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Esterhazy Bio


 

The first documented mention of the ESTERHAZY de GALANTHA  name as Zerhas de Salomon-Wartha dates back to the year 1186. Around 1590 three brothers, count Nicholas, barons Daniel and Paul are mentioned in heraldic documents as Estoras de Galantha and are the founders of the three branches of the forthcoming family of Esterhazy de Galantha in the region of Nyitra, in the North of Hungary near the borders of Poland and the Tatra mountains (today Slovakia). One of their descendants, count  Paul, became "Nádor" (vice-roy) of Hungary and  when he put to safety the royal crown of St. Steven and took part in the liberation of Vienna and of Budapest from the invading Turks, he was made hereditary prince ("Fürst") by emperor Leopold I. of Germany in 1687. A talented musician himself, he composed the famous religious music "Harmonia Celestis".

His grand-grand son and 4th "Fürst" Paul II Anton, ambassador of Austria at the royal court of Naples, imperial field-marshal, led the Hungarian nobility to offer its military help and protection "our life and our blood" to empress Maria Theresia of Austria in her claim to the throne of Germany , Austria, Hungary and the Habsburg monarchy against Frederic the Great, king of Prussia. He  commissioned composer Joseph Haydn official Kapellmeister of the princely court, which he held during more than 40 years.

His brother and successor, 5th "Fürst", called "Nicholas the Magnificent" became the best known and most prestigious head of the Esterhazy family, continued to keep Joseph Haydn at his service, completed building the magnificent baroque palace of Eszterhaza South of Vienna, called "the Hungarian Versailles" in the year of the American Independence in 1776 and entertained world-famous personalities with lavish festivities, such as tsarevits Pavel Romanov, son of Catherine II.  and later as Paul I.  tsar of Russia the first non-catholic Grandmaster of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta after their expulsion from the island of Malta by Napoleon in 1798. And also general Francesco de Miranda, hero of the independence of Venezuela and winner of the battle of Valmy in 1792 against the Prussians, together with the French generals Dumouriez and Kellerman.

Nicholas II. called "the Art collector", in an attempt to outperform his grandfather, spent most of his time travelling through Europe and buying an incredible amount of works of art, paintings, artistic treasures. This was the origine of the famous Esterhazy paintings and art collection still to be seen in the Hungarian capitals main art museums. At the time of his death in 1833, the accumulated debt was so immense, that the family estates were placed under pawn by the Rothschild Bank until 1898 when the present prince Anton's grandfather paid the last instalment ending the pawn. It was to him that apparently Napoleon offered the royal crown of Hungary in 1809 which he declined, but invited the French envoy to a dinner where the Esterhazy roast beef was served. At the end of the dinner he handed the recipe to the Frenchman asking that he handed it over to the emperor to forgive him  his  refusal.

Prince Anton, Rudolf Esterhazy de Galantha, 13th "Fürst" and present head of the princely Esterhazy family,  born in Vienna on Dec. 27, 1936. Childhood in Hungary, forced by the communist regime to leave his home country, went to college in Austria and in Belgium, graduated Commercial Engineering at the University of Louvain (world's second oldest university after Bologna), postgraduated MBA in Fontainebleau, France. Banking trainee in Brussels, service engineer with BMW in Munich, marketing executive worldwide with AMF, Inc. Westchester, N.Y. and head of foreign subsidiaries of a French branch of Generali, Trieste.

President of various cultural and economic societies in France, Austria and Hungary Lt. Grandmaster of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta Colonel of his own Esterhazy Hussard Regiment (founded 1742) Grand Cross of the Imperial Hispanic Order of  Carlos V.

Cross of Merit of the EU for European Integration Cross 1st class of the Royal Swedish Amaranterorder Military Order of the Hungarian "Vitéz" (Order of the Braves) Patron of the Joseph Haydn Music Festival  at Fertőd, Hungary