Bohemian and Austrian Aristocracy. Born Žofie Marie Josefína Albína, the daughter of Wilhemine, Countess Kinsky and Bohuslav, Count Chotek of Chotkowa and Wognin from the Kingdom of Bohemia (present day Czech Republic). As a young woman she became a lady-in-waiting to the Archduchess Isabella, the wife of Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen of the Austo-Hungarian Empire. At some point, she and Archduke Franz Ferdinand formed an attachment, but as Sophie was not of royal birth, they kept their relationship a secret. When the liaison was discovered, the Emperor deplored a morganic match for a member of his family. Eventually, however, Franz Ferdinand's insistence upon a marriage to Sophie yielded a compromise; he could marry her, but her descendants would not be allowed to succeed to the throne, and she would not share her husband's rank, title, or precedence. She and Franz Ferdinand were married in July 1900 at Reichstadt (present day Zákupy) in Bohemia. Upon her marriage, she was granted title Princess von Hohenberg. In 1909, she was elevated to the title Duchess von Hohenberg, though all the other Archduchesses took precedence. The couple had three surviving children. In 1914, the Governor of the provinces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, invited the Archduke to watch his troops on maneuvers. Unusually, Sophie was permitted to accompany him. On Sunday June 28, just after ten in the morning, the Archduke's procession passed the central police station, when a hand grenade was thrown at his car. The driver accelerated, and the grenade exploded under the wheels of the following car, wounding two. After a reception at City Hall, the Archduke asked after the wounded, and arranged to visit them in hospital. Their driver, however, took a wrong turn, and another assassin took the opportunity to spray the occupants of the car with gunfire, wounding both passengers fatally. Franz Ferdinand, mortally wounded, was said to have pleaded, "Sophie, dear! Don't die! Stay alive for our children!" They were, however, both dead within the hour. The bodies were returned to Vienna for a joint funeral mass, and they were entombed side by side in the crypt of their home, Schloss Artstetten, which is today a museum. The murders have long been regarded as the flash point for the beginning of the First World War.
Bio by: Iola