Generals and personalities


She came from the Parma branch of the Bourbon family and was born in 1892. In 1911, she married Archduke Charles, who matched her in both age and rank. Their firstborn son Otto was born in 1912. They had seven more children, the last Elizabeth born in 1922, after Charles’ death, in exile in Madeira.

After the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Charles became the heir to the throne, and Zita became the “expecting” empress. The soon-to-be-started war divided Zita’s family, like other aristocratic families. Three of his brothers fought in the army of the Monarchy, two in the Belgian army. He claimed to be French due to his descent from the Bourbon family. After the death of Franz Joseph, the couple was crowned Emperor and Empress of Austria and King and Queen of Hungary in November 1916 (December 30).

In accordance with the practice of the Habsburgs and other aristocratic families, also Zita participated in many charity actions during the war. But Zita was active in politics as well. Through his brother, he sought contacts with the French Prime Minister to inquire about the possibility of an armistice. However, this “Sixtus Affair” came to light. Because of the strong German protest, Zita and her family were made the scapegoat (because of their French origin). After losing the Great War, Charles and Zita tried twice to keep at least the Hungarian royal title. Zita actively participated in the preparation and implementation of the coup d’état in Hungary.

During the Great War, various propaganda materials were made about the members of the royal family. Although the monarch was obviously in the center of attention, the queen and the heir to the throne also received attention. This was also visible on the cap badges. In this post, I present a piece of a pair of royal portraits. A common badge, but the gilding of the rose bouquet surrounding the portrait is very rare. I think the other badge with the letter Z also refers to the queen. According to some opinions, the initial could have been the insignia of the Zita Hussars. This can neither be clearly denied nor confirmed. The shape and character of the badge suggest rather a propaganda badge.

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