Friday, February 1, 2013

A new heir for Austria

February 1, 1889

Austria has a new heir presumptive, reports the New York Times today.  Following the tragic death of Archduke Rudolf, the only son of Emperor Franz Joseph,  the next male heir is the Emperor's brother, Archduke Karl Ludwig.  But it was announced today that he has "renounced his rights of succession" in favor of his son, Franz Ferdinand.

The act of renunciation was not "formally signed," and the "draft of the document was hurriedly prepared."  The archduke did meet privately with the Emperor, where he "took the oath of surrender." 

Franz Josef then summoned his young nephew and met with him for more than hour. 

The news of Archduke Karl Ludwig's renunciation has caused great surprise in Vienna as he and his wife are "favorite leaders of society."  Archduke Franz Ferdinand has renounced the Modena fortune in favor of his younger brother, Archduke Otto.  He will now live in Vienna.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand is a Major in the Fourth Dragoons.  He is said to be "good natured, gentle and indolent, and has never made a great figure in society."  He is not married.

The late Crown Prince left a letter for his father, which was dated on January 30, although the Emperor did not see it for two days.  The archduke had "contemplated suicide for years."  After he returned from the funeral of King Ludwig of Bavaria, he said: "I fear that my end will as his."

It is believed that "the cause of his trouble" was the absence of a male heir.  Archduke Rudolf was married to Princess Stephanie of Belgium.  They had one daughter, Archduchess Elisabeth.

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