Francis Joseph's nephew Francis Ferdinand was made heir to the throne after the untimely death of Archduke Rudolf. I know little of his childhood or how he was dressed as a boy. Historians have written a great deal about Franz Ferdinand and very little of it has been very positive. Franz Ferdinand has been referred to as a miser, a bigot, and a spoiled child. He was shunned by the elite of Viennese society. One observer called "the loneliest man in Vienna". Francis Ferdinand appears to have lacked the two key elements for success in political life--charm and elegance. His Family life, however, appears to have been surprisingly better. His marriage to Countess Sophia von Chotkowa und Wognin, Duchess of Hohenburg in 1900 was called one of the world's great love affairs. Unfortunately the Emperor considered the Duchess a commoner and tried to convince Franz Ferdinand he was marrying beneath his station. They went through with the marriage against the Emperor's wishes but had to renounce rights of rank and succession for their children. In the years to come, Sophie would not be allowed to ride in the same car with her husband during affairs of state. I do not yet have details on Francis Ferdinand and Sofia's children. There was at least two boys and a girl. Theboys were often dresses alike.
Sofia seems to have liked sailor suits even though Austria had only a
small navy. The Archduke and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, their 14th wedding anniversary, by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. The Archduke's role of Inspector General of the Austrian army had brought him to Sarajevo for the summer maneuvers. Neither Emperor Franz Josef or the Kaiser saw fit to attend the funeral. A strange reaction when in reaction to the assasination, they were to plunge Europe into the First World War which would result in the end of both the Austrian and German monarchies. Franz Ferdinand was third in line to the throne at one point, he became heir through two untimely deaths. The first was of the Emperor's son, Crown Prince Rudolph, who killed himself (and his 16 year old mistress) in 1889. The second was the death of his father, Archduke Charles Louis, in 1896. After which it was Franz Ferdinand that would be next in line for the Austrian crown.
Franz Ferdinand's father was Austrian Arch Duke Karl Ludwig (1833- ). His mother was Annunciata of Sicily de Bourbon (1843- ).
Franz Ferdinand's father was Austrian Arch Duke Karl Ludwig (1833- ). Karl Ludwig's father was Arch Duke Franz Karl (1802), a son of Emperor Francis II (1768- ). His mother was Princess Sophie (Wittelsbach) of Bavaria (1824- ). There were three children. The eldest was Emperor Franz Josef (1830- ). The second son was Maximilian (1832-67) who the Emperor Napoleon III of France tried to set up as Emperor of Mexico with French troops in 1864. He was killed 3 years later by Mexican recolutionaries. Karl Ludwig was the third and youngest son.
Francis Ferdinand's mother was Princess Annunciata of Sicily de Bourbon (1843- ). Her father was
King Ferdinand II (de Bourbon) of the Two Sicilies (1810- ) and Marie Therese (Habsburg-Lotharingen) (1816- ). The royal couple were married in 1862 at the chapel of the Imperial Palace in Venice. She was a beautiful woman, but sufferered from tuberculosis. Her lifelong invalidism appears to have fed a soaring ambition. She longed for a son who, one day who would become emperor. She showed little affection, however, to bany of her children. Her illness may have been a factor here.
Franz Fernidand had sfive siblings from two of his father's three marriages. His first wife was his first cousin Margaretha of Saxony (1856). She died unexpectedly (1858). They had no children. He then married Princess Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1862). They had four children including Franz Ferdinand. Doctors had advised her for medical reasons of the dangers of child birth. She was not an engaged mother and displayed little affection toward her chidren. Maria Annunciata died after 9 years of marriage and four children(1871). Arch Duke Ludwig Karl married a third time to the Portuguese Infanta Maria Theresa (1873). They had two girls who were thus Franz Ferdinand's half sisters. In contrast to his own mother, Maria Theresa who was very young showed consuderable affection toward her step children.
Franz (Francis) was born in 1863, the oldest son from his father's first marriage with Princess Annunciata (Bourbon) of Sicily.
Franz Ferdinand had a younger brother, Otto Habsburg-Lotharingen. Otto was a healthy, hansome boy in contrast to his sickly older briother. He has been referred to as the "beautiful Otto". He has also been decribed as both
both extravagant and hedonistic. Otto married Maria Josepha (Wettin) of Saxony in 1886. Her father was King George of Saxony (1832- ) and Maria Anna of Saxe Coburg Gotha (1843- ). Otto died while still quite young, only age 41 years (1905). It is assumed that his hedonistic life style oplayed a role in his early death. , probably due to his excesses in life. His only son, became Emperor Karl I after the death of Emperor Franz Josef (1916).
