Prince Rudolf and Mary Vetsera

1 Aug

It isn’t often that 126-year-old mysteries are solved, but that is what I opened my Kurier to discover this morning. Although almost everyone has accepted the version of events that said Crown Prince Rudolf’s death with Mary Vetsera in a hunting lodge near Heiligenkreuz on 30 January 1889 was a “double suicide” (in the words of the Kurier), there were a few holdouts like Paul Hofmann in his fascinating, and sadly out-of-print, book The Spell of the Vienna Woods. He pointed out there was some suspicion that, in fact, the two had been murdered–perhaps by Mary’s uncles–and the whole thing was made to look like suicide. Now Mary Vetsera’s suicide notes to her mother, sister, and brother have been found. They were hidden for decades along with other Vetsera papers in a safe deposit box at the Schoeller Bank on Renngasse in Vienna.

I’m surprised at how intensely interested I am in this fact. My sympathy has always been with the less romantic–but harder working and more effective–Hapsburgs, like Empress Maria Teresia and Emperor Franz Josef. Perhaps it’s just the idea that something I never, ever expected to learn for sure in this life, I have now suddenly and with no effort found out. I just opened the newspaper. Perhaps next week they’ll publish proof that Salieri really did murder Mozart!

The article itself (in German, of course) can be found here: http://kurier.at/lebensart/leben/mary-vetseras-abschiedsbriefe-entdeckt/144.528.774

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