.“Anything is preferable to the truth” – Emperor Franz Joseph (1830-1916) gives this dire advice to King Leopold II. (1835-1909), the baffled and bewildered father of his daughter-in-law Crown Princess Stephanie (1864-1945) right after the tragedy of Mayerling.
Was it really better, to conceal the course of events, the cause and especially the second body found, and therefore the actual dimensions of this bloody deed? Was it not this policy of secrecy by the Viennese Court concerning this double suicide, which was carried out by Crown Prince Rudolf (1858-1889) and his short-term mistress, Mary Vetsera (1871-1889) on the 30th of January 1889, which led to all other achievements by the very promising emperor’s son being relegated to triviality?
Rudolf’s claim to truth and openness, which he demanded from himself as well as his environment, blatantly contradicts the practices of the Viennese Court, which threatens to submerge in a swamp of intrigues and snobbery. Only few of Rudolf’s contemporaries dare to point out this fact on the occasion of his sudden death: “Austria saw the germination of a monarch, who did not linger in fearful seclusion, but stood in the centre of society, who did not gain his impressions from speeches and reports but directly from the mouths of the most excellent men; who did not want to be surrounded by dumb implements and submissive servants, but who always demanded openness and truth; who did not look down on the masses with cool sovereignty; but who had true friends across all classes.”
Dr. Hannes Etzlstorfer, geboren 1959, ist Kunst- und Kulturhistoriker, Ausstellungskurator und Kulturjournalist in Wien und Neulengbach. Beschäftigt sich seit Jahrzehnten mit den Habsburgern – und Habsburgerinnen, was nicht nur in Publikationen über ihre Residenzen, Reisen und Tafelgenüsse, sondern auch in einer Reihe von Ausstellungen bereits zum Ausdruck gekommen ist. So kuratierte er in Mayerling die neue Kronprinz-Rudolf-Ausstellung und im Schloss Eckartsau die Schau über "Karl und Zita". Zudem gastierte er in mehrmals in TV-Dokumentationen über die Schicksalsgeschichte des Hauses Habsburg.