Gifted Objects of Blessed Karl
When Emperor Karl and Empress Zita lived in exile on Madeira Island, their economic needs were incredibly pressing because they had been stripped of all their possessions during the war. The imperial family was forced to live with what they were able to take with them into exile—a small amount of money, a few personal objects, and, above all, the kindness and solidarity of family, friends, and acquaintances.
When Emperor Karl died, two valuable objects were gifted by Empress Zita to the men who cared most for him in his final days: the doctor who cared for his physical needs and the priest who attended to his spiritual needs.
The Emperor's gold watch was given to Dr. Nuno Vasconcelos Porto in gratitude for the medical attention he gave the emperor throughout his sickness. The second object was a richly carved jewelry box detailed in platinum and embellished with a “K” ( Kaiser) in diamonds on the lid. This was given to the parish priest of Monte, Father Marques Jardim. While the box was very valuable, Father Marques always refused to sell it for profit, and instead used it to help fund construction of the shrine and statue of Nossa Senhora do Monte, inaugurated on August 14, 1927. Today, the shrine remains a haven for all seeking our Lady’s intercession and is a testament to the enduring memory of Blessed Karl.
Special thanks to Maria Da Paz Mendonça, a friend of the League, for the information and photos. For more information, see: Mendonça, d. Duarte. Carlos and Zita of Habsburg: Chronicle of um exile imperial na cidade Do Funchal. Municipal Chamber: Funchal, 2013.