Monday, December 9, 2013

Bavarian princess does not want to be Empress of Austria

December 9, 1893

It has been largely assumed that Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir presumptive to the Austrian throne, would marry Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria, eldest child of Prince Leopold of Bavaria and Archduchess Gisela of Austria, daughter of Emperor Franz Josef.

According to the Vienna correspondent of the London Daily News -- and reported by the New York Times,  Princess Elizabeth has "frustrated" the plans of her grandfather, who was very much in favor of the marriage.

About a year ago, the young princess began to "look approvingly upon a handsome young Lieutenant, Baron S."

The "young officer" often rode past her windows, and then he was able to obtain a room "with windows facing Prince Leopold's palace.

They saw each other at court balls, during the Winter, and often danced together.  In the Spring, "lawn tennis  brought them more together still."

Earlier this year, the Baron was transferred to a regiment in Alsace, and many assumed the romance would be over.  Elisabeth spent some time this past summer with her grandfather at his villa in Ischl.  She used her "time well"," managing to get the Emperor to promise to make the Baron a prince, "to give him some landed property," and to allow them to "marry if their love was proof against time."

Princess Elisabeth is 19-years-old, "perfectly natural, and very sweet tempered."   That she prefers a marriage with a man she loves to the "certainty of an imperial throne will not alienate the sympathies" of her family, who love the princess for "her natural graces.

[News traveled slowly as Princess Elisabeth was already married when the story was published.  On November 2, she eloped to Genoa, Italy, with Count Otto von Seefried von Buttenheim.

Prince Otto was not only of a lower rank than his wife, he was a Lutheran.  After the secret wedding, he wrote to Prince and Princess Leopold, telling them that he and Elisabeth had to choose between eloping or taking their lives in a suicide pact.   They chose to marry, despite knowing that the family would not have approved of the marriage.]

1 comment:

Taren Eastep said...

I wonder if the suicide pact threat was true. If it is, it seems particularly cruel to have threatened after what happened with Crown Prince Rudolf.