Stéphanie was a Belgian princess by birth and became the Crown Princess of Austria through marriage.
Princess Stéphanie, the last princess to bear the title of Crown Princess (German: Kronprinzessin) in Austria-Hungary, was born on this day. She attained her Austrian title by marrying Archduke Rudolf of Habsburg, the only known son of Francis Joseph I.
What does the title of Crown Prince (Kronprinz) actually mean? It was the title given to the heir apparent of Austria-Hungary. Rudolf bore that title, but he died in a suicide pact with his mistress Mary Vetsera in 1889. The position of heir apparent was taken over by Franz Ferdinand (who was assassinated in Sarajevo just before World War I broke out). However, since Franz Ferdinand was the emperor’s nephew rather than his son, there were no more Crown Princes or Princesses after Stéphanie (Austria-Hungary broke apart at the end of World War I).
Princess Stéphanie’s marriage to Rudolf wasn’t a happy one. He had several affairs and one of them is likely related to his aforementioned suicide at the age of 30. Stéphanie, only 24 at the time, continued to live in Austria-Hungary, but avoided the court in Vienna and spent most of her time journeying about. She remarried 11 years later, to the Hungarian count Elemér Lónyay de Nagy-Lónya et Vásáros-Namény. The emperor elevated her second husband to the rank of prince in 1917. Princess Stéphanie died in the Monastery of Pannonhalma (northwest Hungary) in 1945, aged 81.