The photo was taken at the turn of 1939 and 1940 in front of the castle of Steenokkerzeel in Flanders, where Queen Zita had lived with her children since 1930.
Otto von Habsburg obtained his doctorate in Leuven in 1935, after which he became increasingly active in politics. He noted with concern the aggression of Nazi Germany and, availing himself of his wide international network, tried to do as much as possible to improve the situation in Austria and Central Europe and to help the persecuted. As every year, he returned from Paris to the family circle for Christmas in 1939, but by then he already knew: it was the last holiday to be spent in relative peace before the war. Two months later he traveled to the United States, where he also discussed the situation in Hungary with President Roosevelt on March 10, 1940. With this visit, the Crown Prince also prepared the escape of his family from Belgium, which was to be invaded by the Nazis.
In the photo, the family tries to make up for the missed joy of the Alpine slopes by using a car in a rather peculiar way. The essence, however, is the empowering beauty of togetherness. In times of a pandemic, during the everyday hustle and the storms of public life it is still worth thinking about.