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Messages - Greg_King

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Well, there are some serious problems with Wolfe.  First, he waited until 1942 to say anything, so many years after many involved people were arguing what had happened in the press.  Then in his statement he claimed that he had told this same story "many times" to others, yet we couldn't find any record of someone repeating it.  Third, he claimed that he was on his way to the lodge on the morning of January 30 to polish the floors IN ADVANCE of Rudolf's arrival, when in fact Rudolf had been there two days.  He also claimed that he "heard the truth of what happened from others," suggesting he was relying on a fair bit of gossip.  He said it was roughly two weeks after the deaths that he supposedly saw the bedroom.  Now Court Commissioner Heinrich Slatin had done an inventory and assessment of the room on January 30 and 31, and he recorded no bloodstains splattered around the room, no bullet holes, no smashed furniture, etc.  You could dismiss him as part of some conspiracy but just stop to think about how illogical Wolf's claim is: the court is desperate to cover up the truth of what happened, but they don't do anything to clean up evidence of violence in the room for two weeks, then ask Wolf -- certainly not a trusted courtier -- to come in and clean it all up.  Do we really think the Imperial Court would have left the room in such a condition for two weeks if they were engaged in a conspiracy other than hiding that Rudolf had killed Mary?  Or that they would let some provincial carpenter in to do the clean up?  It makes no sense.  Then, too, Wolf insists that Rudolf and Mary were killed at the same time, taken by surprise by assassins - so what of the suicide notes?  What of the differences in their times of death?  Unfortunately Mayerling is full of this sort of thing - it's going through the looking glass where many people claim things that just don't hold up!

Not to get too graphic but with Rudolf, per a forensics specialist, leaning over at the left edge of the book, extending his arm out to point the gun at an upright Mary on the right side, he was far enough back that the blow back of blood or brain tissue that might have speckled him was minimal - perhaps some on the cuff of his jacket but the velocity of the shot was so rapid that it would have Mary hurling back against the headboard and then most of the damage came when the bullet exited the head on the right side of her head (the side away from Rudolf)

So not likely that he would have been covered in blood.  And yes, the Loscheck problem - one just never knows how much to believe of what he said, especially as he is so often contradicted by the facts!

We think (although everything is of course speculative) that the evidence indicates she went to the lodge with no idea that she was going to die.  At the lodge on the night of January 29 when she learned everything had fallen apart and Rudolf wanted to send her away, she decided she would die with him.  And of course we then think that he tried to get her to leave and that her death wasn't something he wanted but which happened on the spur of the moment.  She was prepared to die, but Rudolf wasn't prepared to have her die with him, or even have her remain with him at the lodge.

Thanks Nena and Greenowl, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.  Feel free to ask any questions!

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Imperial Crimea
« on: January 04, 2018, 07:39:50 PM »

We are pleased to announce publication of Imperial Crimea: Estates, Enchantment and the Last of the Romanovs, with articles by Greg King, Coryne Hall, Penny Wilson, and Sue Woolmans.  The book takes readers on a Turn of the Century tour of the peninsula through the eyes of tourists; follows the Imperial Family from Nicholas I to Nicholas II; explores the diverse array of palaces dotting the edge of the Black Sea; and concludes with the 1919 departure of Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna and other Romanovs from the Crimea.

Imperial Crimea is not merely a republication of the original Atlantis articles.  We have been able to not only revise but also to expand and update the prior content, bringing the story up to date and incorporating the latest research.  Drawing on Russian, English, German, Danish, and French language sources as well as archival holdings in Russia, Germany, and the United States, these chapters offer what we believe to be the most comprehensive work on the Romanovs and the Crimea available in English.  More details can be seen below.

Imperial Crimea: Estates, Enchantment and the Last of the Romanovs

Imperial Crimea: Estates, Enchantment and the Last of the Romanovs is some 300 pages in length and includes over 40 illustrations.  The 16 chapters are

The Russian Riviera: A Short History of the Crimea

Bakhchisarai: The Palace of the Crimea Khans

Trains, Tartars, and Flea Powder: Turn of the Century Crimea through the Eyes of Tourists

Oreanda: The Spirit of the Mountains


Livadia in the Reign of Alexander II

Livadia in the Reign of Alexander III

Massandra, the Unknown Jewel

Livadia in the Reign of Nicholas II, 1894-1909

The Emir of Bokhara

Uncle Krasnov: The Unknown Architect

A Fragment of England in the South: Harax

Of Rapture and Reason: Dulber, Tchair and Kichkine

The White Palace at Livadia

Livadia under Nicholas II, 1911-1914

Prisoners in Paradise: Romanovs in the Crimea 1917-1919

The book draws on both published works and on unpublished sources, including German diplomatic reports on Empress Alexandra Feodorovna; the unpublished memoirs of tutor Charles Sidney Gibbes; private letters by members of the Imperial Family; and correspondence and materials from Broadlands Archives; The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace; The Mainau Archives; the Staatsarchiv, Darmstadt; the State Archives of the Russian Federation; and the State Public Library, Russian National Library Collection, in St. Petersburg. It is currently available through Amazon.

