Monday, July 18, 2011

Austrian emperor invites granddaughter to spend winter with him

July 18, 1905

Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph has invited his granddaughter, Princess Otto of Windisch-Graetz, "with her husband and her two little boys, to spend the coming winter with him" as his guests at Schönbrunn, writes the Marquise de Fontenoy in her latest column.

Princess Otto is the only child of the late "ill-fated" Crown Prince Rudolf.  After his death, the former Archduchess Elisabeth was "brought up almost entirely under the supervision of her grandfather, the emperor."  Her mother, the former Crown Princess Stephanie, was allowed "little or no voice in her education."   She was also not permitted to take the young archduchess abroad, and as Stephanie traveled often, she saw very little of "the young archduchess," who was left "almost wholly to the mother and devoted Countess Condenhove, the grand mistress of the household. 

The relationship between Elisabeth and her mother has been further estranged by Stephanie's marriage with Count Lonyay.  Elisabeth remains "passionately devoted to the memory of her unhappy father, who she resembles in many ways," and she considers her mother's second marriage to "be an insult to his memory."

She refuses to have any contact with her mother's second husband."  Princess Otto renounced her title of archduchess and "her prerogatives as a princess of the reigning house of Austria, to accept when she married her husband's status of member of a mediatized family."  She rarely sees her mother, and, recently, the two have quarreled over the issue of money.

Princess Otto is "exceedingly rich," as she not only inherited her father's large fortune, but she also "benefited extensively under the will of her grandmother," the late Empress Elisabeth.  She was also "magnificently dowered by the emperor on the occasion of her marriage."

Stephanie is rather extravagant, and her daughter "has been obliged in self-defense" to turn a "deaf ear" to her mother's frequent demands for money.  Stephanie still receives a small allowance from the Emperor but she recently sold some of her jewels at public auction in Paris.

Franz Joseph has also let his daughter-in-law know that is not pleased with her decision to sue her father, King Leopold II of the Belgians, or to intervene with the situation between her sister, Louise, and the latter's estranged husband, Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

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