Archduke Ferdinand Karl of Austria was born (1868). He is described as the most sensitive of the three brothers. Like his father, Karl Ludwig, he showed an interest in artistic and scientific matters. He was short and modest. Some have described him as retiring. Franz Ferdinand and Ferdinand Karl moved apart when Franz Ferdinand aggresively pursued rights for Sophie. Ferdinand Karl offered no support for his brother and refused to attend Franz Ferdinand's wedding. This was a slight that Franz Ferdinand woukd not forgive.
Other issues would mnove them apart even further. Ironically, Ferdinand Karl married morganatically himself to Bertha Czuber. And received the same harsh treatment that his brother had received. There were no children.
Archduchess Margarete Sophie of Austria was born (1870). While still very young she became Äbtissin of the Foundation of Noble Ladies (1886). A few years later she renounced her position (not bound by perpetual vows) to marry Duke Albrecht von Württemberg (1893). The couple had two sons and three daughters. She died while still quite young (1902).
Franz Ferdinand had two half sisters. His father Karl Ludwig married for a third time to Maria Teresa da Imaculda, Kleinheubach to de Bragança (1873). The first child was Archduchess Maria Annunziata of Austria (1876). She becane Abbess of the Theresia Convent in the Hradschin, Prague. She essentially took her half sister's place.
Prague at the time of course was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but after World War I became the capital of independent Czechoslovakia.
Elisabeth Amalia was born (1878). She married Prince Aloys of Liechtenstein (1903). It was a happy marriage. They had eight children including Franz Joseph II of Liechtenstein.
HBC at this time knows little of hFranzFerdinand's childhood. Francis Ferdinand was born in 1863, a weak child, some thought he would not survive. He was careful nursed, but not by his mother. Perhaps because of his weakness, he was pampered and spoiled as a child. As a boy, Franz Ferdinand would reportedly display unreasoning jealousy towards his robust younger brother Otto, a happy, healthy child. The elder boy's relations with his
stepmother were, however, very close. At the age of 12 took the name of Este upon inheriting the large fortune of the deceased Duke of Modena. annd spent a greatvdeal of time at Schloss Wartholz at the foot of the Raxalpe in Austria. He grew up to healthy manhood, though for many years his health was very delicate.
HBC does not know how Franz Ferdinand was dressed as a boy.
Franz Ferdinand at age 14 was appointed a second lieutenant, athough he still remained at home. When he was appointed a first lieutenant he sent to Enns, a small town, to join the Dragoons. Conditions there were strange to him and he was not on good terms with his fellow officers, perhaps because many of them had to earn their appoinments. He was promoted to major in 1888 and transfered to the 102nd Infantry Regiment in Prague. This reportedly was a pleasnt assihnment as he had been bored in the little town of Enns. Prague was a more lively city. He lived in the Hradzhin and had hoped to enjoying music, life,
company as did the other officers. But this did not occur. His presence appears to have had a paralysing effect on those around him. It was on January 30, 1889, on returning home from duty that he learned the Crown Prince Rudolph had died at Meyerling in mysterious circumstances. It was at this time he realized that he might become Emperor. Rudolph's death meant that Francis Ferdinand's father was next in succession to the throne of Austria-Hungary. However, in view of his advanced age, Francis Ferdinand himself could be regarded as the de facto heir to the throne.
