Friday, June 29, 2012

Franz Ferdinand's wife asks Pope for help

June 29, 1912

The Duchess of Hohenberg, the morganatic wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand  of Austria, heir to the throne, has "petitioned the Pope to endeavor to obtain for her the full rank accorded to her husband."

The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that Emperor Franz Joseph will be "approached by the Pope on the matter."

The Duchess has been "systematically snubbed by the ladies of the imperial family", due to her inferior rank.  At court functions, she is required to walk at "the extreme end" of a very long procession of about thirty archdukes and archduchesses.  Her husband walks behind the Emperor, with the most senioer Archduchess on his arm.

One of the most clever and accomplished of women in Austria, the Duchess has a lot of influence over husband,  and she knows he would not tolerate her situation, and she would gain "fuller rights" after Franz Ferdinand succeeds to the throne.

She has gained the sympathy of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  When the Duchess of  Hohenberg accompanied her husband to Germany for an official visit, the Emperor accorded her the "full honors as the wife of the heir to the Austrian throne," and escorted her to dinner.

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