Friday, October 2, 2009

Surprise: Leopold to visit Franz Joseph

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 October 2, 1903

There appears to be a reconciliation between Emperor Franz Joseph and King Leopold of the Belgians, "concerning the latter's attitude toward his daughter, Princess Stephanie," according to the New York Times.

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 The announcement that the Belgian sovereign will visit Vienna "in the middle of this month" has caused a "general surprise."

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 Only a few weeks, King Leopold had made an attempt to visit Vienna, but was rebuffed by the Austrian emperor. The issues between the two monarchs began in 1900 when Princess Stephanie, the widow of Crown Prince Rudolf, married Count Lonyay, a member of the Hungarian nobility, but not of equal rank for a Belgian royal princess. The marriage "was bitterly opposed" by King Leopold. He refused to communicate with his daughter, and when she tried to visit her dying mother, King Leopold ordered Stephanie to leave the country. This act "caused denunciation of Leopold all over Europe."

Leopold has claimed that Franz Joseph did very little to prevent Stephanie's second marriage. The Austrian emperor, however, "has been disgusted with the King's treatment of his daughter."

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