It says something that Rudolph wept desperately on his wedding day as if about to go to his execution —- and no one cared enough to console him.
Rudolph was so nervy about meeting Stephanie the Rubber Princess he even took Mizzi Caspar (per gossipy Carl Lonyay who later wrote a bitchy bio to lambast his step -aunt). Rudolph had refused every other potential Catholic bride so by default Stephanie was it. Alas, Stephanie was destined to be Rudoph’s worst enemy. Sure. Bismarck was more fearsome. Sisi was more insane. Francis Joseph was more oblivious. Albrecht was more senile and therefore paranoid. But Stephanie was suppose to guard Rudolph’s back. Instead she attacked Rudolph whenever his back was turned.
Stephanie had a brilliant instinct where to stick the knife between the shoulder blades and how to heckle, needle, ridicule, belittle, nag, pester, badger, scold, whine, complain, annoy, and humiliate. Stephanie’s definition of wifely love was torture. Torture of the heart. Torture of the soul. Torture of the body. Torture of the psyche.
Stephanie spent their entire marriage tearing Rudolph down before everyone in public while she crucified him behind the scenes. She sabotaged him while debasing him in public. She undermined him with Francis Joseph. She undermined him with the public. She undermined him with history.
She appointed herself Rudolph’s personal tormenter as well as documenter of his ‘Decline & Fall’ which she eagerly aided and abetted in every way. Please read the Paramatta Mystery and discover how far Stephanie went to destroy Rudolph.
Stephanie openly said she found Rudolph ugly and repulsive. She openly declared that Rudolph was a means to an end: to become Empress of Austro Hungary. Well! Actually just Austria! She did not give a fig about Hungary. Stephanie grilled Rudolph’s handlers about the palaces she expected to enjoy, the lavish estates she expected to enjoy, the Habsburg jewels she expected to enjoy, the exact size of the blue sapphire engagement ring she expected to flaunt, the rich silver lace wedding gown she expected to order from Paris, the size of the wedding cake, the lavish marriage she expected Francis Joseph to pay for, the honeymoon in Venice, the Spanish Etiquette she expected the servants to deliver on bent knee while cowering, the perks she expected to enjoy in the Hofburg, and how fast Francis Joseph would keel over dead so she could become Empress. Well! Perhaps not the last part but she was thinking it!
Stephanie was very disappointed to discover how poor her husband was. Rudolph only enjoyed 45,000 guilders plus Rudolph’s tiny lieutenant’s pay. No places. No estates. No jewels. Only grace and favor charity at such royal digs as might be allowed or not. (Mostly not as Sisi famously made sure Rudolph and Stephanie never was allowed to stay at any palace she was staying at.) And Francis Joseph was a notorious miser (outside of lavishing jewels and palaces on Sisi)and he only delivered the minimum per Spanish Etiquette on Rudolph and Stephanie.
Stephanie was so furious she humiliated Francis Joseph by ridiculing the Hofburg, the largest palace in Europe —- without one functioning bathroom. Stephanie spent some of her Congo blood money to install the first gold plated bathroom —- but refused to share it with Rudolph who continued to wash in a hip bath with two buckets along with a water basin and pitcher, a chamber pot, and a kettle to heat hot water before a smoky fireplace in digs that were either too hot in summer or else too cold in winter. Stephanie was given grace and favor digs next to Rudolph’s grace and favor digs. it symbolized their separate lives.
Rudolph quickly panicked after first meeting Stephanie and begged his handler to beg Sisi who was in London to come and meet Stephanie in order to solicit her help to break the engagement while there was still time.
Sisi did not want to ruin her hunting season but finally grudgingly agreed to come. She made sure she descended from the train in the best gown and jewels to upstage the parvenu Stephanie.
Stephanie had her revenge a few days later when she treated Rudolph and Sisi to tea. Stephanie went on and on and on about how dreadful it must be for Sisi to know that as an carrier of the notorious Wittelsbach Bane she would surely go insane. Sisi stormed out as Rudolph sat drop jaw in utter shock. Then Rudolph put down his tea cup and saucer and reminded Stephanie that any heir and spare she might procreate from his Wittelsbach loins would likewise be genetically insane. Then Rudolph stormed out.
Rudolph stalled for time frantically and then staged a scene with Wales before the entire Habsburgs at Godollo as if symbolically screaming out his terror. Wales arranged for a hunt they had taken to climax with the delivery of enough bear rugs to prove to Francis Joseph that Rudolph was not a coward. Then hunters released a mountain cat from its cage as Rudolph shot it point blank in front of everyone.
