Habsburg, born in 1912, was the son of Charles I, who assumed the throne of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire amid World War I following the death of Franz Joseph. However, with the defeat of the Central Powers in 1918, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was abolished and the Habsburg family forced into exile.
Habsburg was only six when his father was forced to “renounce participation in affairs of state” at the end of the first World War – in effect ending seven centuries of Habsburg rule in Europe, according to the Irish Times.
He lived in exile in Switzerland and on the island of Madeira, and went to high school in Spain. In Belgium, he earned a doctorate in political and social sciences at the University in Louvain, according to the New York Times.
Habsburg was politically active from the 1930s on as an early proponent of European integration and a fierce opponent of Nazism and communism. He was an opponent of Anschluss, Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938, according to the BBC.