Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bodies of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie arrive in Vienna

July 2, 1914

The bodies of the late Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg, arrived at 10 p.m., at the Southern Railroad station in Vienna "aboard a special train from Trieste," according to a dispatch from the Associated Press.

Court Chamberlain Prince Montenuvo and other court officials were waiting when the coffins containing the murdered Archduke and Duchess.  

The coffins were escorted by "halberdiers and life guardsmen" and brought into the Imperial waiting room, which has been converted into a temporary chapel   The two coffins were "blessed by the Court Chaplains."

A funeral procession was formed as the cortege made its way to the Hofburg.  No troops were "stationed along the route," and, at the Hofburg, the "master of ceremonies and the palace clergy awaited the cortege at the foot of the Ambassadors' staircase.

After the palace chaplain said a short benediction, and the late Archduke's chamberlain handed the keys to the coffins to Prince Montenuovo.  The chapel was locked, and everyone departed.

The Archduke's coffin was surrounded by silver candlesticks "holding lighted tapers."  At the foot of the coffin were cushions bearing Franz Ferdinand's "crown and the Austrian Archducal two pointed hat, his general's plumed hat and sword, and all his orders and decorations."

In contrast to the Duchess' morganatic status, the only items placed at the foot of her coffin were her orders, "a pair of long white kid gloves and her fan, in accordance with the Austrian custom."

The only member of the Imperial family to attend the ceremonies tonight is the new heir to the throne, Archduke Karl.  He decided "at the last minute" to go to the train station and "meeting the body."

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