In 1996, Dan Willis published The House of Habsburg: The Descendants of Maria Theresia of Austria. As with many royal genealogies, the book was not complete as Dan was unable to contact some of the living descendants.
He was also stumped by one branch, the descendants of Archduke Ernst (1824-1899), was a son Archduke Rainer, who represented one of the many junior lines of the Habsburg dynasty.
Ernst has provided a challenged to royal genealogists. Dan decided to take up the challenge to answer so many questions. Did Ernst marry Laura Skublics, and what happened to their children? Are there descendants living descendants?
The Archduke's Secret Family
The answers to these questions is in Dan's newest book, the superbly terrific The Archduke's Secret Family.
Ernst and Laura, met in a park in Budapest. It was love at first sight for the archduke, and he was determined to be with Laura. But Ernst's kinsman, Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, tossed a few obstacles in the archduke's way in order to keep the lovers separated.
Laura, who had two children by her first husband, gave Ernst two daughters and two sons. Tragically, for Ernst and for the children, Laura died young. Archduke Ernst could not publicly acknowledge his four children. In an instant, he became a friend, and the children were raised in a foster family, who were financially supported by Ernst's brother, Rainer.
So did the children ever find out their true roots? In order to learn the answer to this question, and see how a dogged, determined royal genealogist managed to overcome several language barriers (Hungarian is not an easy language to learn), make his way through dusty archives and poorly maintained cemeteries, order The Archduke's Secret Family.
A little hint: the book includes family photos, biographical and genealogical details. Ninety four pages.
Another hint: this book is not sold in bookstores. Dan has made the book available through Amazon. You can click on the link or the photograph to order the book.