He was a real prince but the fairy-tale elements are just as true. The five surprises unfolded as this exceptional man was swept from relative obscurity to legendary romance and glamour, from terrorist murder to military valour, from unrivalled power to daunting challenge, to heart-rending defeat and then glory beyond our dreams. You couldn’t make it up.
Our handsome fairy-tale prince was born in 1887; three years after U.S. President Harry Truman and five before J.R.R. Tolkien. So Archduke Karl von Habsburg comes neither from chivalry’s High Middle Ages nor a closer distant past. He lived within the lifetimes of people you met; in historical terms he is one of us.