Emperor Franz Josef: Imperial Family Life

Figure 1.--This portrait shows the Imperal family about 1859. Emperor Franz Josef is at the left. Next to him is Arcchduke Maximilan has nor yet gotten involved in the disaterous Mexican adventure. Notice he is holding hands with his wife Charlotte who went mad because he was shot in Mexico. The Emperess Elizabeth without headwear is tending the children. Prince Rudolf is a baby on her lap. She apparently did not get on well with her mother-in-law pictured next to her. At the right is Archduke Karl Ludwig who disgraced the family. The elder gentelman is the Emperor's father--Archduke Karl Ludwig. He renounced his claims to the throne during the 1848 Revolution when his brother abdicated. This allowed his eldest son, Franz Joseph, to accept the crown.

We have little information on the Emperor and Emperess as parents. Available portraits shoan attemopt to portry a warm relationship between the Emperor and his son Rudolf when the boy was younf. Wether this was actually the case we do not know. We know nothing about the relationship between the Emperor and his daughters, We do know that there were tensions between various members of the royal family. The Emperor and Emperess were deeply involved. His mother continued, however, to have influence in family and court members. And Sisi had not been her first choice. And once Emperess, Sisi had trouble adapting to the very formal court. There were aeries of incidents between her and the Emperor's family. Tragedy visited early with the death of their first child--Sophie. Much later they lost Rudolf, their oldest son. Crown Prince Rudolf allegedly committed suuside in the notorious Mayerling incident (1889). There were problems with the brothers. Archduke Maximilian ignored his brothers warning and took up Napoleon III's offer of a Mexican crown. Archduke Karl Ludwig caused a scandal. He later died. After Rudolf's suiside, the Emperor's nephew Archduke Franz Ferdinand became next in line for the crown. Franz Ferdinand decided to marry a countess which Franz Joseph and the court decided was beneath the imperial dignity. It was permitted only on a morganatic basis. The Emperor refused to even attend the wedding. This destroyed the personal relationship between the two men.


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Created: 5:24 AM 5/31/20093
Last updated: 5:24 AM 5/31/2009