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While her brother and new sister-in-law are on their honeymoon, Princess Stephanie of Monaco had to attend the Fight AIDS Monaco Summer Gala on Wednesday alone.
That didn’t seem to bother her at all. The Princess treated this year’s gala like any other, as she met with those who work to battle the disease in the tiny principality during the event, held at the Monte Carlo Sporting Club. She also met with the pop group Supertramp who were performing that night.
Before the group did their concert, Stephanie helped raffle off tickets for the guests to win prestigious prizes worth several thousand euros.
Besides raising money for Fight AIDS Monaco, which Princess Stephanie is president of, the annual gala also raises funds for the Life House, a home for HIV sufferers which located just outside of Monaco.
Sources: Svensk Damtidning, Pure People
Vienna came to a stand still on Saturday as it witnessed the funeral of the last Austro-Hungarian emperor’s heir, Otto Habsburg, who died at the age of 98 in Poecking, southern Germany, on July 4. Thousands of Austrians turned up to watch as the Habsburg family, Austrian leaders, European royals and heads of state attend the funeral that seemed to bring back the days of when Austria was a monarchy.
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The ceremonies for Otto’s funeral started earlier this week, where his body was taken across central Europe. Along the way, wakes and requiems were held at the places where Otto’s body stopped. Saturday’s funeral took place at St. Stephen’s Cathedral with Vienna’s archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn conducting the mass.
Afterward, the coffin carrying Otto Habsburg was brought through the streets of the city center in a procession of the aforementioned walking behind it. Soldiers dressed in the old imperial attire, cathedrals rang their bells, drums sounded and banners from the old empire were carried during the procession to Otto’s final resting place at the Imperial Crypt.
His wife, Regina, who died last year, was also buried at the crypt alongside her husband.
When the master of ceremonies knocked on the family crypt, twice he was rejected. Meaning, when it was announced that the Habsburg heir was to be laid to rest, monks answered, “We do not know him!” They said the same thing again when Habsburg’s political achievements were announced. The doors finally opened on the third knock after Habsburg was described as a “Otto — a mortal and a sinner.”
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Although buried in Vienna, Habsburg’s heart was cremated and is to be placed in the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma in northwest Hungary in a private family ceremony Sunday, something the family has long done.
The last time such a funeral took place in Vienna was in 1989 when Zita, Otto’s mother and Austro-Hungary’s last empress, passed away.
For this funeral, an estimated 10,000 Austrians and tourists gathered to watch the procession. Such royals in attendance included the King and Queen of Sweden, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Prince Hans Adam II and Princess Marie Aglae of Liechtenstein. Even former kings Michael I of Romania and Simeon II of Bulgaria were there.
The European heads of state at the funeral were Austrian President Heinz Fischer; Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili; the prime ministers of Croatia and Macedonia; and European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek.
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Despite being a deposed royal, Otto Habsburg played a major role in promoting peace in Europe. He was a member of the European Parliament for two decades, and was known for being fiercely against the Nazis and the communists. In 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, he held a Pan Europe picnic near the Austrian border in Hungary.
According to the BBC, Otto’s son, Karl Habsburg, had this to say about his father’s work:
“It would always be wrong to only remember him in the context of the old monarchy or only remember him in the context of the European Union.
“I think he should be remembered in the whole arch that his life has been creating … over the whole changes that happened to Europe in his lifetime.”
Even though he was well respected in Europe and in Austria, many were confused about the pomp and pageantry surrounding Otto Habsburg’s funeral. Several politicians criticized it since Austria has been a republic for nearly a century.
Sources: AFP, Global Post, AP