Wales then delicately tried to warn the dense parents that Rudolph was utterly, utterly ,utterly desperate about this disaster of an engagement and was all but suicidal.
Sisi simply left to fox hunt until the wedding. Francis Joseph said the ghastly demonstration proved his son was a hysterical coward. The marriage went on.
Sisi only appeared two days before the wedding to upstage her daughter- in- law. Neither parent expressed the slightest concern for Rudolph who had to beg them to at least let Wales come to the wedding because Wales would be his only friend at the ghastly event.
Stephanie was bitterly disappointed when she found out that her honeymoon would not be in Venice (which was now the property of Italy and not the Habsburg Empire) and instead the damp Laxenburg Castle. Husband and wife arrived after a lavish Spanish Etiquette pomp and circumstances wedding so Francis could show off to Stephanie’s greedy father King Leopold of Belgium. They arrived at the end of a long and cold spring day with ice and snow blowing as if a symbolic symbol of their future marriage.
Sisi was responsible for handling the honeymoon suite just as Sophie had done for her. Stephanie and Rudolph arrived to a damp old castle to find no fires, no sheets, no blankets, no pillows, no flowers, no curtains, no carpets, the water basins iced over, the servants not told to prepared anything whatsoever, no food, no nothing. NOTHING.
Stephanie could have earned Rudolph’s desperate friendship forever by sympathizing with him. How could a mother, any mother, treat her son with such back handed contempt? Instead, Stephanie lambasted Rudolph as if it was his fault. Stephanie never ever forgave Stephanie or Rudolph (though how this was Rudolph’s fault is anyone’s guess).
Rudolph realized on his bitter and freezing wedding night that not only was his mother a narcissist but his wife was!
Stephanie remained entirely self centered for the rest of their bitter marriage. She never ever took the slightest interest in Rudolph’s military career, academic interests, hobbies, sports, conventions, expositions, inspections, or duties. Much less his passions for birds or electricity or MC. Howbeit she did try to make MC’s life hell too.
Stephanie tried her best to avoid touring with Rudolph as he traveled the Empire . So by default Rudolph toured with MC. Stephanie nagged him to leave Prague which he loved for Vienna which only left him more belittled and ignored. She had to be ordered to go with Rudolph to the Balkans after his life was threatened.
Most of the time Stephanie lived at spas and hotels and resorts except when she imagined delusional that she was replacing the absentee Sisi in Vienna Pomp & Circumstances events with Francis Joseph. In fact Francis Joseph no less than Sisi loathed Stephanie. As did the entire Hofburg.
Stephanie’s hatred of Rudolph was like a bitch sitting on a branch while she saws it off. She undermined Rudolph when she was not poisoning him oblivious to the reality that Vienna absolutely hated her. Once Rudolph died and Stephanie became merely the Crown Princess Widow Stephanie everyone in the Hofburg plunged their knives into her. Even Erzsi her own daughter grew up hating her. Francis Joseph made her life hell before finally letting her marry her boy toy Lonyay.
Stephanie made her boy toy’s life hell as well. But every time he left her in disgust her money lured him back. No one loved the Rubber Princess but everyone loved her Congo Blood Money.
King Leopold II owned the Congo as his personal ‘wedding cake’ of riches including gold, ivory, gems, and rubber. And besides other uses, Rubber was now used for condoms. The Congo was rapidly becoming infamous, and not just sexually, but that never bothered Stephanie.
Stephanie later published her diaries which revealed her alternative concept of reality where she was the most beautiful princess in the entire world adored by one and all who was forced to suffer unforgivable horrors because of evil spiteful, depraved, immoral, and perverted Rudolph. The title summed it up the tone: I Should Have Been Empress God Damn It! As Stephanie scribbled out her delusional memoirs her hated step-nephew Carl Lonyay scribbled out his biography to crucify her as she crucified Rudolph. What goes around comes around.
Ironically Rudolph’s ton of letters to Stephanie revealed another alternative reality of loving Coco to his loving Coceuse. As even his beloved tutor Latour noted of Rudolph, he was a charming liar. He lied to be loved.
Rudolph probably slept around (or at least slept at Mizzi Caspar’s flat except for an occasional boy’s night out at Mrs. Wolfe) but Rudolph genuinely tried to be friends with Stephanie. He desperately needed an ally. But Stephanie simply was too much the narcissist to accommodate Rudolph’s attempts to be civilized.
