Author Topic: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie  (Read 92886 times)

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Offline dmitri

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Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« on: August 05, 2007, 03:54:02 AM »
I often wondered what happened to Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie after Crown Prince Rudolf died at Mayerling in 1889. As a widow of a former Crown Prince she lost whatever position she had held previously as the Habsburgs did not allow female inheiritance of their Empire. Her daughter of course remained the granddaughter of Kaiser Franz Josef I and Kaiserin Elisabeth but had no position of importance. Of course I know Stephanie married again. How different it all would have been if the salic law had not existed in Austria-Hungary. Young Archduchess Elisabeth would have become the Kaiserin when Franz Josef I died under a different set of succession laws and Stephanie would have been more important as mother of a Kaiserin. Maybe Elisabeth would have been a strong Kaiserin like Maria Theresia. Who knows?

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2007, 12:29:54 PM »
There's some information on her in the BeNeLux section (I think the thread is called Daughters of Leopold II). Also, a search will bring up some good information scattered throughout the forum.

Stephanie did remarry, to Count Elmer Lonyay, and for love and her 2nd marriage was very happy by everything I've ever read of it. She lost her position in the Habsburg court and custody of her daughter because of it, due to the morganatic nature of the marriage-- though I think Erzi wasn't cut off from her entirely. Despite this, the Emperor was kind to her over it (perhaps realizing her extreme unhappiness) and paid for much of it, including her trousseau and the ceremony was held at Miramar. The Emperor wrote her on her wedding day and had accompanied her to the train (?) that took her to Miramar though he couldn't, due to protocol, attend the ceremony.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline dmitri

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2007, 01:33:17 PM »
Yes she surely deserved some happiness as she had really lost her position with the death of Rudolf. I know she remarried and she wrote her autobiography. I think is was called "I was to be Empress." I wish I could find a copy of that one as I think it would be fascinating. Marie Larisch would be fun to read as well even if she was a touch jaded because of her being thrown out of things because of her close dealings with Rudolf before his suicide/murder. If you get to the Kaiservilla at Bad Ischl there is an incredible portrait of Rudolf. I have also been to Mayerling. Now there's a place that is spooky. If you haven't been the main cross in the chapel is exactly where Rudolf and Marie Vestera's bed was supposed to have been and in the small lady chapel there is a Madonna with the sacred heart on her breast with a dagger through it. Of course Elisabeth died that way and guess whose face is on the Madonna? It is that of Elisabeth. Talk about spooky!!!!   

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2007, 08:47:35 PM »
Yes she surely deserved some happiness as she had really lost her position with the death of Rudolf. I know she remarried and she wrote her autobiography. I think is was called "I was to be Empress." I wish I could find a copy of that one as I think it would be fascinating.

It was republished fairly recently and goes for about $35. I don't know how available/what price the older book goes for.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline dmitri

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2007, 09:52:19 PM »
Yes I am sure it is an interesting read. It is suggested that Stephanie was unable to have more children due to being given a certain disease by Rudof which made her barren. How different things would have been if she had had a son or the succession laws had favoured women. Franz Ferdinand may not have ended up dead at Sarajevo then with his wife.

Offline Princess Susan

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2007, 04:45:53 PM »
Rusovce (Oroszvar) is small village, since 1972 part of Bratislava-capital city of Slovakia.

The castle was built in the middle of 18 century as a country residence of Zichy family, which belong to hungarian nobility.
Zichys were oweners of Rusovce until 1872, when was acquired by Count Henckel, who established horse stable there. Therefore since this time, Rusovce was famous also by fine horses and riding. In 1890, stable was sold to Baron Rochild.

Crown Princess Stephanie and her second husband Count Elmer Lonayi bought the estate in 1906. They settled there, till the advancing Red army forced them to leave their castle in 1945. In this time the garden of castle was considered for most beautiful in whole country.

Nowdays is Castle in quite pitiful state, years in reconstruction and not available for public. But the garden is opened for visitors and still beautiful with rare trees and plants, although requires much more care and repairs in area of garden.

There are some links for more information about history of village, the caste, the garden and photogallery:

http://www.rusovskypark.sk/Park/HistoryEng.asp
http://www.rusovskypark.sk/Tools/AlbumEng.asp

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2007, 02:39:26 PM »
I mentioned in the books section that Gilbert's is having  a sale.

One of the books I picked up for about $17 USD is I was to be Empress.  I am almost finished.  It is interesting, but I'm glad I didn't pay more for it.

Stephanie was quite in love with herself and thought that everyone else was, too.  Throughout the book she "captures everyone's hearts" regardless of how boorish Rudolph is.



A picture of the 'beautiful" Arch Duchess Stephanie.

Offline Greenowl

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2007, 04:49:07 PM »
I've never seen that photo before. Does the book give any indication of the year in which it was taken? Judging by the clothes I would imagine it was taken when Archduchess Stephanie was over 40. Poor Stephanie was never very attractive, even as a young girl. On her wedding day (10/05/1881) she is said to have marched down the aisle with "all the daintiness of a dragoon" (Marek, page 258). Apparently most of the imperial family disliked her, as they found her "sullen and haughty" and Empress Elisabeth and Archduchess Marie Valerie detested her.  Sadly her own daughter Archduchess Elisabeth (Erzi) later turned against her as well and I gather they had little contact in later years. She seems to have complained about everything, but to be fair, her early life can't have been very pleasant. I hope she found some measure of happiness in her second marriage.

