thanks for that interesting information. More examples of Crown Prince Rudolf's writings are contained in "Majestät, ich warne Sie" by Brigitte Hamann, which is an extremely interesting book and illustrates Rudolf's liberal views. According to no less an authority than Bismarck, the Crown Prince was extremely talented: “His political understanding is uncommon; it astonished me. It proves that in spite of his youth he thinks independently and seriously. We did not always agree, but he knew very well how to make his points and I noticed particularly how circumspectly he did it”. One thing (among many others) that may have depressed Rudolf, was the fact that he believed that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was out-dated and could not survive. On 24/11/1882 he wrote: “Dark and ugly times await us. One can almost believe that old Europe is outdated and beginning to disintegrate. A great and thorough reaction has to set in, a social upheaval from which, after a long illness, a wholly new Europe may blossom…”
Rudolf's (first??) biographer, Oskar Mitis, wote that "for once, fate might have put a philosopher on a Habsburg throne". That was probably putting it too hopefully, but Rudolf was extremely gifted. He read Descartes and Voltaire, studied botany, ornithology, geography, physics, sociology, history and economics (the latter under the famous Austrian economist Carl Menger). In addition to German he spoke French, English, Hungarian, Polish and Czech. He published at least two books, including a massive work of no less than 24 volumes on the ethnography and history of the Habsburg Empire (which is still used as a reference work today) as well as numerous essays and newspaper articles, most of which had to be published anonymously due to the fact that they were extremely critical of the Emperor. In an account of his visit to Palestine in "Majestät, ich warne Sie" by Hamann, Rudolf relates meeting an elderly monk in Jerusalem. The monk had been in the Holy Land for many years but was originally from Prague. The monk was surprised, delighted and touched when the Crown Prince spoke to him in Czech, and said that he had never expected to hear his native language again. In "Majestät, ich warne Sie" I especially enjoyed Rudolf's criticism of the catholic church (in the form of the cardinal archbishop of Prague), the account of how he "unmasked" a famous medium (unlike his mother, Rudolf had no interest in the "paranormal"), his belief in the necessity of the army and the need to retain German as the main language of the army, and his somewhat negative opinions of the German Empire. Rudolf comes across as extremely knowledgeable, critical and liberal. However, his various writings (or at least those contained in the book) offer no hint whatsoever of the reason for the tragic events of Mayerling. Unfortunately, while Rudolf had very high principles he had no realistic plan, he yearned for improvement yet plunged to ever lower depths, his great gifts were hampered by equally great weaknesses. However, I think it is overstating the facts to describe him as a philanderer and a drug addict. His love life was not any more spectacular than that of many of his contemporaries and due to his position women fawned on him from an early age. Apart from the morphine which, as you correctly stated, was prescribed for a persistent cough (and apparently many people were prescribed morphine in those days) there is no record of any other form of drug addiction (unless one wants to include nicotine and alcohol).