Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Archduchess Elisabeth: an appreciation

February 19, 1903

The Marquise de Fontentoy's latest dispatch comments on the recent death of Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, whose death has "thrown the court of Vienna into mourning in the midst of carnival."

The Archduchess was described as "one of the most remarkable women" in the Austrian imperial family, a  "princess of world renowned sagacity,"  a woman with an impressive knowledge of statesmanship.  Her cousin, Emperor Franz Josef would consult her on many matters. 

It was the Archduchess's daughter, Maria Christina, who benefited most from her advice.  As the Queen Regnant of Spain, for her young son, Alfonso, Cristina "succeeded in weathering the many storms and cataclysms" that she endured during the sixteen years of her regency. 

Archduchess Elisabeth often visited Madrid to be with her daughter through the difficult times.

She could be described as "trebly an archduchess.  She was born an archduchess, the daughter of the very popular Archduke Josef, Palatine of Hungary.  Her first husband was Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the last duke of Modena.  They had one daughter, who is married to Prince Ludwig of Bavaria.

Princess Ludwig has inherited the Stuart claim to throne through her late father, who was the last of the Habsburg-Este male line. 

After Ferdinand's death, Elisabeth married again.  She wed Archduke Karl, whose father fought in the Napoleonic wars. 

Elisabeth's eldest son by her second marriage, Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen, is said to be the "cleverest soldier in the imperial," and the wealthiest, as well.    Archduke Karl Stephan, is the president of the Imperial Yacht club and is an admiral.

The youngest son, Archduke Eugen, one of the tallest members of the Imperial family, is the grand master of the "ancient Teutonic order, which binds its members like Catholic clergy to a life of celibacy."  He is said to be "exceedingly erudite," and would have entered the church if not for the opposition of the Emperor.

Archduchess Elisabeth will be "greatly misses," especially by her family.  As a young woman who was "wonderfully beautiful, and in her old age, she remained a "stately and imposing figure," and her voice was "wonderfully soft and melodious."

It is said that her cousin, Franz Josef, will feel her death deeply.

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