October 5, 1909
The former Countess Sophie Chotek, the morganatic wife of the heir to the Austrian throne, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, has been given a new title and rank by Emperor Franz Joseph. Sophie is now the Duchess of Hohenberg with the rank of Highness. This elevation is seen by many as a positive change, and the possibility that when Franz Ferdinand succeeds to the throne, Sophie will be recognized as his consort. It was also announced today that the Duchess of Hohenberg will accompany her husband on an official trip to Berlin, where they will meet with Kaiser Wilhelm II.
When Franz Ferdinand married Sophie Chotek nine years ago, he declared that he will not make his wife Empress or Queen or allow his children to have succession rights when he succeeds to the throne. It is widely assumed that his view will change when he does become emperor of Austria and King of Hungary.