Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand

Original Name Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria of Austria
Graz, Graz Stadt, Styria (Steiermark), Austria
Death 28 Jun 1914 (aged 50)
Sarajevo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Burial Artstetten, Melk Bezirk, Lower Austria (Niederösterreich), Austria
Memorial ID 7019333 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Austro-Hungarian Empire Royalty. He was the Crown Prince and Heir Apparent to the throne of the Austria-Hungary Empire with the title of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria of Austria. His assassination by a Serbian nationalist on June 28, 1914 in the Bosnian capital city of Sarajevo was the trigger that started World War I, a war lasting for over four years involving all of Europe and the United States. Historian and critics give different views of the Archduke with some impressed by his military training from a young age but concerned with his dislike for some minority secs, while other were impressed with him being a zealous game hunter and his love for his wife and children. While making a tour of the Austrian annexed province of Bosnia, representing his uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph, Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophia were assassinated. 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 as the first attempt failed when a hand-thrown bomb or grenade by Milan Gabrinovics was fended off by the Archduke. After that incident, the six-car motorcade proceeded to the city hall for a scheduled greeting by the mayor, and then it proceeded to the Garrison Hospital where treatment was being given to the Archduke's wounded aide, a victim of the bomb's explosion. Disaster struck when the Archduke's motorcade inadvertently drove past a second group of participants of the assassination conspiracy. A nineteen-year-old, slim-in-statue lad, Gavrilo Princip, who was a member of the Serbian-Bosnian political organization known as "Mlada Bosna," or Young Bosnians, stepped forward firing two shots with his pistol directly at the royal couple. The first shot struck Archduke's wife in the abdomen, while the second hit the Archduke's neck. Although the motorcar drove straight to the army hospital, the Archduke's wife was dead on arrival from hemorrhaging, and the Archduke died shortly thereafter, before any first aid could be rendered. The bodies of the royal couple were embalmed by army surgeons, placed in metal caskets, and transported to the drawing room of the Governor's Palace in Konak. With a Catholic priest's blessing, the journey to Vienna commenced. The couple was not popular with the Hapsburg Vienna Royal Court. Although the Archduke's wife may had birth connections to royalty, she was considered nothing more than a "Lady in Waiting,” which was barely more than a commoner in the aristocratic Austria-Hungary society, thus being looked down upon by the court. At their marriage, it was agreed that the marriage would be morganatic, thus their descendants would not have succession right to the throne, and his wife would have limited royal privileges such as not appearing in public with him in a carriage or in a theater box. At his wife's death, the Royal Court decided she should not receive honors, and not be buried with Archduke in the Capuchin Church Imperial Vaults in Vienna, the traditional place of entombment for the Hapsburgs. The Archduke was acutely aware his beloved wife would be subjected to such indignities, hence had made a provision in his will while constructing a crypt in his Austrian castle at Artstetten, which was about 70 miles from Vienna, leaving instructions that he and his wife would be laid side by side there at the time of their deaths. Their infant son was buried there in 1908. The bodies were transported by train from 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 with large crowds paying their respects to the couple as they watched the procession. Upon arrival in Trieste, the coffins were transferred to the custody of a high court official, Alfred, the 2nd Prince of Montenuovo, who was not a political ally of the royal couple. Montenuovo directed that the royal couple would be given very simple ceremonies in Vienna with only the family attending, no military saluting, and no foreign dignitaries as in a state funeral. He attempted to make the couple's orphaned children pay for the services, but this failed. After the services the coffins were placed on a train then transferred to a ferry to be taken to Artstetten. Only the alertness of passengers aboard the ferry kept the royal caskets from falling overboard when the horses with the royal hearse were spooked by thunder and lightning. Today, one can view the main artifacts from the assassination at the Vienna Museum of Military History, 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 the gun at the Royal couple were removed during the civil war and have now been reinstated at the site, preserving history. The nearby museum was looted of its contents during the war, yet some items have been returned. A new memorial plaque has been placed on the outside wall at the spot where the assassination occurred, yet the destroyed memorial to the Archduke has not been replaced. The couple were survived by three children, the oldest being thirteen and the youngest ten, who all later married into noble and aristocratic European families.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees



How famous was Franz Ferdinand?

Current rating:

173 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 18 Dec 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7019333
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Franz Ferdinand (18 Dec 1863–28 Jun 1914), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7019333, citing Schloss Artstetten, Artstetten, Melk Bezirk, Lower Austria (Niederösterreich), Austria ; Maintained by Find A Grave .