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Franz Ferdinand

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Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out Listen Send to Phone
Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out Listen Send to Phone

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Biography

Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria-Este (December 18, 1863 – June 28, 1914) was an Archduke of Austria, Prince Imperial of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, and from 1896 until his death, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His assassination in Sarajevo precipitated the Austrian declaration of war. This caused countries allied with Austria-Hungary (the Central Powers) and countries allied with Serbia (the Entente Powers) to declare war on each other, starting World War I.

Franz Ferdinand (Full Name: Franz Ferdinand Karl Ludwig Josef von Habsburg-Lothringen), was born in Graz, Austria, the eldest son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria (younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph and Maximilian I of Mexico) and of his second wife, Princess Maria Annunciata of the Two Sicilies. When he was only twelve years old, his cousin Duke Francis V of Modena died, naming Franz Ferdinand his heir on condition that he add the name Este to his own. Franz Ferdinand thus became one of the wealthiest men in Austria.

When he was born, there was no reason to think that Franz Ferdinand would ever be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. He was given the normal strict education of an archduke with an emphasis on history and moral character. From 1876 to 1885 his tutor was the historian Onno Klopp. In 1883 Franz Ferdinand entered the army with the rank of third lieutenant.

Franz Ferdinand refused to consider marrying anyone else. Pope Leo XIII, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and the German Emperor Wilhelm II all made representations on Franz Ferdinand's behalf to the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, arguing that the disagreement between Franz Joseph and Franz Ferdinand was undermining the stability of the monarchy.

Finally, in 1899, the Emperor Franz Joseph agreed to permit Franz Ferdinand to marry Sophie, on condition that the marriage would be morganatic and that their descendants would not have succession rights to the throne. Sophie would not share her husband's rank, title, precedence, or privileges; as such, she would not normally appear in public beside him. She would not be allowed to ride in the royal carriage, or sit in the royal box.

The wedding took place on July 1, 1900, at Reichstadt (now Zákupy) in Bohemia; Franz Joseph did not attend the affair, nor did any archduke including Franz Ferdinand's brothers. The only members of the imperial family who were present were Franz Ferdinand's stepmother, Maria Theresia, and her two daughters. Upon the marriage, Sophie was given the title Princess of Hohenberg (Fürstin von Hohenberg) with the style Her Serene Highness (Ihre Durchlaucht). In 1909, she was given the more senior title Duchess of Hohenberg (Herzogin von Hohenberg) with the style Her Highness (Ihre Hoheit). This raised her status considerably, but she still took precedence at court after all the archduchesses. Whenever a function required the couple to gather with the other members of royalty, Sophie was forced to stand far down the line of importance, separated from her husband.

A rattle began to issue from his throat, which subsided as the car drew in front of the Konak (Town Hall). (Despite several doctors' efforts, the Archduke died shortly after being carried into the building while his beloved wife was almost certainly dead from internal bleeding before the motorcade reached the Konak.) - Les Gillard



 


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