The Princely House of Thurn and Taxis (German: Fürstenhaus Thurn und Taxis [ˈtuːɐ̯n ʔʊnt ˈtaksɪs] ) is a family of German nobility that is part of the Briefadel . It was a key player in the postal services in Europe during the 16th century, until the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and became well known as the owner of breweries and commissioner of several castles. The family has resided in Regensburg since 1748 and have been staying at St. Emmeram Castle from 1803. The family is one of the wealthiest in Germany, and the current head of the House is Albert, 12th Prince of Thurn and Taxis.
They are one of the mediatised Houses for their former Sovereign Imperial counties, later mediatised to Kingdom of Wurttemberg (Principality of Buchau, now Bad Buchau), Kingdom of Bavaria and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
County of Thurn and Taxis
Grafschaft Thurn und Taxis
|Status||State of the Holy Roman Empire|
|Historical era||Early modern period|
• Raised to Briefadel
• Raised to Reichsfreiherren
• Raised to County
• Granted princely rank (Spanish Court)
The Tasso family (from the Italian word for "badger", the family's heraldic animal) was a Lombard family in the area of Bergamo. The earliest records place them in Almenno in the Val Brembana around 1200,before they fled to the more distant village of Cornello to escape feuding between Bergamo's Colleoni (Guelf) and Suardi (Ghibelline) families. Around 1290, after Milan had conquered Bergamo, Omodeo Tasso organized 32 of his relatives into the Company of Couriers (Compagnia dei Corrieri) and linked Milan with Venice and Rome. The recipient of royal and papal patronage, his post riders were so comparatively efficient that they became known as bergamaschi throughout Italy.
Ruggiero de Tassis was named to the court of the emperor Frederick the Peaceful in 1443. He organized a post system between Bergamo and Vienna by 1450;from Innsbruck to Italy and Styria around 1460; and Vienna with Brussels around 1480. Upon his success, Ruggiero was knighted and made a gentleman of the Chamber. Janetto von Taxis was appointed Chief Master of Postal Services at Innsbruck in 1489. Philip of Burgundy elevated Janetto's brother Francesco I de Tassis to captain of his post in 1502. Owing to a payment dispute with Philip, Francisco opened his post to public use in 1506. In 1512 the family was ennobled by Emperor Maximilian I. By 1516, Francisco had moved the family to Brussels in the Duchy of Brabant, where they became instrumental to Habsburg rule, linking the rich Habsburg Netherlands to the Spanish court. The normal route passed through France, but a secondary route across the Alps to Genoa was available in times of hostility.
At the death of Francisco in 1517, emperor Charles V appointed Francisco's nephew Johann Baptista von Taxis (1470-1541) as Generalpostmeister of the Reichspost. Johann Baptista was briefly succeeded by his eldest son, Franz II von Taxis (1514-1543), after whose untimely death the family split into two further branches. The youngest son, Leonhard I von Taxis, succeeded as Generalpostmeister and is the ancestor of the princely Thurn and Taxis family. Johann Baptista's second-eldest son, Raymond de Tassis (1515-1579), took over the office of postmaster-general to the Crown of Spain and settled in Spain. Raymond married into Spanish nobility, and his eldest son Juan de Tassis was created Count of Villamediana in 1603 by Phillip III. The Spanish line of the family became extinct with Juan de Tassis, 2nd Count of Villamediana, a celebrated poet who died in mysterious circumstances in 1622.
In 1608 the Brussels line was raised to the status of hereditary barons, and in 1642 the Innsbruck line as well (which descends from Gabriel de Tassis, d. 1529). When the Brussels line was raised to the hereditary status of counts in 1624, they needed illustrious lineage to legitimize their intended further ascension to the high nobility. Alexandrine von Taxis commissioned genealogists to "clarify" their origin, who until then had only been considered a family descending from medieval knights who had become merchants. They now claimed, albeit without documentary evidence, that they descended from the famous Italian noble family Della Torre, or Torriani, who had ruled in Milan and Lombardy until 1311. She then applied to the emperor for a name change. With the Germanization, the coat of arms symbol of the Milanese family, the tower (Torre), became Thurn (an older German spelling, nowadays Turm) and was placed in front of the actual family name Tasso, translated with Taxis (an older German spelling for Dachs = Badger). The tower of the Torriani was added to the badger as a coat of arms.They formally adopted the German form of their name in 1650, including the comital Innsbruck line, which also exists to this day.
