Otto of Habsburg has been interred in the Capuchins’ Crypt, the traditional resting place for members of the Habsburg dynasty. His wife, who died last year, was buried alongside him. According to his personal wishes and family tradition, Habsburg’s heart will be transferred in an urn for burial at the Benedictine Abbey at Pannonhalma in western Hungary.
European royals and political leaders, many from nations that his family ruled over, attended the service. Among them were Sweden’s king and queen; the ruling grand duke and grand duchess of Luxembourg; Liechtenstein’s ruling duke and duchess; King Michael of Romania, King Simeon of Bulgaria, and representatives of the British, Belgian and Spanish ruling houses.
Seven bishops from nations of the former Austro-Hungarian empire — seven countries plus parts of modern-day Montenegro, Italy, Poland, Romania and Serbia and Ukraine — assisted Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn.
Burying the heart separately to the body was a custom used by a number of medieval European royals:
- Richard I (Richard the Lionheart): The English king’s heart was buried at Rouen in Normandy after he died in 1199. His body was buried in Anjou
- Robert the Bruce: The king of the Scots, who died in 1329, is buried in Dunfermline Abbey but his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey
- The House of Habsburg has practised heart burial for centuries
- Queen Marie of Romania