself with mediatized families, not
reigning and deposed dynasties. These latter were never specifically
named and did not need to be: In October 1851 Montenegro was an
Orthodox ecclesiastic state ruled by a Wladika selected for life from
the Petrovich Njegosch priestly family. In November 1851 Danilo I
declared Montenegro a secular principality and Petrovich Njegosch
daughters became eligible to become Empress of Austria literally
overnight. Hereditary sovereignty trumps genealogy -- and for the
Habsburgs it did not always have to be hereditary, e.g. Sigismund
The list was divided into two categories; those families that were
Standesherren (highest nobility) in Austria-Hungary and those
"domiciled" elsewhere. The 3 Belgian families were marked as "ducal".
Spellings are as given.
I. In Austria:
Auersperg, Colloredo-Mannsfeld, Esterhazy, Kaunitz-Rietburg,
Khevenhuller, Lobkowitz, Metternich, Rosenberg,
Salm-Reifscheid-Krautheim, Schwarzenburg, Schonburg-Waldenburg,
Schonburg-Hartenstein, Starhemberg, Trauttmansdorff, Windisch-Graetz.
Aremberg, Bentheim-Steinfurt, Bentheim-Teklenburg uber Rheda, Croy,
Fugger-Babenhausen, Furstenberg, Hohenlohe-Langenburg-Langenburg,
Leyen, Leiningen, Looz-Coswarem, Loewenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg,
Oettingen-Wallerstein, Salm-Salm, Salm-Kyrburg,
Solms-Braunfels, Solms-Lich und Hohensolms, Waldburg-Wolfegg-Waldsee,
Waldburg-Zeil-Trauchburg, Waldburg-Zeil-Wurzach, Wied, Thurn und Taxis.
Which mediatized houses were not included as ebenbürtig in the 1900
Bentinck, Castell, Erbach, Fugger von Kirchberg, Fugger von Glott,
Giech, Harrach, Isenburg-Budingen, Konigsegg, Kuefstein,
Leiningen-Westerburg, Neipperg, Ortenburg, Pappenheim,
Platen-Hallermund, Puckler-Limpurg, Quadt, Rechberg, Rechteren-Limpurg,
Schaesberg, Schlitz dit Gortz, Schonborn, Schonburg-Glauchau,
Solms-Sonnenwalde, Solms-Rodelheim, Solms-Laubach, Soms-Wildenfels,
Solms-Baruth, Stadion, Stolberg-Wernigerode, Stolberg-Stolberg,
Stolberg-Rossla, Toerring-Jettenbach, Waldbott von Bassenheim,
Note that other branches of these excluded Fuggers, Isenburgs,
Leiningens, Schonburgs and Solms are included on the list. While some
of the omitted branches were princely, none were Princes of the Empire.
Some of the omitted families are still known for their high marital
standards, e.g. Castell-Rudenhausen, Isenburg-Budingen, Schonborn,
Schonburg-Glauchau, Toerring; while some of the included families are
not e.g. Khevenhuller-Metsch, Looz-Corswarem.