Charles V named Giovanni Battista de Tassis as master of his post in 1520; Maximilian I expanded their network throughout the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1681 the Brussels line was elevated to the Spanish Netherlands' rank of prince with Eugen Alexander Franz, 1st Prince of Thurn and Taxis, with Braine-le-Château (acquired in 1670) as his titular principality (Principauté de la Tour et Tassis), and in 1695 to the rank of imperial prince at the behest of Emperor Leopold I, although at that time no territorial possessions existed in the Holy Roman Empire. Admission to the Imperial Council of Princes in the Imperial Diet took place in 1704.
The Brussels line moved to Frankfurt in 1703 because of the War of the Spanish Succession; their new family seat built from 1731 was the Palais Thurn und Taxis. Emperor Charles VII appointed Alexander Ferdinand, 3rd Prince of Thurn and Taxis, Principal Commissioner (Lord Chancellor) of the Imperial Diet in 1743. He therefore moved to Regensburg, where the parliament was seated, in 1748. The position became hereditary in the family who lived in different houses there, but the company headquarters remained in Frankfurt. When Saint Emmeram's Abbey in Regensburg was secularized in 1803, the monastery buildings were donated to the princes of Thurn and Taxis, who had them converted into a residence, henceforth known as Schloss Thurn and Taxis, sometimes also called Saint Emmeram Palace. It has remained their family seat to this day.
In 1786, Karl Anselm, 4th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, acquired the Upper Swabian county of Friedberg with the lordships of Scheer, Dürmentingen and Bussen from the princes of Waldburg, which from 1787 was known as the County of Friedberg-Scheer. Only then did the Thurn und Taxis rule their own principality of the Empire for 20 years, but their main source of income remained the Imperial Reichspost.
The family operated the Thurn-und-Taxis Post, successor to the Imperial Reichspost of the Holy Roman Empire, between 1806 and 1867. Their postal service was gradually lost over the centuries, with the Spanish network being bought by the crown in the 18th century and the German post being purchased by Prussia after the fall of the Free City of Frankfurt in 1866. By investing their earnings from the postal business - later also the settlements for the postal rights - in numerous landed estates, a large number of forests and farms as well as castles were added to the family property, especially from secularized church property, among them Buchau Abbey, Marchtal Abbey, Neresheim Abbey, Ennetach Abbey, Siessen Abbey, and others. In 1803 they were summarized as Imperial Principality of Buchau.The buildings of these monasteries were mostly re-donated to the church in the 20th century, but the lands continue to be cultivated by the princely administration. Besides the St Emmeram's Palace the current prince still owns Taxis Castle (Trugenhofen) and Garatshausen Castle at Feldafing on Lake Starnberg.
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote his Duino Elegies while visiting Princess Marie of Thurn and Taxis (née Princess of Hohenlohe, wife of Prince Alexander) at her family's Duino Castle. Rilke later dedicated his only novel ( The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge ) to the princess, who was his patroness. Her son Prince Alexander (1881–1937) became an Italian citizen named Principe della Torre e Tasso and was raised in 1923 by the Italian king to Duke of Castel Duino. Today Duino Castle belongs to his grandson, Prince Carlo della Torre e Tasso, Duca di Castel Duino (b. 1952). The Duino branch is part of the family's Czech branch that in the early 19th century settled in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic).
Several members of the family have been Knights of Malta.
Until 1919, the titles of the head of the princely house were His Serene Highness the Fürst von Thurn und Taxis, Prince of Buchau and Prince of Krotoszyn, Duke of Wörth and Donaustauf, Princely Count of Friedberg-Scheer, Count of Valle-Sássina, Marchtal, Neresheim etc., Hereditary Postmaster General.
The current head of the house of Thurn and Taxis is Albert II, 12th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, son of Johannes and his wife, Gloria. The family is one of the wealthiest in Germany. The family's brewery was sold to the Paulaner Group of Munich in 1996, but it still produces beer under the brand of Thurn und Taxis.
|House of Thurn und Taxis|
The Thurn and Taxis family came to massive media attention during the late 1970s through mid-1980s when Prince Johannes married Countess Mariae Gloria of Schönburg-Glauchau, a member of an impoverished but mediatized noble family. The couple's wild, "jet set" lifestyle and Princess Gloria's over-the-top appearance (characterized by bright hair colours and avant-garde clothes) earned her the nickname of "Princess TNT".
Gloria, Dowager Princess of Thurn and Taxis is a German socialite, businesswoman, Catholic activist, and artist. Through her marriage to Johannes, 11th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, she became the Princess Consort of Thurn und Taxis.
The Dukes of Castel Duino are a noble family in Italy descending from the Bohemian line of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis.
Albert Maria Joseph Maximilian Lamoral, 8th Prince of Thurn and Taxis was the eighth Prince of Thurn and Taxis and Head of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis from 2 June 1885 until his death on 22 January 1952.