Historians have written a great deal about Franz Ferdinand and very little of it has been very positive. Franz Ferdinand has been referred to as a miser, a bigot, and a spoiled child. He was shunned by the elite of Viennese society, in part because of his wife. One observer called "the loneliest man in Vienna". Francis Ferdinand appears to have lacked the two key elements for success in political life--charm and elegance. One observer describes him as, "... a young man of strong and energetic personality, intelligent, very religious, but by temperament he was excitable. He was self-contained, had few intimate friends, and was little known to the people." [Horthy]
Franz Ferdinand as a young man did not expect to be Emperor. Now it looked like he would succeed Franz Josef, he decided to prepare for the position. Ruling a large multi-ethnic Empire demanded a an understanding of political science and of the several languages of the dual monarchy. The Archduke also thought that he should know more of the world beyonf Asrto-Hungary. He decided to undertake a long sea voyage which would also be beneficial for his health. Such a journey required diplomatic preparation, even though he planned to travel incognito as the Count of Hohenberg. Couriers, in those days, took a long time to reach distant parts of the world and return with answers. In addition the Emperor had to approve. The Empress Elizabeth helped to convince the Emperor. Framz Ferdinand on December 15, 1892, left Trieste on the armoured cruiser Kaiserin Elisabeth. The Archduke Leopold joined the expedition. This proved tonbe a mistake. The two Archdukes were
temperamentally different. They quarrelled, and at Sydney, Australia, Archduke Leopold had to leave the ship and return to Europe on his own. He was dismissed from the Navy and transferred to an Infantry Regiment at Brunn. Later, as a result of his marriage to a woman not of equal birth, he lost his rank and emigrated to Switzerland, where he lived under the name of Leopold Wölfling, dying there after World War I. The return voyage from Yokohama was made in a luxury liner and a visit was paid to the United States. The Archduke, by making his voyage out in one of the ships of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, was impressed. It also drew him closer to Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was beginning to build a German Navy. He later insisted on Austria-Hungary expanding its fleet. This demand met with little understanding from the Austro-Hungarian Parliaments. [Horthy]
Sophie was born in Stuttgart, but she was not German. She was born into a Czech (Bohemian) family of the lesser nobility (1868). She was the fourth daughter of Count Bohuslaw Chotek von Chotkow und Wognin. Her mother was Countess Wilhelmine Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau. We have no information about her childhood or education. As a Czech aristocrat, she became lady-in-waiting to the Archduchess Isabella, the wife of Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen. This was the imperial court in Prague.
The Emperor advised the Archduke to bring some fresh blood into the family. He was even prepared to consider an alliance with a non-Catholic dynasty. Franz Ferdinand, however, met the Countess Sophia at the Court in Prague and fell passionately in love. A secret love-affair ensued at Pressburg. Everything was discovered through a lost locket which contained a photograph of Franz Ferdinand. When the Archduchess learned tht Franz Ferdinand was visiting not to see, not one of Isabella's eligible daughters, but instead her lady-in-waiting, she dismissed Sophie and sent her packing. It is then that Franz Ferdinand insisted on marrying her. Unfortunately the Emperor considered the Duchess a commoner and tried to convince his nephew that he was marrying beneath his station. Franz Ferdinand, however, would not relent. The Emperor discussed the matter with the aged Archdukes, who agreed with his views. The marriage was a matter of sharp disagreement between Emperoer Franz Josef and his nephew which destoyed their relationship which was not string to begin with. Kaiser WilhemI, TsarNicholas II, anmd Pope Leo XII attemped to mediate the issue. Finally it was decided that Archduke Franz Ferdinand could enter into a morganatic marriage without endangering his own right to the succession. His wife and children, however, could not be admitted into the Imperial family. The heir apparent would thus be Archduke Karl (Charles), the eldest son of Francis Ferdinand's brother, Archduke Otto. Archduke Francis Ferdinand declared himself willing to agree to these conditions. The Archduke swore a solemn oath to that effect (June 28, 1900). In the Privy Council Chamber of the Imperial Palace, the Archdukes, the high dignitaries of the realm and the Speakers of the Lower and Upper Houses were called together. His Majesty stood before the throne; the Prince Cardinal the Archbishop of Vienna offered the Archduke the Book of the Gospels, upon which he placed his hand as he read out the form of oath handed him by the Hungarian Prince Primate, the concluding sentence of which ran, "That we shall never attempt to revoke our present declaration or to put our hand to anything aiming at weakening or lifting its binding power."
Shortly after the Archduke swore his assesnt to the morganatic marriage, in the chapel of the Reichstadt Castle in Bohemia, his marriage with Countess Sophia was solemnized. The consort of the Archduke was handed a congratulatory telegram from His Majesty, addressed to the Princess Hohenberg. Franz Ferdinand's marriage to Countess Sophia in 1900 was called one of the world's great love affairs. They went through with the marriage against the Emperor's wishes. The Emperor and the royal family did not attend the marriage ceremony.
The Countess Sophia after marrying ArchdukecFranz Ferdinand was given the title Princess Hohenberg, but Franz Ferdinand had to renounce rights of rank and succession for their children. In the years to come, Sophie was the recipient of many slights at court.
