As every schoolboy knows Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. and his wife Sofia in 1914.
And that triggered the First World War.
What I didn’t know though was that Sofia should have survived.
In fact she shouldn’t have been riding alongside FF at all.
Sophia, you see seemed a bit cursed from the start… in fact if it hadn’t been for bad luck she’d have no luck at all.
Sophia was lesser rank than Franz Ferdinand but they fell in love anyway in the Dark of the Matinee.
OK, I probably made that last bit up.
But the old king Franz Jozef was furious and didn’t even turn up for the wedding.
It took the other royal courts of Europe to persuade Franz Jozef to eventually take her into the family.
Not that the other kings were the romantic types, it’s just they thought it would bolster up the unstable Hapsburgs.
And even then there were conditions.
She wasn’t allowed to use the titles she deserved and her children were ruled out of succeeding to the throne.
But of most relevance she wasn’t allowed to ride in an official carriage with her husband.
Quite why she was allowed to on that fateful day in Sarajevo I can’t tell you.
But she would live to regret it if only she lived, copping Princip’s second shot.
All this and more you can learn at the Franz Ferdinand Museum by the river and near the Old Town.
If memory serves me right it’s about €4, or maybe €6, and it comes with artefacts from the time including his gun…
And some background to the politics of the day… Christians v Muslims (nothing much changes) and nationalistic fervour.
There is also a short film of the recreation of the day.
Sarajevo is beautiful, in the apron of the Dinaric Alps and dissected by the Miljacka River where Princip tried to escape, only injuring himself in the process.
It would seem to be that the spot where he shot the Archduke was a must visit too for future VIPs.
A German soldier who was to go on and have his own World War named after him paid a wee visit too.
I’ll revisit the Siege of Sarajevo and the Balkans War in a future post.
And the engrossing Old Town with its Beg’s Mosque.
But for now this beer back in the Irish Centre in Medjugorje won’t drink itself.
And here’s been some musings… Give us this day – Confessions and Medjugorje.
The First World War is a story I’ve spent my life researching and even found my Great Uncles in Flanders fields… In Flanders fields.
Let’s never forget.