Wednesday, 23 June 2021, U.S.A.: Archduke Leopoldo Francesco (Leopold Franz) d’Absburgo-Lorena, erstwhile Head of the Tuscan branch of the Habsburg dynasty (1984-1993) and great-grandson of Tuscany’s last Grand Duke, Ferdinando IV passed away after a long illness.
He was the eldest son of the late Archduke Goffredo (Gottfried) and Princess Dorothea of Bavaria, and was born at Leutstetten Castle in Bavaria, where his parents lived, on 25 October 1941. A childhood marked by the war times left him with indelible memories. After the disappearance of his grandparents in 1948, his parents settled in St. Gilgen in the Salzburger Land, Austria.
After his high school years in Austria, he graduated in 1967 in Munich with a degree in mechanical engineering and, following his great passion for research, began working on engine design.
He married Princess Laetitia de Belzunce d’Arenberg in 1965, with whom he had two sons, Sigismondo (born at Lausanne in 1966) and Guntram (born at Montevideo in 1967), and lived in Munich until 1968. A timid and reserved man by nature, with a great deal of charm, who, after the death of his father in 1984, made frequent trips to Tuscany; consolidated and strengthened the profound and unbroken relationship of affection that has bound his dynasty to the beautiful land of Tuscany.
He was made Honorary Citizen of Pisa and Grosseto during his lifetime. Passionate about motorbikes and motors, and a lover of travel, he often took the young Sigismondo with him, who – just nineteen years old at the time. Both princes stayed in Florence for a few months to deepen their knowledge of the Italian language. Subsequently, Archduke Leopoldo Francesco “abdicated” his position as Head of the former Tuscan Grand Ducal House in favour of his eldest son Sigismondo in 1993.
The latter granted Archduke Sigismondo sovereignty over the Tuscan dynastic orders (i.e., the Order of St. Stephen Pope and Martyr; the Order of St. Joseph). Leopoldo Francesco retired to a rather private life after separating from his wife Laetitia. Thereafter he spent his life between Austria and the USA, where he continued to work designing innovative industrial objects and systems. It was in the U.S.A., Santa Fe, where he passed way, struck down by an incurable disease from which he had suffered for some time.
For further information
Grand Ducal House of Tuscany: http://www.granducato.org