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Lucy Coatman, MLitt MA MA (University of St Andrews, Central European University) is a historian of 19th and early 20th century Austria who lives and works in Vienna. She is currently writing the first English language biography of Baroness Mary Vetsera, and recently worked with the Scottish Ballet for their production of The Scandal at Mayerling.


Born in England, studied in Scotland, yet I feel most at home in the old imperial capital of Vienna. I am somewhat concerned that I am one huge cliché due to my love of the four big S names: Sisi, Stefan Zweig, Strauss (of the Blue Danube fame) and Sachertorte. Other hobbies include musical theatre, ballet and very long walks around old cities.


I am fascinated by the nobility of 19th and early 20th century Austria and Bavaria from a biographical perspective. My work mostly focuses on the Mayerling incident, the Baltazzi-Vetsera family, Crown Prince Rudolf, Empress Zita, and portraiture.

My work has included writing articles for history websites and magazines, as well as advising performers in theatre and ballet about the historical figures they are portraying. Prior to my historical studies, I trained and performed professionally as an actress. I very much welcome opportunities that offer the chance to combine these two areas, particularly as a dramaturg. Additionally, I am public historian at the Mozarthaus, Vienna.


Forthcoming book: the first English language biography of Baroness Mary Vetsera.

Forthcoming articles: "Myth, misrepresentation, and truth in the life and death of Baroness Mary Vetsera" AND 'Ephemeral Images: Zita of Bourbon-Parma and the Picture Postcard'.

Most recent publication: "Love is dead: Newly discovered letters get us closer to understanding the tragic truth of royal-murder suicide at Mayerling" (History Today magazine)

Most recent lecture: 'Scandal in the House of Habsburg: the Mayerling Incident' (KIIS Study Abroad)

Most recent conference: "The Last Empress: The Transitions, Images and Functions of Zita of Bourbon-Parma, 1911-1922", Kings and Queens Conference (Royal Studies Journal), Nantes, France

Like what I do? You can support me on ko-fi!

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