Full Name: Rudolf Franz Karl Joseph
Biography: Rudolf was born heir apparent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1889, as the third child and only son of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth of Bavaria. He was educated from the age of six so he as to prepare him to take over his father's role as Emperor.
During this time, Rudolf acquired an interest in the natural sciences; he also developed liberal views, closer to his mother than his conservative father.
Rudolf married Princess Stéphanie of Belgium, and though the two began well enough they were estranged by the birth of their first and only child in 1883: the Archduchess Elisabeth.
As Rudolf drifted apart from his wife, he took comfort in drinking and other female companions. Then in 1888, he met Baroness Mary Vetsera, with whom he began an affair. Rudolf's life ended in 1889, when he was found dead in an apparent suicide pact along with the Baroness Vetsera.
As a result, Emperor Franz Joseph was left without a male heir. This led to the Archduke Franz Ferdinand being made heir apparent, whose assassination ultimately precipitated World War I.
- 1889-01-30 Archduke Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, is found dead with his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera in Mayerling in an apparent suicide pact