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Guest research post: Crown Princess Stéphanie & Mayerling

Updated: Mar 18



‘Dear Stéphanie, You are freed from the torment of my presence. Be happy in your own way. Be good to our poor daughter, who is all that is left of me. […] I face death calmly, death alone can save my good name. With warmest love from Your affectionate Rudolf.’


Stéphanie, Crown Princess of Austria, felt these words like a ‘dagger thrust’ in her heart.[1] Her husband, Rudolf, had been found dead at Mayerling hunting lodge alongside his seventeen-year-old mistress, Baroness Mary Vetsera, in the early hours of January 30th, 1889. By taking his own life, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne had shaken not only the Empire. The life of the woman he left behind would never be the same.


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