History - OnThisDay- September 2nd. 1883 - Archduchess Elisabeth Marie of Austria, the red Archduchess

September 2nd. 1883 marks the birth of Archduchess Elisabeth Maria Henriette
Stephanie Gisela of Austria. This event took place at Schloss Laxenburg.



Elisabeth, with her mother Stéphanie



Family

Archduchess Elisabeth Marie of Austria was the daughter of Crown Prince
Rudolf of Austria and Princess Stéphanie of Belgium.

Her grandparents were Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth of Austria,
also called Sisi. 

Her maternal grandparents were King Leopold II of Belgium and his wife,
Marie Henriette of Austria. 

Archduchess Elisabeth Marie of Austria received the name Erzsi from her
family. She was Franz Joseph's favorite granddaughter.

Erzsi was only five years old, when her father and his mistress, Baroness
Mary Vetsera, died in the Mayerling drama.

After the death of her father, Franz Joseph took the guardianship over Erzsi. 
She could not leave Austria with her mother.

In 1900 Stéphanie married the younger Hungarian Count Elemer Lonyay.
Elisabeth broke off all contact with her mother.


Elisabeth with her first husband, Prince Otto


Love and Marriage

First Elisabeth was considered as a possible bride for Prince Albert, who
should later became King Albert I of Belgium. However King Leopold II
of Belgium refused to give his permission.

In 1900, Elisabeth met Prince Otto Weriand of Windisch-Graetz at a court
ball. He was below her in rank. However the emperor agreed. The couple
married at the Hofburg in Vienna on January 23rd. 1902. They had three
sons and a daughter. 

However during their marriage Elisabeth and Otto were open in having
mutual affairs. After the death of Franz Joseph in 1916 and the end of the
monarchy in 1918, the couple separated. 

In 1921, Elisabeth joined the Social Democratic Party, That is why she was
called the Red Archduchess.

In 1948 she formally divorced Prince Otto and on May 4th. 1948,
Elisabeth married Leopold Petznek, a teacher and a
Social Democratic politician. 



Death

Elisabeth died on March 16th. 1963, at the age of 79. She was buried,
according to her wishes, besides her second husband in an unmarked
grave at the Hütteldorfer Friedhof in Vienna.


Source pictures: Wikipedia