Your posts are very interesting to us who know very little about the case, Pezzazz! Great pictures of Rudolf, it's interesting that he was so handsome when his parents also were recognized as very good-looking....
Thank you for your kindness Фёдор Петрович. It is a compelling mystery.
Schena buab!? Yes you're right Lucien, Marie Larisch became a major problem for the Imperial Family. One has to remember though that through no fault of her own, she was born into no-man's land. She was the illegitimate daughter of the Empress's brother Ludwig Wilhelm, Duke in Bavaria and his actress girlfriend Henriette Mendel whom he later married morganatically. Then the Empress wanted the young Marie with her in Austria -- partly for her horsemanship -- but it was a thoughtless arrangement that forever left Marie on the outside for all practical purposes.
Although Marie Larisch had beauty, brains, style, passion and was a bit of a wild child, her marriage prospects due to her birth were nil -- especially in the Austrian Court. It's not hard reading between the lines to see that that Marie Larisch was probably in love with Rudolf, and under other circumstances, she might have been an ideal mate for him. But there was to be no marriage for her to the Crown Prince. In any case, Rudolf was duty-bound and he wanted to reach across the hated Germany and make an alliance with Belgium through marriage. There was also to be no marriage to an archduke for Larisch and she was not permitted to even marry for love. Instead Empress Elizabeth arranged a marriage for her niece with a dull but good-natured fellow in the hopes that he would not interfere with Marie's primary duty to be a companion to the Lonely Empress. Needless to say, this all had to be a very bitter pill for Marie to swallow, and it was probably a mistake on the part of the Imperial Family to assume that Marie knew the score in its entirety.
It is interesting that by the time of Marie's marriage, she had already come to dread black pearls. The Empress didn't like to wear diamonds but she loved pearls, especially black pearls. Here's an excerpt about this from her book My Past
The Empress gave a soiree for me in the evening before my wedding, and just as I was coming down the staircase, I met the Crown Prince Rudolph, who was going up. He stopped and informed me that I was the very person he wanted to see. "I have something to give you—here it is," and, as he spoke, he handed me a flat morocco case. "Open it," he added, "and tell me whether my little souvenir meets with your approval."
I opened the case, which contained a brooch set with an enormous black pearl. I started in dismay, for I have always had a dread of wearing black pearls.
My cousin asked: "My dear Marie, you are making your own misfortune in life by this foolish marriage; do you not honestly think it is a very mad scheme? Surely it is only to please mamma?"
The Larisch marriage was not a happy one and before long Marie found herself in a clandestine affair with Henrich Baltazzi:
Before or after this there developed a close friendship between Marie Larisch and Baltazzi's sister Hélène Vetsera, Mary's mother.
Now there's an alliance made in hell: Marie Larisch -- compelled to find justice for the cruel loss of her marriage prospects, and the cunning and Ambitious Hélène Vetsera! Thick as thieves, they later turned on each other, so it wasn't hard to see from where they were coming.
So the fire was neatly laid and the two women quickly realized the match to light the bon-fire to destroy the marriage and reputation of the Crown Prince was the stars in the eyes of the young Mary Vetsera whenever she looked at Rudolph who in turn was too much of a gentleman to ever say no to a lady.
Now one has to realistically consider the question: did Mary Vetsera as a very young and rather plump and unattractive yet experienced coquette put a love spell on the great Lothario or was it in reality Shake Down Time where Rudolph found himself eternally unable to shake off the amorous attentions of Mary Vetsera?