Catholic Marriage never featured fidelity, at least among the upper and lower classes. Fidelity is a middle class ideal and a Protestant virtue. Stephanie’s rage was that Rudolph did not worship her on bent knee while Stephanie enjoyed her own lovers. HOW DARE YOU REJECT ME!ME! ME! ME! Stephanie was such a narcissist she even protested that Rudolph’s demanding job prevented Rudolph from adequately adoring her. I WAS BORN TO BE EMPRESS GOD DAMN IT! WHERE ARE YOUR PRIORITES RUDY? GET WITH THE AGENDA! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME!
It is amazing to compare the diaries and letters side by side. The alternative realities. But when Stephanie raves that Rudolph was madly jealous of handsome and virile ‘Reds’ in their skin tight red uniforms flirting with her because Stephanie was so overpoweringly beautiful and the icon of her age you really know that Stephanie’s lies were delusional. Rudolph’s lies were politeness and the sad need to be loved or at least liked.
I get this between the lines gut instinct that at home Stephanie physically abused Rudolph. Rudolph was always commenting on his many ‘stupid accidents’ but while he probably was a cutter I can’t help but wonder if some of those ‘stupid accidents’ were physical abuse. A gentleman will never hit a lady no matter what and despite his volcanic temper he had this embedded compulsion to maintain the elaborate Spanish Etiquette façade of super politeness, graciousness, and magnanimous magnificence which was the Hasburgs . And Stephanie’s overwhelming hatred and petty viciousness toward Rudolph is amazing.
Stephanie was really jealous of his talents and the fact the people adored him. He was the Shining Prince. She was the Shrew with the perpetual lemon smirk of utter contempt and sneering scorn for absolutely everyone. She was so sure she was superior to absolutely everyone despite the fact she spoke German badly and her grasp of genteel etiquette and food and wines were so bad Rudolph had to prepare every single menu, select the wines, organize the seating, and apologize in advanced for Stephanie’s rudeness and her genius for putting her high heel foot in her mouth.
There are letters from Rudolph pleading for Stephanie to please, please, please, please have a carriage meet his train when he was coming back from some long military inspection and to please, please, please have the servants ready with hot water for a quick bath before the house guests arrived and to please, please, please not change his menu or wine list and to please, please, please not change the horse he previously selected if riding was required. Of course Rudolph was a micro managing fussbudget and very anal OCD but still the letters are so very sad. It was like saying ‘Please, please, please ration your stilettos you are compelled to plunge into me at least in front of the guests and please, please, please restrain your impulsive to claw out my eyes at least until after the guests leave….’
Stephanie could not do anything so Rudolph had to do everyone on top of his busy job and academic meetings and political meetings and even pay for the household with his limited monies when Stephanie was the Rubber Princess. Yet Stephanie never ever bothered to support Rudolph in any way whatsoever while shrieking that he ignored her by spending so much time at his job to pay proper attention to Stephanie. DON’T YO UNDERSTAND THE PRIORITES? ME! ME! ME! ME!ME! ME!ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME!
Stephanie was liked this psyche vampire. There are psyche vampires. They are human black holes. They are compelled to suck out the pranic energy of the soul of their victims. Their hunger is as bottomless as their conceit. For all of their elaborate façade they are really empty shells inside. So they are compelled to hunt down the bright and shining to emotionally devour before destroying because their bottomless hunger is only excelled by their bottomless envy. The tragedy of Rudolph was he was such a Shining Prince but he was emotionally defenseless as everyone assaulted him.
Stephanie was abnormally tall, as well as fat. She was called the Flemish Camel or the Flemish Giraffe. She was so flaxen she was colorless. Her too pale eyes and nonexistent eyebrows giving her look of a calculating shrew. Her expression was a perpetual lemon. Her scornful sneer of pure contempt ultimately froze to her features.
On her wedding day she carefully climbed into custom French high heels to stand one inch taller than her husband. Really! That does say something doesn’t it!
Stephanie’s terrible blotchy complexion did finally clear up after she discovered the wonders of Arsenic Beauty Wash the Victorian wife’s best friend. Not only does it do wonders to clear up the completion but it can be sprinkled into the morning coffee of inconvenient spouses as many a Victorian wife discovered. Unfortunately Rudolph lived.
It took two years to birth a child. Clearly this was not a bed of roses! Thorns! The Cross! The child proved to be a girl and therefore dynastically worthless. Unless Stephanie could sire a heir and spare she would not secure her goal of being Empress (preferably over Rudolph’s dead body). Francis Joseph was not obligated to nominate Rudolph and Stephanie and he really wanted a grandchild —- or else!
