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History of the Visits of Sovereign to Český Krumlov

Crowned heads in Český Krumlov

..The recent visit of the Danish queen in Český Krumlov was commented on by a TV commentator when he said that the last king who stayed in Český Krumlov before the Danish queen Margaret II was the Czech king Václav IV during his captivity in 1394. This completely inaccurate statement must be set right. The young man from whose mouth this information came probably was unaware that Václav II's stay at the Český Krumlov castle in 1394 was, on the contrary, the first documented visit, albeit forced, of a crowned head in Český Krumlov.

At first a few words about the background of Václav's captivity. The turbulent and uneasy situation which arose in the Czech state at the turn of 14th century under the influence of the increasingly declining rule of Václav II resulted in the open conflict between the king and the Union of lords (representatives of upper nobility), concentrated around the Moravian margrave Jošt, Václav's cousin. The Czech lords had no problems with raising arms against their king and captured him on 8th May 1394 in Králův Dvůr, near Beroun. Václav's younger brother Jan Zhořelecký wanted to rescue the king with the help of military force, and so the Union of lords took Václav IV from the Prague castle to castle Wildberg in Upper Austria, the ruins of which can be seen by the road on the way from Studánky to Linz. During the journey from Prague to Wildberg Václav IV stayed for some time in Český Krumlov castle, at the time the residence of Heinrich III. von Rosenberg.

Czech Ceramic Design Agency, view of exposition International Gallery of Ceramic Design In this context it is necessary to throw light on one of the deep-rooted misconceptions related to Český Krumlov castle. It has been claimed from time immemorial, although entirely without substantiation, that the king Václav IV was kept imprisoned in Český Krumlov in "Václav's Cellars", opened to the general public in the summer of 1994. It is not possible to trace where this nonsensical statement started from, it can be only denied. In the first place, the king, even though a captive, could not have been confined in prison, but he would have stayed in the residential rooms of the castle, well guarded. Furthermore, in the past the Václav's cellars used to be a storage cellar in its lower part, while in the upper part there used to be an old castle brewery. At that time the prison was in a huge tower which rose above the upper castle on the level of fourth courtyard until the 1680's.

But Václav IV visited Český Krumlov in the same way once more in 1402, when the whole situation was repeated. The king was captured on 6th March 1402 in royal house in the Old Town in Prague and taken to the Schaumburg castle in Upper Austria, when the journey led through Český Krumlov, that time belonging to Heinrich von Rosenberg. During Václav's second kidnapping the whole event was this time led by his brother Zikmund who accompanied Václav on his journey to the place of his captivity, and consequently he passed the night in Český Krumlov castle. The second king was Hungarian, and between 1436 and 1437 also the Czech king.

Český Krumlov then waited for its next sovereign visit until 1538, when its walls were honoured by the empress and Czech queen Anna, wife of Ferdinand I. The relation of queen Anna to the then Rosenberg ruler Jošt and his wife Anna von Rosenberg, neé von Rogendorf, was closely personal; in 1530 the queen had initiated the marriage of Jošt of Rosenberg with the member of her female retinue, Anna von Rogendorf.

On 4th December Český Krumlov was visited by the emperor and Czech king Ferdinand I during his journey to imperial diet in Augsburg. Apparently he passed the night here.

In January 1562 Czech king Maxmilián II passed the night in Český Krumlov castle as a personal guest of Wilhelm von Rosenberg while travelling from Linz to Prague.

At the beginning of September 1562 king Maxmillian II together with his wife Mary of Spain passed the night on their journey from Linz to Bohemia. The visit of the royal couple with their large retinue led Wilhelm von Rosenberg to the offer that he would leave Maxmillian the entire Český Krumlov residence at his disposal and that he himself with his family would depart for his other residence. But Maxmillian assured him by letter that this sacrifice would not be necessary and that the castle would hold them all.

Maxmillian II stayed in Český Krumlov once more, although this time only as deceased. Maxmillian died suddenly in Regensburg on 12th October 1576 and, because he was to be buried in Prague, they transported his body to Bohemia. They carried the coffin from Regensburg down the Danube to Linz, where it was expected by ceremonial retinue, of which Wilhelm von Rosenberg was also a member. The body was accompanied by Maxmillian's son, the new Czech king and emperor Rudolf II. von Habsburg together with his mother, queen dowager Marie. Because it was necessary to make all the necessary arrangements in Prague for Maxmillian's funeral, Rudolf and his mother travelled quicker than the coffin, which he passed into the care of his younger brothers. Rudolf II spent the nights in Český Krumlov on 16th and 17th December 1526. The coffin with Maximillian's body and the retinue of archdukes reached Český Krumlov as late as 31st January 1577.

Rudolf II. von Habsburg, woodcut, 1612 The next visit to Český Krumlov was paid by Rudolf II between the 19th and 21st of July 1578. It was his last visit here, although he held Český Krumlov in his possession between 1601 and 1612.

Between 1612 and 1619 Český Krumlov was visited several times by the emperor and Czech king Mathias who had inherited the castle from his brother Rudolf II. Mathias' apparently more frequent stays were reflected also in one of the inventories of the castle, where we can read about the large room where his Highness emperor used to stay. The emperor Mathias von Habsburg stayed here with his wife Anna von Tyrol.

In June 1652 the emperor and king Ferdinand III passed through Český Krumlov with a large train for whose maintenance with food 11 wagons and 70 horses must have been placed at their disposal on the territory of Český Krumlov dominion.

The next planned royal visit in Český Krumlov did not take place. In summer 1732 Český Krumlov was to have been visited on invitation of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg by emperor and king Karel VI. Magnificent arrangements for this visit, however, proved unnecessary because on the hunt in Brandýs nad Labem the emperor Karel VI wounded Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg by shooting him in the back. Adam Franz succumbed to this injury on 11th June 1732.

On 2nd September 1847 Český Krumlov was visited by archduke Franz Josef, who in the next year became emperor and Czech king. The last visit to mention is the visit of the royal Prince Rudolf in 1871.

His Highness Prince Charles of Wales, 1992

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