Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria

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Rudolf
Crown Prince of Austria
Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia
Mayerling10.jpg
Born (1858-08-21)21 August 1858
Laxenburg, Austrian Empire
Died 30 January 1889(1889-01-30) (aged 30)
Mayerling, Austria-Hungary
Burial
Spouse
Issue Archduchess Elisabeth Marie
Full name
German: Rudolf Franz Karl Joseph
English: Rudolph Francis Charles Joseph
House Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Franz Joseph I of Austria
Mother Elisabeth of Bavaria
Religion Roman Catholicism
Austrian Royalty
House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Imperial Coat of Arms of the Empire of Austria (1815).svg
Francis I (Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor)
Children include
Archduchess Marie Louise
Ferdinand I
Archduchess Maria Leopoldina
Archduchess Clementina
Archduke Franz Karl
Grandchildren include
Franz Joseph I
Archduke Maximilian
Archduke Karl Ludwig
Archduke Ludwig Viktor
Great-grandchildren include
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Archduke Otto Franz
Ferdinand I
Franz Joseph I
Children
Archduchess Sophie
Archduchess Gisela
Crown Prince Rudolf
Archduchess Marie Valerie
Grandchildren include
Archduchess Elisabeth Marie
Charles I
Children include
Crown Prince Otto
Archduke Robert
Archduke Felix
Archduke Karl Ludwig
Archduke Rudolf
Grandchildren include
Archduchess Andrea
Archduchess Monika
Archduchess Michaela
Archduchess Gabriela
Archduchess Walburga
Archduke Karl
Archduke Georg
Archduke Lorenz
Great-Grandchildren include
Archduke Ferdinand Zvonimir
Archduke Amedeo

Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria (21 August 1858 – 30 January 1889) was the only son and third child of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth of Bavaria. He was heir apparent to the throne of Austria-Hungary from birth. In 1889, he died in a suicide pact with his mistress, Baroness Mary Vetsera, at the Mayerling hunting lodge.[1] The ensuing scandal made international headlines. He was named after the first Habsburg King of Germany, Rudolf I, who assumed the throne in 1273.[2]

Background

Rudolf was born at Schloss Laxenburg,[3] a castle near Vienna, as the son of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth. Influenced by his tutor Ferdinand von Hochstetter (who later became the first superintendent of the Imperial Natural History Museum), Rudolf became very interested in natural sciences, starting a mineral collection at an early age.[3] After his death, large portions of his mineral collection came into the possession of the University for Agriculture in Vienna.[3]

In 1877 the Count of Bombelles was master of the young prince. Bombelles was the former custodian of his aunt Empress Charlotte of Mexico.[4]

Rudolf was raised together with his older sister Gisela and the two were very close. At the age of six, Rudolf was separated from his sister as he began his education to become a future emperor. This did not change their relationship and Gisela remained close to him until she left Vienna upon her marriage to Prince Leopold of Bavaria.

In contrast with his deeply conservative father, Rudolf held liberal views, that were closer to those of his mother.[5] Nevertheless, his relationship with her was, at times, strained.[5]

Marriage

In Vienna, on 10 May 1881, Rudolf married Princess Stéphanie of Belgium, a daughter of King Leopold II of the Belgians, at the Augustinian's Church in Vienna. Although their marriage was initially a happy one, by the time their only child, the Archduchess Elisabeth, was born on 2 September 1883, the couple had drifted apart, and he found solace in drink and other female companionship. Rudolf started having many affairs, and wanted to write to Pope Leo XIII about the possibility of annulling his marriage to Stéphanie, but the Emperor forbade it.[5] In 1886, spouses were diagnosed with gonorrhea, which rendered Stéphanie sterile.[6]

Affairs and suicide

In 1886, Rudolf bought Mayerling, a hunting lodge.[7] In late 1888, the 30-year-old crown prince met the 17-year-old Baroness Marie Vetsera, known by the more fashionable Anglophile name Mary, and began an affair with her.[8] On 30 January 1889, he and Vetsera were discovered dead in the lodge as a result of an apparent joint suicide. As suicide would prevent him from being given a church burial, Rudolf was officially declared to have been in a state of "mental unbalance", and he was buried in the Imperial Crypt (Kapuzinergruft) of the Capuchin Church in Vienna. Vetsera's body was smuggled out of Mayerling in the middle of the night and secretly buried in the village cemetery at Heiligenkreuz.[7][9] The Emperor had Mayerling converted into a penitential convent of Carmelite nuns and endowed a chantry so that daily prayers would eternally be said by the nuns for the repose of Rudolf's soul.[10]

Vetsera's private letters were discovered in a safe deposit box in an Austrian bank in 2015, and they revealed that she was preparing to commit suicide alongside Rudolf, out of love.[11]

Effect of Rudolf's death

Rudolf's death plunged his mother into despair. She wore black or pearl grey, the colours of mourning, for the rest of her life and spent more and more time away from the imperial court in Vienna. Empress Elisabeth was murdered while abroad in Geneva, Switzerland in 1898 by an Italian anarchist, Luigi Lucheni.[12]

Politically, Rudolf's death left Franz Joseph without a direct male heir. Franz-Joseph's younger brother, Archduke Karl Ludwig, was next in line to the Austro-Hungarian throne,[13] though it was falsely reported that he had renounced his succession rights.[14] In any case, his death in 1896 from typhoid made his eldest son, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the new heir presumptive. In 1914, Franz Ferdinand's assassination precipitated World War I. Emperor Franz-Joseph died in November 1916 and was succeeded by his grandnephew, Karl. The demands of American President Wilson forced Emperor Karl to renounce involvement in state affairs in Vienna in early November 1918. As a result, the empire ceased to exist and a republic came into being without revolution. Karl and his family went into exile in Switzerland after spending a short time at Castle Eckarstau.

