Rainer, archduke of Austria - Encyclopedia

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"RAINER, ARCHDUKE OF AUSTRIA (1827-1913), noted as one of the most cultivated and liberal-minded members of the Austrian imperial house, was born on Jan. II 1827. His father, also named Rainer, the seventh son of the Emperor Leopold II. and of his consort Maria Luisa of Spain, was born in Florence in 1783, and from 1818-48 was viceroy of the kingdom of Lombardo-Venetia; his mother was the Princess Elizabeth, sister of Charles Albert, King of Sardinia. After serving in the army, the Archduke Rainer was in 1857 placed at the head of the permanent Imperial Council organized in 1851, which stood immediately under the Emperor and had among its functions the preparation of laws, and his experience in this office convinced him that the transition to a constitutional form of government on a liberal and centralized basis was necessary. In 1860 he conducted the negotiations for a strengthened Imperial Council; in 1861 he became head of the Government as president of the council of ministers of the Liberal Schmerling administration. His name is associated with the promulgation of the charter of the Constitution of Feb. 26 1861. In the same year Rainer became curator of the Academy of Sciences, a position which he filled till his death. In July 1865, when politics had shifted from the basis of the 1861 Constitution, he laid down office, and retired from public affairs. In 1872 he was appointed to the supreme command of the newly established Austrian Landwehr, to the organization of which he devoted many years of work. He continued to take a keen interest in art and science. As patron of the Arts and Crafts Museum (1862-98), and as curator of the Academy of Sciences, he won a high reputation. He greatly furthered the general knowledge of antiquity by the purchase of the papyrus discovered at Fayum, which was called, after him, the " Rainer papyrus." He married in 1852 Marie Caroline, daughter of the Archduke Charles, the victor of Aspern. There were no children of the union. He died on Feb. 27 1913.

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