The death of the ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was felt by his contemporaries as an epic tragedy, fraught with danger. When Franz Joseph I died on November 21, 1916, it was as if everything that he had represented – security, predictability, an entire system of dynastic, cultural and economic relations that linked European states together – would be lowered with him into the grave. For the citizens of the Empire, Franz Joseph – the Habsburg ruler who considered himself to be the first servant of his peoples – symbolised peace and increasing prosperity. With his departure, no one with similar authority was left to radiate the luminous grandeur of the old world.
„Franz Joseph departure will lead to the disintegration of the thousand-year-old empire.”
„Franz Joseph was not a great man, but he was a true sovereign – perhaps the last true sovereign in world history.”
The Imperial crown of Austria
The Holy Crown of Hungary
Franz Joseph’s ceremonial sword
Franz Joseph’s field marshal’s hat