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Friday 21 August 2020

Crown Prince Rudolf

 The ill-fated Crown Prince Rudolf was born on 21st August 1858. Countess Larisch, writing after his death, rather dramatically described her first meeting with him. It sounds very melodramatic and obviously written in hindsight...."The next evening we were invited to a family dinner, and there I saw, for the first time since I was quite a tiny child, my cousin the Crown Prince Rudolph. When he entered the room I experienced a curious feeling of uneasiness. Perhaps my subconscious self knew the danger which Rudolph was destined to become in my life, and my nervousness increased when I saw that he watched me narrowly out of the corners of his eyes. The Crown Prince sat next to me and commenced to tease me unmercifully, and, boy though he then was in years, he seemed to possess the intelligence of a man. He was handsome, and for some time I racked my brains to remember what wild animal he recalled to me, for he had a curious look not altogether human. Then, I knew – Rudolph reminded me of a wolf; his eyes blazed green at times, and he seemed almost ready to spring. “Was he as cruel as a wolf?” I wondered, and then an icy chill went down my spine as I recalled the Empress’s words to me before dinner when I had gone to show her my pretty gown. “Marie,” she had said, “tonight you will see Rudolph. I warn you against him, because he will turn on you if ever he gets the chance.”



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