The tragic love story that triggered World War I

The name  Franz Ferdinand is familiar to students of the first World War but less well known is the tragic love story of  the Austrian Archduke and his wife, Sophie.

Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo in an incident that led to the outbreak of war. While many people associate the Archduke’s name with the outbreak of the Great War, much less well known is the story of the royal romance.

The Archduke married for love against the wishes of his uncle, the emperor. Franz Ferdinand’s wife, Sophie, was seen as his inferior -and often publicly humiliated. But in this history of their relationship, authors Greg King and Sue Woolmans suggest the couple remained close throughout their marriage and were sustained by their love and by family life.

Franz Ferdinand and Sophie had three children — Max, Ernst and Sophie — whose lives would never be the same after the events in Sarajevo. Indeed  these children were to suffer further tragedy and loss during the two world wars.

For anyone with an interest in history or who enjoys reading about royal romances, The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King and Sue Woolmans is a sympathetic and human insight into a period of great change.

Published by St Martin’s Press, September 2013. ISBN 9781250000163. [Disclosure: An advance review copy was provided via]