Public life as a result could be very un comfortable. Court protocol was perhaps the most formal in Europe. There were strict rules for virtually everything. She was not allowed, for example, to ride in the same car/coach with her husband during affairs of state. When appearing with the royal family, she would be placed in the background, separated from her husband. One especially galling practice was the way that individuals may their ebtrace for state events. The Emperor would come first and the Archduke France Ferdinand soon after. Sophie wouuld have to wit, however, until a large number of higher ranking women entered until she could join her husband. Gradually the Emperor relented simewhat. The Emperor elevated Sophie to the rank of Duchess (1905). This brought the privlige of being addressed as "Serene Highness". Hecraised here title again--Duchess, Highness ad Personum (1909). This brought the privlidge of being addressed as "Highness". Even so, the couple with their children retreated into their family life or events where they were not subjected to petty slights from the Imperial court. Of course as the heir apparent, there were many events which required their presence or wghere there absence would have been awkward. And they made appearances away from court where there wwould be no awkward etiquitte and rank complications. One such event would be the tragic state visit to Bosnia.
HBRC does not yet have much information on Archduke Francis Ferdinand and Sofia's children. We know that the royal couple had four children. They were styled von Hohenberg, the title given to their mother. We have little information about the children or what happened to them after their parents were assasinated (1914). Princess Sophie von Hohenberg (1901-90), married Count Friedrich von Nostitz-Rieneck (1891-1973).
Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg (1902-62), married Countess Elisabeth von Waldburg zu Wolfegg und Waldsee (1904-93). Prince Ernst von Hohenberg (1904-54), married Marie-Therese Wood (1910-85). There was also a stillborn son (1908). Of course their parents morgatic marriage would have been reen to have been a great tragedy for them, but within only a few yearts the Austro-Hungarian Empire would be gone and all dynasstic claims meaningless.
We do not have a lot of informatuion on the children's clothes, but we have found some photographs that provides some information. As younger children the boys wore dresses. The ones we see are frilly white dresses. Their mother seems to have liked to add necklasses. The boys were often dressed alike. Sofia seems to have also liked sailor suits even though Austria had only a small navy. Most of the ohotographs of the boys after breeching show them wearing traditionally styled sailor suits, usually long pants sailor suits. There seems to hve been little variety in their clothing. The Arch Duke, however, did take an interest in naval affairs.
The Archduke was rather stiff and formal and made few friends. Even before the marriage crisis he does not appear to hsve been very popular, even among fsamily members at court. His on family life, however, appears to have been surprisingly better. He appears, however, to have made a wonderful father and husband. Images of the royal family, however, usually show happy children. Their family life was very important. The Arch Duke when he married Countess Sophie that the family would be socially ostricized by most of the rest of the family. He also knew rgat theur children who were denied the rights and privileges that were afforded young archdukes and archduchesses needed to be shielded from the all tocommon snubs to their mother. As a result, family life took on a special importance. And by all accounts, the children has very pleasant chilhoods with their fully engaged parents. A letter the Arch Duke wrote to his stepmother Maria Theresia during 1904 provides a window into family life, "The most intelligent thing I've ever done in my life has been the marriage to my Soph. She is everything to me: my wife, my adviser, my doctor, my warner, in a word: my entire happiness. Now, after four years, we love each other as on our first year of marriage, and our happiness has not been marred for a single second."
The boys even as very young children still wearing dresses did not have long hair. We do see curly hair over their ears. After about 5 years of age or so their hair was cut in more boyish styles. The girl had long hair with bows.
