Archduchess Renata of Austria (28 September 1888 – 9 December 1935) was a daughter of Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria and a first cousin of King Alphonso XIII of Spain. A member of the Teschen branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine and an Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Bohemia, Hungary, and Tuscany by birth, she renounced her titles in 1909 upon her marriage to Prince Jerome Radziwill.
Archduchess Renata was a daughter of Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria and his wife Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany. Both of her parents were closely related to Emperor Franz Joseph. Renata’s father was a grand son of archduke Karl of Austria who had led the Austrian army against Napoleon Bonaparte. Her father was a brother of Queen Maria Christina of Spain. Renata’s mother, Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany was a granddaughter of Leopold II, the last reigning Grand Duke of Tuscany, on her mother line she was a grand daughter of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies.
Archduchess Renata was educated by private tutors, her education made special emphasis on languages and she learned German, Italian, English French and from 1895 Polish. Her father had followed a career in the Austrian Navy and Renata spent her formative years primarily in Istria in the then Austrian port of Pula in the Adriatic. Her father was very wealthy and the family had a winter residence in the island of Losinj in the Adriatic, a palace in Vienna and in 1895 her father inherited from Archduke Albert vast properties in Galicia. From 1907 the family main residence was in Zywiec castle in western Galicia.
Archduke Charles Stephen put aside his career in the navy and centered his ambitions in creating a Polish branch of the house of Habsburg. He encouraged all of his children to become Polish and Archduchess Renata ended up marrying one of Poland’s richest landowners, Prince Jerome Radziwill. Their engagement was announced in September 1908. The Radziwill was one of the most distinguish families of Poland, but since he did not belong to a ruling family Renata had to renounce all of her titles, and the treatment of Imperial and Royal highness. They signed a prenuptial agreement and separation of property. The wedding took place on January 15, 1909, in the chapel at Zywic castle.
They had six children and lived at Balice Castle, one of the Radziwill estates. Her eldest son, Dominik, eventually married Princess Eugénie of Greece and Denmark in 1938. With the defeat and dissolution of the Austrian Hungary Empire after World War I, the destiny of her family was even more closely linked to Poland. Archduchess Renata lived at Balice Castle in Poland, where she died on May 16, 1935. Her husband outlived her for ten years. Prince Jerome remarried. Towards the end of World War II, Prince Jerome was captured by Russian troops and he was taken behind the Iron Curtain. He died in a concentration camp in May 1945. The Radziwill properties were all lost.
Archduchess Renata and Prince Jerome Radziwill had six children:
Princess Maria Teresa Radziwill (19 January 1910 - )
Prince Dominic Radziwill (23 January 1911 – 19 November 1976) married Princess Eugénie of Greece and Denmark. Married 2nd Lida Bloodgood
Prince Karol Jerome Radziwill (3 May 1912 – 27 November 2005) married Maria Luisa de Alvear y Quirno. Married 2nd Maria Teresa Soto y Alderete
Prince Albert Radziwill (10 May 1914 – 23 June 1932)
Princess Eleonore Radziwill (2 August 1918 – ) Married Count Benedikt Tyszkiewicz. Married 2nd Roger de Froidcourt
Prince Leon Jerome Radziwill (28 October 1922 – )