Saturday, June 28, 2014

AUSTRIA: First World War centenary: the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, as it happened

Our journey starts with an extremely promising omen. Here our car burns, and down there they will throw bombs at us.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand comments wryly on the fact that his journey to Bosnia in June 1914 begins with his car overheating
The Archduke: Franz Ferdinand, the bumptious, little-loved 51-year-old nephew of the ailing Emperor Franz Joseph, was heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. In 1913 he was made inspector general of the armed forces of Austria-Hungary; it was this role that took him to Bosnia in June 1914, to inspect the army’s summer manoeuvres.
The Duchess: Franz Ferdinand married Countess Sophie Chotek for love, for which both paid a price. She was from a Czech noble family but was deemed unfit to be a Habsburg bride; she had been a lady-in-waiting to Archduchess Isabella, whose sister Franz Ferdinand was expected to marry. Their marriage was morganatic, meaning their children were excluded from the line of succession. Although she was made Duchess of Hohenberg in 1909, the slights were constant at functions such as imperial banquets, where she had to enter the room last.
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