On the 30th of January 1889, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria committed suicide after killing his mistress, Baroness Mary Vetsera. Rudolf was the only son of Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria and Empress Elisabeth. He was also the heir to the throne of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The incident is now known as the Mayerling Tragedy and is cloaked in mystery. No one knows for sure what drove the Prince to his suicide. The event damaged the already shaky marriage of the Imperial couple. Moreover, succession passed to Emperor Franz Josef I’s brother, Karl Ludwig.
Crown Prince Rudolf was born in 1858 at a castle located near Vienna. In 1881 he married Princess Stéphanie of Belgium. The marriage was a sad and loveless one. The couple had only one child, namely Archduchess Elisabeth. In 1888, only a year after buying the Mayerling lodge, Rudolf met Baroness Mary Vetsera. By 1889, many people knew that the Archduke was having an affair with her. It is said that the Prince’s suicide was prompted by his father’s request to break up with his mistress. Two days after the Emperor’s request, Rudolf and Mary enacted their double suicide act. He shot his mistress in the head and then himself.
The Mayerling tragedy gave birth to many speculations and conspiracy theories. Some claimed that the Crown Prince was in fact murdered and his death was staged as a suicide. A theory stated that six shots were fired with Rudolf’s gun. If one killed the Prince and the other killed Mary Vetsera, then what happened to the remaining four? Another theory claimed that the suicide was in fact a lovers’ quarrel. This conspiracy states that the two lovers murdered each other during the fight. A third theory says that Mary was in fact pregnant at the time of the Mayerling tragedy and actually died during a botched abortion. Heartbroken, Rudolf killed himself.
Nobody knows for sure what happened at Mayerling. The only facts we have are the official reports. Who do you think is guilty for the events of the Mayerling tragedy?
( Source: wikipedia )
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