Crown Prince Rudolf
Crown Prince Rudolf was born on the 21st August 1858 in Laxenburg and died on the 30th January 1889 in Mayerling,
Rudolf was Archduke of Austria and heir-apparent to the thrones of Austria, Bohemia and Hungary.
His parents were Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
Rudolf began his education at a very early age and was trained to become the future heir to the throne. Rudolf's relationship with his father was a difficult one. Rudolf had very liberal views and was therefore never allowed to be involved in state affairs.
Rudolf and Stephanie
On the 10th May 1881, Rudolf married Stephanie of Belgium at the Augustine’s Church in Vienna. Their only child was the named Elisabeth and was born on the 2nd September 1883. Rudolf and Stephanie had a difficult marriage and as years passed by Rudolf went his own way and tended to search for other female companionship and soon began his search for the joys of life free from his Imperial obligations.
In 1887, Rudolf purchased and adapted a hunting lodge near to Mayerling.
In November 1888, the Archduke met the young Countess Mary Vetsera and the affair began. Mary soon focused all her attention on the Rudolf and the affair was seen as being foolish and compromising for the Imperial family.
The hunting Lodge in Mayerling, Lower Austria
Crown Prince Rudolf and his mistress Countess Mary Vetsera were found dead in the Imperial hunting lodge at Mayerling early on the morning of the 30th January 1889.
Crown Prince Rudolf on his deathbed
Emperor Franz Joseph did everything he could to keep the real circumstances behind the tragedy of Mayerling secret, especially the involvement of Mary Vetsera. This, together with the cause of death, was a disaster for the very catholic Imperial court. To confess that the heir to the throne had not only committed suicide but also murdered Mary Vetsera, would have brought unbearable shame on the crown. Slowly, snippets of information leaked out and partially true versions of the tragic death of the heir to the throne were made available to the public.
Baroness Marie Alexandrine von Vetsera
Mary Vetsera was born on the 19th March 1871
and died In Mayerling on the 30th January 1889.