March 18, 1914
At the recent court ball, hosted by Emperor Franz Josef, at Schonbrunn, the Duchess of Hohenberg, the morganatic wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, "took her place in the ranks of the reigning family," reports the Marquise de Fontenoy.
According to the new precedence "accorded to her last fall," the Duchess walked into the ball after all the married archduchesses, including Archduchess Maria Annunciata, although a "spinster, ranks as a married woman" due to her position as abbess of the Noble Ladies of Hradschin, a convent in Prague. The Duchess preceded all the unmarried archduchesses and princesses, including the three daughters of Archduke Leopold Salvator, Princess Olga of Cumberland, and the two daughters of Archduchess Isabella.
Previously, the Duchess of Hohenberg was "obliged to make way for all women, married and unmarried," include distaff members of mediatized families. Now they are "obliged to make way for her."
It seems certain now that when Archduke Franz Ferdinand succeeds to the throne he will "further advance his wife" where she will have precedence "superior" to all the archduchesses, married or unmarried.
This ball also marked the first time that the young Archduchess Zita, wife of Archduke Karl, second in line to the throne, appeared in "her capacity as first lady of the land," supplanting her aunt, Archduchess Maria Annuciata, the abbess.
Archduchess Zita received all the wives of the "newly accredited ambassadors, as well as the presentation of all the debutantes.
The archduchess will continue in this role, taking the place of the late Empress Elisabeth, as the "ranking lady of the dual monarchy."