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 Franz Ferdinand Habsburg

Franz Ferdinand Habsburg

Graz, Graz Stadt, Styria (Steiermark), Austria
Death 28 Jun 1914 (aged 50)
Sarajevo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Cenotaph Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
Memorial ID 22377 · View Source
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Crown Prince (Heir Apparent) to the Throne of Austria-Hungary. During a visit to the Austrian annexed province of Bosnia and representing his uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, along with his wife Sophie, were killed by a Serbian student in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Many Bosnian, Serbians and Croats resented the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, which had occupied Bosnia from 1878 and had annexed the area in 1908. The fatal shooting was a second attempt upon the lives of the couple during their visit. The initial attempt failed when a thrown bomb (grenade) by Milan Gabrinovics was fended off by the Archduke. The motorcade proceeded to the city hall for a scheduled greeting by the mayor, and then proceeded to the Garrison Hospital to check on the condition of the Archduke's aide, who had been wounded by the bomb's explosion. Disaster struck when the party inadvertently drove past a second group of participants of the assassination conspiracy. Nineteen-year-old Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Serbian-Bosnian terrorist organization known as "Mlada Bosna" (Young Bosnians) stepped forward and fired two quick shots with his pistol. The first shot struck Sophie in the abdomen while the second hit Ferdinand in the neck. The motor car drove straight to the Army Hospital, as the pair bled out in the car. Upon arrival at the hospital, Sophie was already dead, and Ferdinand died shortly thereafter, before any first aid could be rendered. The hospital could only certify they were both dead. The bodies of the royal pair were embalmed by army surgeons, placed in metal caskets, and transported to the drawing room of the Governor's Palace in Konak. A Catholic priest blessed the departed and the journey to Vienna commenced. The couple was not popular with the Hapsburg Vienna Royal Court. Although she had birth connections to royalty, Sophie was considered nothing more than a "Lady in Waiting" (just above a commoner in aristocratic Austria-Hungary society), and the Court felt she should not receive honors, and not be buried with her husband in the Capuchin Church Imperial Vaults in Vienna, the traditional place of entombment for the Hapsburgs. Ferdinand had been aware Sophie would be subjected to such indignities and had made a provision in his will while constructing a crypt in his castle at Artstetten, Austria (about 70 miles from Vienna), leaving instructions that he and Sophie be laid side by side there at the time of their deaths. The bodies were borne by train out of Bosnia to Croatia, placed on a barge on the Naretva River to the Adriatic Sea, and then placed on the battleship "Virbus Unitis" for the journey to Trieste. It was a solemn journey and large, respectful crowds turned out to watch the procession, paying their respects to the couple. Upon arrival in Trieste, the coffins were transferred to the custody of Lord Chamberlain, Prince Alfred Montenuevo, a man who had hated the royal couple. The vindictive Prince directed that minimum honors would be accorded the Royal couple to the point of humiliation. With simple ceremonies completed in Vienna, the coffins were placed on a train and ferry to be taken to Artstetten. Only the alertness of passengers aboard the ferry kept the royal caskets from going overboard when the horses with the royal hearse were spooked by thunder and lightning. As the couple was laid to rest in the vault at Artstetten Castle, the clouds of war were already gathering. The First World War would involve the entire world, including the United States, and most of Europe and their colonies. Today, one can view the main artifacts from the assassination at the Vienna Museum of Military History. The displays include the Belgian made Browning pistol used by Gavrilo Princip, the Graf & Stift Imperial Automobile which was the death car, and the archduke's bloody tunic. The city of Sarajevo is currently in the process of restoring the assassination site, which had been destroyed during the 1991-1995 Yugoslavian Civil War. The footprints at the spot where Princip fired at the Royal couple were removed during the civil war and have now been reinstated at the site. The nearby museum was looted of its contents during the war, and some items have been returned. A new memorial plaque has been placed on the outside wall at the spot where the assassination took place, although the destroyed memorial to the Archduke has not been replaced.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


Plaque says:
"In memory
of the first victims of world war 1914-1918
grand duke Franz Ferdinad of Austria-Este
Graz 12.18.1863 - Sarajevo 06.28.1914
and Sophie duchess of Hohenberg
Stuttgart 03.01.1868 - Sarajevo 06.28.1914
buried in the crypt of Schloß (= castle) of Arstetten




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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 17 May 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 22377
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Franz Ferdinand Habsburg (18 Dec 1863–28 Jun 1914), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22377, citing Kapuzinergruft, Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria ; Maintained by Find A Grave .