Her letters increasingly hysterically reported her period as if Rudolph was calculating the maximum potency for procreation for the minimum time required in the bed of the Rubber Princess. By the time the door closed forever nearly six years passed with only one child, a girl, to show. Stephanie’s panting diaries prove she was sexually enthusiastic as her later lovers can attest. She would boast of her passion in bed with her lovers to her bitter sister Louise who was married to a sadistic abuser.
Rudolph’s playboy reputation was mostly an invention of Bombelles. In fact after her honeymoon Stephanie maliciously noted that her husband’s skills in bed were overrated. Apparently he was less than skilled or experienced and the clumsy and awkward outcome was decidedly sour for both of them. It set the tone for the rest of their dismal marriage.
But Stephanie should have reined in her open hated for Rudolph and resisted her ‘Who’s Is Afraid Of Virginia Woolf’ nonstop insults, nagging, belittling, and humiliating at least until she scored the heir and spare. What man wants to procreate with a woman who nags and belittles and humiliates him? Stephanie simply could not control her hatred even at the cost of procreating the heir and spare which she needed to score her sole ambition: to be Empress! Her spite would come back to haunt her in 86.
In 86 both husband and wife came down with gonorrhea at the same time. Stephanie naturally blamed Rudolph. Both evidence hints that Stephanie was not just unfaithful AFTER 86. She was unfaithful BEFORE the STD hit. Today we would call it an open marriage. But normally such Victorian open marriages occur after the heir and spare are procreated. Then anything goes as long as one does not do it in the street and scare the horses. But if Rudolph had a low sex drive —- at least with Stephanie —- and if even MC never got pregnant by Rudolph —- and if he was only anxious about one bastard (which he rushed off to America with General Longstreet) —- then the trouble appears to be with Rudolph. From the beginning the court knew that Rudolph could only copulate if drunk on champagne. There was something about beds and sex that apparently terrified him and triggered his Anxiety Depression and PTSD.
Anxiety Depression along with PTSD causes low sex drive and flattens the libido. Contrary to rumors ,Rudolph was not really a big sex stud. He was more a cuddle type who wanted to feel safe and loved and protected and in sort —- mothered. Stephanie was not one’s definition of a motherly type.
Stephanie was running out of time. Male potency peaks at 20 and Rudolph’s potency appeared decidedly dodgy. So Stephanie might have resorted to substitutes to sire the heir and spare which were seriously over due by now. Seriously over due. As long as Stephanie picked Slavs with blond hair she would be safe . Erzsi was flaxen. Francis Joseph might have accepted a compromise in the Habsburg Red if the child was reasonably apparently legal. After all , Francis Joseph was blasé about Valerie the Bed Pan Miracle reputedly sired by Andrassy — or at least arranged to materialize at exactly the right time by Andrassy to keep Sisi sane during the crucial Duel Monarchy Scheme which Francis Joseph desperately needed after the horrific military defeats which climaxed with Koniggratz.
Gonorrhea shows up fast in men but can be carried in infected women for months or even years before any symptoms show. So you see Stephanie could have just as easily infected Rudolph as visa versa. But either way the door closed to procreate the heir and spare.
Gonorrhea left both husband and wife sterile and impotent (at least on the part of Rudolph). Stephanie never forgave Rudolph and her hatred boiled over into increasing incontrollable fury. Meanwhile she launched more affairs with lovers which she boasted of to her sullen sister who reported them to everyone . Meanwhile Rudolph started to openly say that the heir apparent to Francis Joseph would be Franz Ferdinand. Not Rudolph.
Stephanie clawed at Rudolph’s love for MC. Mizzi Caspar was everything Stephanie was not . She was lower middle class and lived with her mother in a flat which Rudolph co-habited. She was loving, gentle, reassuring, supportive, kind, and protective. She was the motherly type and probably could tickle Rudolph out of his Anxiety Depression while understanding his PTSD which Stephanie spitefully publicized to everyone as evidence of Rudolph ‘s madness and cowardice and decline and fall. Stephanie later described Rudolph’s concussion symptoms exactly the same way. If that isn’t cruel and vindictive then what is?
Rudolph and MC went to heurigen beer gardens together to unwind after stressful days at work which Stephanie found utterly vulgar. They went on military tours together and cohabitated in grim barracks. They traveled together on Rudolph’s many military tours. MC supported Rudolph in every way as Stephanie undermined Rudolph in every way. Stephanie never understood the definition of love. MC was Rudolph’s ‘Camilla’.