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Re: Upcoming Books 2017
« on: November 10, 2017, 09:37:34 PM »
Just to add that the new book by Penny Wilson and myself on Mayerling, Twilight of Empire: The Tragedy at Mayerling and the End of the Habsburgs, will be published November 14 in the US and December 16 in the UK, from St. Martin’s/Macmillan (also available on Kindle).  Discussion has been in the Habsburg Thread under Crown Prince Rudolf, and we’ve been posting more details on Facebook.

I think the UK release is early December - US is November 16 if I recall correctly.

To the best of my knowledge, none of Rudolf's dogs were found dead at the lodge - definitely sounds like the remnants of some conspiracy theory!

Thanks....I've been posting some extra material on Facebook as well.  I hope it's worth the wait!

Hi Nena,

Alas, answers to some of your questions we cannot yet discuss, but these questions are answered in the book.  As for the book itself, it starts in 1889.  Part I dips back in time for five chapters to outline Rudolf and Mary and their relationship, then Part II returns to 1889 and gives a straightforward account of events until their respective funerals.  Part III looks at all of the theories, and Part IV lays out, while looking back and trying to explain some incidents previously mentioned, what we feel happened.



I confess no - there are some Russian dispatches from Vienna that we made use of, but in accessing diplomatic files from Austria, Germany and England it became clear fairly early that no one knew what they were really talking about - everyone (even diplomats) was wildly speculating - they all knew enough of the basics - two dead bodies at Mayerling, Mary was Rudolf's mistress, etc. - but beyond that everyone was simply spreading gossip.  So while we might, I suppose, chased the Russians down it became something of a fool's errand in light of what had been accessed already.  There might be a few interesting bits there to be uncovered, but I would have serious doubts, especially given the relationship between Russia and Austria-Hungary at the time, that the Russians would have been in any better position than the Germans to pick up any unique information.

Well...certainly in 1848 they were at the center of things in Bavaria, Austria, etc. But in all honesty, I think I can safely say that they had nothing whatsoever to do with what happened at Mayerling (or in Sarajevo, for that matter).   Of course the Kaiser is merely speculating here - just like everyone else - and given that the finger of blame has pointed at him (and/or Bismarck) it just shows how little everyone really knew.  The Court had only itself to blame, but so many of the conspiracy theories were spewed out by courtiers and Habsburg relatives, most contradicting themselves.

Thanks Joanna!  I love his "morally disgusting details" about Rudolf but wish he had included them!  Karl Ludwig being behind it has been around for a long time and suspicions about Jesuits even longer - when a Habsburg dies (as with Franz Ferdinand and Sophie) someone ALWAYS blames the Jesuits.  But it sounds as if the Kaiser is just running with wild speculation here - same as everyone else at the time.

Hi Nena,

As I think we'll hopefully explain and show, Loschek really was not a reliable witness, especially given that he didn't write his memoirs until nearly 30 years later.  What he meant to do was protect himself, we think, from charges of complicity or incompetence.

Stephanie was at Miramar with Erszi for the first anniversary - no surprise given how Sisi treated her after Rudolf's death.  She simply did not want to be around the Habsburgs and suffer their snide remarks and condemnatory looks, as if she was to blame for what happened.

There was indeed an autopsy but only a short segment released to the press - meant to "prove" that Rudolf was not sane at the time of his death - was ever released.  The original if it survives is probably with those enigmatic Taaffe papers, which are an exercise in frustration as every other author on Mayerling found out.

Hi Joanna,

Now I'm curious...what was said (if you can share)? Of course the rumors were rampant and among them were that Rudolf was killed by this or that faction (political/religious/foreign) to remove him for some bigger purpose.  Personally I think such theories give Rudolf far too much credit as someone who could have even remotely succeeded on the throne.



It was interesting to read Alexander Polovtsov's diary on the death of Rudolf. It is difficult though to ascertain if he continues to refer to the Grand Duke's comments or if he had other sources to explain connection of Jesuits.


Hi Nena,

No breakfast.  According to Loschek, Rudolf came out of his room at 6:10AM briefly and asked Loschek to order breakfast.  Rudolf then went back inside, and Loschek started to go out of the lodge and cross the courtyard to the kitchen when he claimed to have heard two gunshots.  This last assertion is highly unlikely.

Franz Josef ordered the lodge turned into a monastery 22 days after Rudolf's death, but construction went on for several years. The main work on the chapel was finished in November and Franz Josef, Sisi, and Marie Valerie attended a memorial service there on the first anniversary in 1890.  But construction continued over the next few years, so that the building is basically unrecognizable and only a couple of servants rooms remain as they were.

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