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The Grand title of the Emperor of Austria was the official list of the crowns, titles, and dignities which the emperors of Austria carried from the foundation of the empire by Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor's imperial proclamation of August 11, 1804 until the end of the monarchy in 1918.
After the House of Habsburg established itself in the 11th century, it grew in power. Various domains were added to its empire in central, eastern and western Europe. The throne of the Holy Roman Empire was continuously occupied by the Habsburgs between 1438 and 1740, and again between 1745 and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. The house also produced monarchs of the Kingdoms of Bohemia, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Portugal, Spain, and (jure uxoris) of England and Ireland, as well as rulers of several Dutch and Italian principalities amongst many others.
The Austrian Empire was declared as the Holy Roman Empire dissolved itself and became a successor state. The former Holy Roman Emperor Francis II became the Emperor of Austria. In accordance with tradition and the titles that were already held, he promulgated the grand title to codify the most important monarchical titles of various countries and territories under Habsburg rule, and also of titular rulers of former possessions. With the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 the grand title was again slightly modified. Although the Austrian emperor was also the nominal head of the German Confederation, this was not included in the grand title since it was an elected office.
The grand title was not a complete listing of all the titles held; instead it ends with an etc. There were also a middle title and a small title.
The empress, as consort of the emperor, was also given the feminine version of the title.
The full title (in German) of the Austro-Hungarian monarch as of 1914 was:
which translates to:
In 1804 Holy Roman Emperor Francis II foresaw the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, so he sought to preserve his family's imperial status by creating the new title "Hereditary Emperor of Austria."
The kingdom of Hungary was originally an elective monarchy, but like many elective monarchies heredity was respected. Ferdinand, the future Holy Roman Emperor, married the daughter of King Vladislaus II, and when Valdislaus' son died Ferdinand was elected in 1526. Eventually his descendants made the throne hereditary.
The kingdom of Bohemia was originally an elective monarchy, but like many elective monarchies heredity was respected. Ferdinand, the future Holy Roman Emperor, married the daughter of King Vladislaus II, and when Valdislaus' son died Ferdinand was elected in 1526. Eventually his descendants made the throne hereditary.
Dalmatia became a crown land of the Habsburgs following Napoleon's defeat. It was previously part of the Habsburg possessions as Kings of Croatia and Slavonia.
In 1102 the Croatian nobles agreed to share the same King as Hungary. In 1526 Ferdinand I was elected king, and eventually his descendants made these thrones hereditary.
Galacia and Lodomeria was annexed by Austria in the First Partition of Poland, creating a new kingdom for the Habsburgs.
With the re-annexation of the Illyrian provinces in 1815 the Habsburgs created a new crown land.
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was abolished upon its conquest by the Ottoman Empire. The Habsburgs were one of many dynasties to claim the title.
In 1282 King Rudolf I of Germany enfeoffed himself with the Duchy of Austria. His descendant Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor officially elevated it to an archduchy in 1453, confirming a 1356 forgery by Duke Rudolf IV.
Following the War of the Polish Succession, future Holy Roman Emperor Francis I was forced to exchange his native Duchy of Lorraine for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. He later passed the grand duchy to a younger son, but the main branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine continued to use the title.
The free city of Kraków was incorporated into the Austrian Empire in 1846 following a revolt.
The male line of the original House of Habsburg went extinct with Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor. His daughter Maria Theresa married the aforementioned Francis, Duke of Lorraine (later Emperor Franics I), and their progeny became the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
Rudolf I of Germany enfeoffed one of his sons as Duke of Styria. Eventually the title reverted back to the main branch of the Habsburg family.
In 1335 Otto, Duke of Austria was enfeoffed as Duke of Carinthia.
Duke Rudolf IV of Austria declared himself Duke of Carniola in 1364. Like other Habsburg territories it was separated from the others via inheritance, but by 1619 the Austrian Habsburg lands were reunited.
In 1775 the Habsburgs annexed a piece of land from the Principality of Moldavia and created the Duchy of Bukovina out of it.
In the 16th Century Transylvania was conquered by the Ottomans from Hungary and created as a separate principality. In 1711 the Habsburgs reclaimed it and added Grand Prince of Transylvania to their titles.
After 1918, the Grand Title was invoked for historical commemorative reasons in two Habsburg burial ceremonies in Vienna.
At the burial of Zita, the last Empress (1916–18), on 1 April 1989 in the imperial mausoleum, three prayers were said for the deceased by a speaker commissioned by the family, before the gate was opened and the sarcophagus was borne into the mausoleum. The first prayer started with the feminine form of the Grand Title: "Zita, Empress of Austria, crowned Queen of Hungary, Queen of Bohemia ...". In the list of duchess titles, the title of Duchess of Parma claimed by the Habsburgs was omitted, as she had a closer tie to Parma. Her father, Robert of Parma, was the last Duke of Parma (1854-1860) and as a pretender to that title she was a Princess, even though she was not born until 1892. Thus at the end of the list of titles was inserted, "Infanta of Spain, Princess of Portugal and of Parma".
Zita's son Otto von Habsburg was buried on 16 July 2011, and a prayer was said in the mausoleum: "Otto of Austria, first Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, royal prince of Hungary and Bohemia ..." The titles of King of Jerusalem and Archduke of Austria were omitted. No Austrian Emperor was actually sovereign over Jerusalem, and in 1961 Otto had renounced all claims of sovereignty in the Republic of Austria.