I am sure delusional Stephanie would whine that she was just like Diana ! Beautiful! Admired! Beloved! An Icon of her Age! And rejected for a cow! Whine! Whine! Whine! I hate to break it to you Stephanie! You are no Diana! But MC is Camilla!
The last time Stephanie saw her husband alive was at the German Embassy Ball. They were ambushed by Mother & Daughter Vetsera. Helen had just tried to ambush Francis Joseph in front of Sisi to extort money — only to fail. Now it was Rudolph’s turn. Mary was wearing a gaudy fashionista outfit. Stephanie was a parvenu but at least she bought top shelf French and wore genuine French jewels and a legal tiara instead of a cheap crescent moon pin stuck into her hair like Mary. The females stiffened and glared as Rudolph stood stiff as a corpse and rigid with Spanish Etiquette. Helen finally forced Mary to bow. Rudolph’s eyes flashed greenish —a famous sign of icy rage. Rudolph’s eyes could be amazingly feral. Helen suddenly realized she crossed the line and dragged Mary away. The entire confrontation lasted five minutes and most people never even saw it.
Rudolph later talked red faced to the Lady Paget who was a friend how embarrassed he was by both the heavy Prussian epaulets ‘I loathe these confoundedly heavy things’ and also how he wished someone would do something about Mary who was becoming an acute embarrassment to him.
Stephanie loved to dance with ‘Reds’ in their tight, red hussar garb. Rudolph rarely danced at balls at all. Husband and wife finally met to exit. There was a snafu about Stephanie ‘s ermine cloak in the cloak room. She naturally commenced shouting like a washer woman. Everyone cringed at her bad German and worse manners. Finally Rudolph whispered ‘Please speak more softly’. Stephanie kept shrieking. Then Stephanie shouted in front of everyone for Rudolph to go fetch her fur as if a lackey. Everyone was shocked.
Rudolph blanched but softly replied ‘If you had your way you would have Spindler or Bombeles shot for any silly little mistake made by one of the lackeys. Leave me alone about your silly cloak.’ The couple finally departed and sat icy across each other in their carriage as they vanished into the cold night.
The Hofburg later recalled this nastiness after Mayerling and said it perfectly summed up the awful marriage. Francis Joseph and Sisi later blamed Stephanie for Mayerling and agreed Stephanie all but drove Rudolph into an early grave with her nagging and selfish, petty, vindictive, self centered bitchiness. Yet neither parent bothered to stop the marriage before Catholic Rites cemented it forever.
However there is absolutely no evidence Rudolph ever contacted the Pope to annul it. Catholic marriages are to cement alliances, secure money, transfer titles, and beget the heir and spare. Love is expected elsewhere and infidelity was winked at as the norm. Like Prince Charles and his Camilla, Rudolph had a strong bond with MC. He spent his last night in Vienna in her arms. But both Rudolph and MC played by the rules. Stephanie was the frantic one. Like the unfaithful Diana, unfaithful Stephanie was the one plotting to break the marriage triad. Neither Charles or Rudolph entertained the thought of divorce because they understood the rules of the game. It was the pair of parvenu brides they married who failed to understand the rules of the game. Now that becoming Empress was becoming more and more unlikely Stephanie moved into a different end game no less than Diana.
Stephanie was desperate not to lose her boy toy Lonyay to someone richer, younger, and prettier. Only Catholic Rites could secure him to her side forever. That meant Rudolph had to die. Read the Paramatta Mystery to find out how Stephanie decided to solve her romantic problem once and for all.
Stephanie hired and fired nannies to look after Erzsi. Mostly she ignored Erzsi. Rudolph was the primary caregiver of the child. Rudolph rushed into her nursery first thing on returning from his military tours and when the child was sick fussed over her. When she caught a childhood contagious disease he stood outside her nursery staring into her window with binoculars to monitor her while writing frantic letters to Stephanie at some hotel or spa who simply tossed them.
Stephanie would punish the willful child by ordering the Hofburg guards to deny her Spanish Etiquette of drums and bugles while ordering her nanny to drag her to early mass. Meanwhile she lounged in bed reading French novels. Erzsi grew up hating her mother and adoring her dead father.
Only in old age did Stephanie mellow enough as she savored at least the joy of the ultimate revenge against the entire Habsburg Clan as Austro Hungary imploded after WW 1.