The Czech branch of the House of Thurn and Taxis is a dynastic cadet branch of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis, a German noble family that was a key player in the postal services in Europe in the 16th century and became well known as the owner of breweries and builder of many castles.
Johannes Baptista de Jesus Maria Louis Miguel Friedrich Bonifazius Lamoral, 11th Prince of Thurn and Taxis was a German businessman and head of the House of Thurn und Taxis from 1982 until his death.
Franz Joseph Maximilian Maria Antonius Ignatius Lamoral, 9th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, full German name: Franz Josef Maximilian Maria Antonius Ignatius Lamoral Fürst von Thurn und Taxis was the ninth Prince of Thurn and Taxis and Head of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis from 22 January 1952 until his death on 13 July 1971.
Maximilian Anton Lamoral, Hereditary Prince of Thurn and Taxis was the Hereditary Prince of Thurn and Taxis from birth until his death in 1867.
Maximilian Maria Carl Joseph Gabriel Lamoral, 7th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, full German name: Maximilian Maria Carl Joseph Gabriel Lamoral Fürst von Thurn und Taxis was the seventh Prince of Thurn and Taxis and Head of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis from 10 November 1871 until his death on 2 June 1885.
The Order of Parfaite Amitié is a dynastic order of knighthood of the princely House of Thurn and Taxis.
Maximilian Karl, 6th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, full German name: Maximilian Karl Fürst von Thurn und Taxis was the sixth Prince of Thurn and Taxis, head of the Thurn-und-Taxis-Post, and Head of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis from 15 July 1827 until his death on 10 November 1871.
Baroness Wilhelmine Caroline Christiane Henriette of Dörnberg, was a member of the House of Dörnberg and a Baroness of Dörnberg by birth. Through her marriage to Maximilian Karl, 6th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, Wilhelmine was also a member of the House of Thurn and Taxis. Wilhelmine was known to her family and friends as "Mimi."
Karl Alexander, 5th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, full German name: Karl Alexander Fürst von Thurn und Taxis was the fifth Prince of Thurn and Taxis, head of the Thurn-und-Taxis-Post, and Head of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis from 13 November 1805 until his death on 15 July 1827. With the death of his father on 13 November 1805, he became nominal Generalpostmeister of the Imperial Reichspost until the resignation of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor.
Duchess Therese Mathilde Amalie of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a member of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and a Duchess of Mecklenburg. Through her marriage to Karl Alexander, 5th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, Therese was also a member of the House of Thurn and Taxis.
Karl Anselm, 4th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, full German name: Karl Anselm Fürst von Thurn und Taxis was the fourth Prince of Thurn and Taxis, Postmaster General of the Imperial Reichspost, and Head of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis from 17 March 1773 until his death on 13 November 1805. Karl Anselm served as Prinzipalkommissar at the Perpetual Imperial Diet in Regensburg for Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor and Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor from 1773 to 1797.
Duchess Auguste Elisabeth of Württemberg was a member of the Ducal House of Württemberg and a Duchess of Württemberg by birth. Through her marriage to Karl Anselm, 4th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, Auguste was also a member of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis and Princess consort of Thurn and Taxis.
Alexander Ferdinand, 3rd Prince of Thurn and Taxis, full German name: Alexander Ferdinand Fürst von Thurn und Taxis was the third Prince of Thurn and Taxis, Postmaster General of the Imperial Reichspost, and Head of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis from 8 November 1739 until his death on 17 March 1773. Alexander Ferdinand served as Principal Commissioner at the Perpetual Imperial Diet in Frankfurt am Main and Regensburg for Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor, Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor from 1 February 1743 to 1745 and again from 1748 until 1773.
Prince Alessandro della Torre e Tasso, 1st Duke of Castel Duino, full German name: Alexander Karl Egon Theobald Lamoral Johann Baptist Maria, Prinz von Thurn und Taxis was a member of the Bohemian branch of the princely House of Thurn and Taxis. Alessandro was created Prince della Torre e Tasso and first Duke of Castel Duino by Victor Emmanuel III of Italy after relocating to the Kingdom of Italy in 1923.
The Thurn-und-Taxis Post was a private postal service and the successor to the Imperial Reichspost of the Holy Roman Empire. The Thurn-und-Taxis Post was operated by the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis between 1806 and 1867. The company was headquartered in Regensburg from its creation in 1806 until 1810 when it relocated to Frankfurt am Main where it remained until 1867.
Duino Castle is a fourteenth-century fortification located in Duino, near Trieste, Italy, on the cliffs overlooking the Gulf of Trieste.
Schloss Höfling is a Baroque castle in Regensburg, Bavaria. In 1985 the castle, which is owned by the House of Thurn and Taxis, was leased for one hundred years to the Walderdorff family.