The noble family originally possibly originated in Kevenhüll (today part of Beilngries) in Franconia; they were vassals of the Bishops of Bamberg, who had received large estates in Carinthia from the hands of King Henry II of Germany in 1007. The earliest mention refers to one Ulreich dem Chevenhuelaer in a 1330 deed. In Carinthia, an continuous line descends from one Johann I (Hans) Khevenhüller, who died in 1356 and was the son-in-law of Richard I von Khünburg and Elisabeth von Himmelberg, both from Carinthia.
Johann IV von Khevenhüller zu Aichelberg (born ca 1420-1462) was the first to hold the family title "of Aichelberg", yet Johann V Khevenhüller (died 1462), son of Wilhelm II Khevenhüller and Margareta von Auersperg, was Burgrave of Federaun, whereas his son, Augustin Khevenhüller, who died 1516, is referred to as Herr (i.e. Lord) of Hardegg. His mother was one "Miss" von Lindegg, who together with her grandson Sigismund III, Herr Khevenhüller in Hohen-Osterwitz (1507-1558) appears among the ancestors of Prince Charles. Her youngest grandson, Bernard von Khevenhüller (1511-1548) was "Herr auf Sternberg and Hohenwart"; her eldest grandson, Christoph Khevenhüller (1503-1557) was Lord of Aichelberg.
Hans Khevenhüller, ambassador to the Spanish Court
The steep rise of the House of Khevenhüller in Carinthia began when in 1525 Christoph Khevenhüller (1503-57) was appointed castellan of Ortenburg Castle near Spittal an der Drau and married a wealthy burgher's daughter, Elizabeth Mansdorfer.
Her wealth enabled him to acquire a number of properties in Carinthia such as the castles of Aichelberg, Ortenburg, Sommeregg, Hochosterwitz and Landskron as well as the iron mine of Eisentratten near Gmünd. Like the majority of the Carinthian Estates Christoph Khevenhüller became a Lutheran Protestant. Of Christoph Khevenhüller's s three sons, Hans, Moritz and Bartlmä, two were politically and economically most successful, thus furthering the rise of the family:
Hans Khevenhüller (1538-1606) became the Legate of the Holy Roman Emperor at the Spanish court, an office that he held for 26 years. Educated at the University of Padua, he knew Latin and Italian. He was appointed Imperial Chamberlain, was made a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1587 and a count in 1593, a rank that upon his death passed on to his brother Bartlmä. During his lifetime, he sought and collected animals and plants of economic importance from many parts of the world.
The activities of Bartlmä Khevenhüller (1539-1613) centred on Carinthia. Styling himself "Freiherr auf Landskron and Wernberg" he made it to Burggrave und Speaker of the Estates, and managed to make the Khevenhüller family one of the wealthiest in the German Reich. He also figured as the head of the Protestants in Carinthia.
A Protestant, Paul Khevenhüller (1593-1655) sided with the Swedish king during the Thirty Years' War lending Gustav Adolf 70 000 Swedish riksdalers to finance the war. After the king's death the Swedish state was incapable of repaying the loan and compensated the lender with the property of Julita Gård in Södermanland, which remained the residence of his descendants late into the 19th century.
Notable members of the House of Khevenhüller
Ulrich Khevenhüller (b. ca. 1430-1492), youngest son of Hans II Khevenhüller, knight
Johann Joseph Khevenhüller-Metsch (1706-1776), son of the former, 1763 Prince von Khevenhüller-Metsch; married to Karolina Maria Augustina Countess von Metsch, daughter of Count Johann Adolf
Johann Sigismund Friedrich (1732-1801), son of the former, 2nd Prince von Khevenhüller-Metsch; ? I Maria Amalia Susanna, Princess of Liechtenstein, daughter of Prince Emanuel; married to II Marie Josephine Henriette Barbara Countess of Strassoldo, daughter of Vinzenz
Karl Maria Joseph Johann Baptist Clemens (1756-1823), son of the former, 3rd Prince von Khevenhüller-Metsch; married to Therese Countess Morzin, daughter of Karl Joseph
Franz Maria Johann Joseph Hermann (1762-1837), brother of the former, 4th Prince von Khevenhüller-Metsch; married to I Maria Elisabeth Countess of Kuefstein, daughter of Johann Adam; married to II Maria Josepha Countess of Abensberg and Traun, daughter of Otto; married to III Christina Countess Zichy of Zich and Vasonykeö, daughter of Karl
Richard Maria Johann Basil (1813-1877), son of the former, 5th Prince zu Khevenhüller-Metsch; married to Antonia Maria Countess Lichnowsky, daughter of Prince Eduard
Johannes Franz Karl Eduard Joseph Nemesius (1839-1905), son of the former, 6th Prince zu Khevenhüller-Metsch; married to Eduardine Countess von Clam-Gallas, daughter of Eduard
Anton Sigismund Joseph Maria (1873-1945), nephew of the former, until 1919 (abolition of aristocratic titles) the 7th Prince zu Khevenhüller-Metsch; married to Gabriele Countess von Mensdorff-Pouilly
Franz Khevenhüller-Metsch (1889-1977); married to Anna Princess zu Fürstenberg (1894-1928), daughter of Maximilian Egon Prince zu Fürstenberg
Maximilian Khevenhüller-Metsch (1919-2010) married to Wilhelmine Gräfin Henckel von Donnersmarck (born 1932), daughter of Lazarus Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck (1902-1991) and Franziska Gräfin von und zu Eltz (1905-1997)
Johannes Khevenhüller-Metsch (1956-2020); married to Donna Camilla Borghese dei Principi di Nettuno (born 1962)
Current head of the Khevenhüller-Metsch family
Johannes Khevenhüller-Metsch (born as Maria Johannes Franz Xaver Lazarus Maximilian Felix Hubertus 10e Fürst von Khevenhüller-Metsch; 1956); married to Donna Camilla Borghese dei Principi di Nettuno (born 1962)
^Gschwend, Annemarie Jordan (2018). "The Emperor's Exotic and New World Animals: Hans Khevenhüller and the Habsburg Menageries in Vienna and Prague". In MacGregor, Arthur (ed.). Naturalists in the Field. Collecting, Recording and Preserving the Natural World from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century. Leiden: Brill. pp. 76-103.
^often incorr. called ?vice-regent". The Cassell English Dictionary, London 1990, p. 1469
Bernhard Czerwenka, Die Khevenhüller, Vienna: Braumüller, 1867.
Karl Dinklage, Kärnten um 1620. Die Bilder der Khevenhüllerchronik, Vienna: Edition Tusch, 1980.
Franz Müllner,Johann Carl Fürst Khevenhüller-Metsch, ein Kampfgefährte Kaiser Maximilians von Mexiko. In Maximilian von Mexiko 1832-1867, Vienna: Enzenhofer, 1974.