Rudolf of Habsburg (Czech: Rudolf Habsburský), a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria (as Rudolf III) from 1298 as well as King of Bohemia and titular King of Poland (as Rudolf I) from 1306 until his death.
Rudolf was the eldest son of Duke Albert I of Austria and his wife Elizabeth of Gorizia-Tyrol, thereby the grandson of King Rudolf I of Germany. After lengthy struggles with Adolf of Nassau, his father was elected King of the Romans in 1298 and vested sixteen-year-old Rudolf as a co-ruler with the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburg dynasty. According to the Rheinfelden order of succession, Rudolf acted as ducal regent on behalf of his younger brothers Frederick the Fair and Leopold I.
An opportunity for a Habsburg gain in power opened when in 1306 King Wenceslaus III, the last Bohemian ruler of the Přemyslid dynasty, was killed and Albert I as rex Romanorum was able to seize his kingdom as a reverted Imperial fief. Rudolph was vested with the Bohemian throne, however contested by his maternal uncle Henry of Gorizia, Duke of Carinthia and husband of Wenceslaus' sister Anne. When several Bohemian nobles elected Henry King of Bohemia, Albert I placed his brother-in-law under the Imperial ban and marched against Prague. Henry fled, first to Bavaria, then back to his Carinthian homelands. To further legitimate the Habsburg claims to the Bohemian and the Polish throne, Albert had Rudolph married to Princess Elizabeth Richeza of Poland, a member of the Piast dynasty and widow of the predeceased King Wenceslaus II.
His aims to take hold of the silver deposits at Kutná Hora (Kuttenberg) sparked a rebellion led by the noble House of Strakonice. The king besieged the rebel fortress of Horažďovice, but died at the campsite in the night of 3 to 4 July 1307, probably of gastrointestinal perforation.
As Rudolf left no children, the first grab of the Habsburgs for the Crown of Saint Wenceslas failed when the Bohemian nobles restored Henry as king in return for a charter of privileges, who in turn had to renounce the throne in favour of Count John of Luxembourg three years later. Instead Rudolph's enfeoffment intensified the inner Habsburg inheritance conflict, culminating in the assassination of King Albert I by his nephew John Parricida in 1308.
Rudolph is buried at the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
|Reigned as||In Country||From||To||Coins Issued|
|Duke Albert I and Duke Rudolf III (King of Bohemia as Rudolf I), joint rule||Austria, Duchy and Archduchy||21 November 1298||4 July 1307|
|Rudolf I. (King Rudolf I)||Bohemia||4 August 1306||4 July 1307|