Offline dmitri

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2007, 04:54:33 PM »
Yes one hopes she did find happiness in her second marriage. Certainly her first was hardly anything that most women would wish to endure no matter how glittering the position.

Offline Greenowl

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2007, 05:13:31 AM »
Agreed, although on the other hand she definitely relished her glittering position as Crown Princess and very much regretted having to give it up. She probably could have made things easier for herself had she been just a little less ego-centric, but having said that, she was only 16 at the time of her marriage to Rudolf. In view of Empress Elisabeth's experience of being an unhappy "child bride" one would think that she would have tried to help her daughter-in-law. but no, she detested her and actually wrote very nasty poems about her (quoted in Hamann) in which she describes her as "an ugly trampeltier" )I don't know how best to translate "trampeltier"... clumsy animal/a bear in a china-shop....perhaps someone could translate this term more accurately? Does anyone know why this marriage was arranged in the first place? Rudolf and Stephanie were obviously unsuited to each other, and Elisabeth seemed to have been against it and later blamed her daughter-in-law for Rudolf's death. Was it due to a shortage of princesses of the Roman Catholic faith?

I read recently (but cannot remember where) that certain letters from Stephanie to her sister in the late 1880s seem to indicate that Stephanie either had an affair with or was strongly attracted (more likely the latter) to another man (again, the name was mentioned but I do not recall it), who unfortunately died (of natural causes) shortly before Rudolf's death. Does anyone know to what I am referring? If so, perhaps they could refresh my memory!

Offline Princess Susan

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2007, 05:23:05 AM »
I am very interested in their life in this castle and village. They lived there 39 years from 1906 to 1945, so realy quite long time.
If you have some more information, will be very welcome.

Offline Princess Susan

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2007, 06:56:12 AM »
Stephanie realy wasn't very popular on court in Vienna. So her position was very difficult especially by this. But despide of these conditions she had quite big confidence and strong personality.
The main Reason why Archeduchess Marie Valerie disliked her and sow enemy in her, rose in her close relationship with her mother.
When She sow, that Elisabeth didn't like her and still compained about her, she shered her mother's opinion, I think.
In Marie Valerie's diary you can find a lot of examples. She considered Staphanie for cold mother and wife, and blamed her, that since their marriage, Rudolf's behaviour changed to worse.
Somewhere I read also that Archduke Karl Ludwig felt sorry for poor little Erszi, that Stephanie is so cold to her.
I don't know wheather these rumours are for 100% true. But if yes, I see no wonder in that. Because Stephanie had realy sad childhood, she had to live without love of her parents, especially father Leopold II. He is well known as a cruel bad man, horrible father and husband.
So how could Stephanie know to display love to her child? Propably from her early youth she wasn't accustomed to do it.
Her only real happiness was, that she met Elmer Lonayi, her second husband. Because neither her marriage with Rudolf, nor her early years with her family in Belgium was happy.
I read somewhere that Leopold very insisted on this marriage- only son of austrian Emperor was surely good company and Stephanie as a daughter of King of Belgium was undoubtedly very interesting and rich as a bride.
I've never heared about any her affairs during her marriage with Rudolf. But is quite likely when we remind how pitifull relationship Stephanie and Rudolf had each other.

Offline Greenowl

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2007, 07:44:26 AM »
Yes, that is all quite true. I forgot about the fact that Leopold II of Belgium was so rich....he treated the then Belgian Congo as his personal property and earned a huge fortune from it, so now doubt his financial assets made Stephanie an attractive choice of bride for the Crown Prince of Austria.

According to Marie-Valerie's diary, once Stephanie had recovered from the initial shock of Mayerling she behaved as if nothing had happened, which further served to distance her from Elisabeth and Valerie, who continued to mourn Rudolf.

Offline dmitri

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2007, 08:36:03 AM »
The Belgian Royal Family were considered parvenus by the Habsburgs.

Offline Josť

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Re: Crown Princess/Archduchess Stephanie
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2007, 10:18:02 AM »
How different it all would have been if the salic law had not existed in Austria-Hungary. Young Archduchess Elisabeth would have become the Kaiserin when Franz Josef I died under a different set of succession laws and Stephanie would have been more important as mother of a Kaiserin. Maybe Elisabeth would have been a strong Kaiserin like Maria Theresia. Who knows?

I often tend to think of Elizabeth as the poor little orphan girl, or in her late years as the Red Republican Archduchess.
But when her gr.father died in 1916, she was a woman of 33 years old, married and with her children.

Did she ever express her views on the way the empire was going during her gr.father's reign ?
Did she have any influence on him ?

How did she get along with her cousins Franz-Ferdinand, Otto and Karl ? Did she considered them as "usurpers" ?

Being  the liberal woman she was (or only became later ?) did she ever accept FF's wedding to Sophie Chotek ?