In popular culture

Titles, styles and honours

Titles and styles

  • 21 August 1858 – 30 January 1889: His Imperial and Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Austria, Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia[16]

Honours

Domestic[17]
Foreign[17]

Ancestors

Gallery

See also

Notes

  1. ^ As documented in several autograph letters by the two unfortunate lovers ANSA newsbrief (in Italian)
  2. ^ Timothy Snyder (2008) 'The Red Prince, p.9. ISBN 978-0-465-00237-5
  3. ^ a b c "Crown Prince Rudolf (1858–1889)" (museum notes), Natural History Museum of Vienna, 2006, NHM-Wien-Rudolfe.
  4. ^ http://www.biographien.ac.at/oebl/oebl_B/Bombelles_Karl-Albert_1832_1889.xml
  5. ^ a b c "Young Wilhelm". Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  6. ^ Holler, Gerd (7 April 1980). "„Bratfisch hat wundervoll gepfiffen"". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  7. ^ a b Schmöckel, Sonja. "CSI Mayerling – How did the crown prince really die?". The World of the Habsburgs. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  8. ^ Louise of Coburg, My Own Affairs, George H. Doran Co., 1921, p.120
  9. ^ Butkuviene, Gerda (March 11, 2012). "Book Review: Myths of Mayerling". The Vienna Review. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  10. ^ BUTKUVIENE, Gerda (March 2011). "Book Review: Myths of Mayerling Crime at Mayerling. The Life and Death of Mary Vetsera, by Georg Markus; The Habsburgs' Tragedy, by Leo Belmonto". Falter.at.
  11. ^ Press release Archived 31 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine from the Austrian National Library, 31 July 2015 (German)
  12. ^ "European royalty Austria: Crown Prince Rudolf". Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Carl Menger's Lectures to Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria". Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  14. ^ "The Crown Prince's Successor". New York Times. 2 February 1889.
  15. ^ http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/5779956
  16. ^ Kaiser Joseph II. harmonische Wahlkapitulation mit allen den vorhergehenden Wahlkapitulationen der vorigen Kaiser und Könige. Since 1780 official title used for princes ("zu Ungarn, Böhmen, Dalmatien, Kroatien, Slawonien, Königlicher Erbprinz")
  17. ^ a b Hof- und Staats-Handbuch der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie (1889), Genealogy pp. 1-2
  18. ^ "Toison Autrichienne (Austrian Fleece) - 19th century" (in French), Chevaliers de la Toison D'or. Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  19. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Koophandel (De) 06-03-1880
  21. ^ Jørgen Pedersen (2009). Riddere af Elefantordenen, 1559–2009 (in Danish). Syddansk Universitetsforlag. p. 472. ISBN 978-87-7674-434-2.
  22. ^ Membership of the Constantinian Order Archived 2013-09-21 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Sveriges statskalender (1881) p.378" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-01-06 – via runeberg.org.
  24. ^ Wm. A. Shaw, The Knights of England, Volume I (London, 1906) page 68
  25. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1860). "Habsburg, Franz Joseph I." . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). 6. p. 227 – via Wikisource.
  26. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1860). "Habsburg, Elisabeth Amalia Eugenia" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). 6. p. 173 – via Wikisource.
  27. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1860). "Habsburg, Franz Karl Joseph" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). 6. p. 257 – via Wikisource.
  28. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1861). "Habsburg, Sophie (geb. 27. Jänner 1805)" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). 7. p. 149 – via Wikisource.
  29. ^ a b Körner, Hans-Michael (1990), "Maximilian, Herzog in Bayern (Pseudonym Phantasus)", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 16, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 495–496; (full text online)

Further reading

  • Barkeley, Richard. The Road to Mayerling: Life and Death of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria. London: Macmillan, 1958.
  • Franzel, Emil. Crown Prince Rudolph and the Mayerling Tragedy: Fact and Fiction. Vienna : V. Herold, 1974.
  • Hamann, Brigitte. Kronprinz Rudolf: Ein Leben. Wien: Amalthea, 2005, ISBN 3-85002-540-3.
  • Listowel, Judith Márffy-Mantuano Hare, Countess of. A Habsburg Tragedy: Crown Prince Rudolf. London: Ascent Books, 1978.
  • Lonyay, Károly. Rudolph: The Tragedy of Mayerling. New York: Scribner, 1949.
  • Morton, Frederic. A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888/1889. Penguin 1979
  • Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria. Majestät, ich warne Sie... Geheime und private Schriften. Edited by Brigitte Hamann. Wien: Amalthea, 1979, ISBN 3-85002-110-6 (reprinted München: Piper, 1998, ISBN 3-492-20824-X).
  • Salvendy, John T. Royal Rebel: A Psychological Portrait of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1988.

External links

  • Media related to Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria at Wikimedia Commons
  • A profile of Marie Vetsera
  • Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria at Find a Grave
  • IMDB on various Mayerling Films
  • Crown Prince Rudolfs death
  • Newspaper clippings about Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
Rudolf von Habsburg-Lorraine
Cadet branch of the House of Habsburg
Born: 21 August 1858 Died: 30 January 1889
Austro-Hungarian royalty
Preceded by
Ferdinand Maximilian
Heir to the Austrian throne
21 August 1858 – 30 January 1889
Succeeded by
Karl Ludwig
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