The Archduke held the rank of Admiral and was appointed the Emperor's deputy as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. He wasAdvised by Conrad von Hötzendorf, the Chief of the General Staff, and wielded considerable influence over military affairs. He found it difficult, however, to assert himself politically. The Emperor, in spite of his advanced age, was not the man to submit to external pressure, even if it were brought to bear by a close relative. He listened to the views of his advisers, but it was understandable that, after occupying the throne for more than 6 decades, he preferred making as few changes as possible in the affairs of state and government. That the Archduke had views entirely opposed to the Emperor on certain important topics was well known. It was becoming increasingly clear that the Archduke disapproved of the Austro-Hungarian dualism. Francis Ferdinand had in mind a reorganization of the state in a threefold, federative form. In this matter, he came into progressive conflict with Hungary and this conflict found expression in his personal dislike of the Magyar nobility. He was perhaps influenced in this by his wife's family and circle, as also by other considerations. Even as commanding officer of the 9th Hussars at Sopron (Ödenburg), the Archduke had been involved in a marked clash of opinions when he had
complained to the Colonel that he had found his men all speaking Hungarian. The Colonel replied that officer would certainly not speak Hungarian in the presence of people ignorant of that language, but that among themselves they would certainly continue to use their mother tongue. It was a known fact that the Archduke had frequent conferences with the leaders of the national minorities in the Budapest Parliament such as the Slovak,
Hodza, and the Rumanians, Vajda Vojvod and Julius Maniu. [Horthy]
The Archduke's plan to unite into a confederacy all the South Slav territory, i.e. Slovenia and Dalmatia, which belonged to Austria, Croatia, the land of the Crown of St. Stephen, and the State lands of Bosnia-Herzegovina, roused fierce antagonism in the Serbian nationalists, who were aiming at acquiring an outlet to the sea and a South-Slav realm with Belgrade as its capital. Had the plan of the heir to the throne materialized, this Austrain Yugo-Slavia would have exerted an irresistible attraction on the Serbs by reason of its great political and economic advantages. And this the shrewd Serbian Prime Minister Pasic knew full well. So did the Russians. The secret organization of the Serbian nationalists, the Crna Ruka or Black Hand, instigated the murder at Sarajevo, thus
setting in motion the avalanche that engulfed the heir to the throne as the first victim in its fatal path. [Horthy]
Kaisser Wilhelm II went out of his way to cultivate good relations with Emperpor Franz Josef and his heir Franz Ferdinand, his nephew. While Wilhelm and the Emperor's son Rudolf dismissed each other, the Kaiser got on much better with Franz Ferdinand. Wilhelm in particular went out of his way to be courteous to Sofia who was so badly treated by the Austrian court. This was greatly appreciated by Franz Ferdinand himself. This was interesting as Wilhelm was not known for his tact and he reacted very differently when the Battenburgs wanted to marry into his family.
The Archduke and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia on June 28, 1914, their 14th wedding anniversary, by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. The Archduke's role of Inspector General of the Austrian army had brought him to Sarajevo for the summer maneuvers. Coming to Bosnia on of all days the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo Pale was sure to arouse the emotions of Serbs who took it as a personal affront. I'm not sure to what extent the Archduke was aware of the passions involved. Surely he would not have exposed his wife to the dnger if he was. The Archduke appers to have disregard the most basic safety precautions. The local authorities appaer to have concentrated securitybprecautiions on the main streets where it was assumed that the official cars would be driven. As the cars had set out for the Town Hall, a bomb had been thrown at them, severely injuring the Archduke's aide-de-camp. Rather than intensifying security, on leaving the Town Hall, the Archduke ordered his car to be driven to the hospital to which his aide-de-camp had been taken so he could personally checkmon his condition and care. As his car turned slowly into a side street out of the well-guarded main street, the grammar school boy, Gavrilo Princip, took advantage of the confusion arising from the approach of the Archducal car to fire two pistol-shots with lethal accuracy. The dying Duchess of Hohenberg sank on to the shoulder of her mortally wounded husband. Both were taken to the Konak, the residence of General Potiorek, the commanding officer. The Archduke died shortly afterwards without regaining consciousness. The bodies were brought back to Vienna for a state funeral. Neither Emperor Franz Josef or the Kaiser saw fit to attend the funeral. This would seem a strange reaction when in response to the assasination, they were to plunge Europe into World War I which would result in the loss of millions of lives and end both the Austrian and German monarchies.
Francis Joseph's nephew Francis Ferdinand was made heir to the throne after the untimely death of Archduke Rudolf. Franz Ferdinand was third in line to the throne at one point, he became heir through two untimely deaths. The first was of the Emperor's son, Crown Prince Rudolph, who killed himself (and his 16-year old mistress) in 1889. The second was the death of his father, Archduke Charles Louis, in 1896. After which it was Franz Ferdinand that would be next in line for the Austrian crown. Becuse of his marriage, Franz Ferdinand's children did not have dynastic rights. Next in line of succession would thus be Archduke Karl, the eldest son of Francis Ferdinand's brother, Archduke Otto.
Admiral Miklós Horthy, Memoirs, chappter 4.
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