Turning fifty years old in the spring of 2014, Franz Ferdinand, the nephew of the aging emperor Franz Joseph, became the heir apparent to the Hapsburg thrones of Austria and Hungary after the untimely death of Franz Joseph’s only son. The emperor did not like Ferdinand personally, nor the fact that he would be succeeding him.
In 1900 Franz Ferdinand married Countess Sophie Chotek von Chotkova und Wognin against Emperor Franz Joseph’s wishes. Since Sophie did not make the list of those eligible to marry and transmit royalty, Franz Joseph forced Ferdinand to agree that his wife would be excluded from joining him at any formal functions, and their offspring could not succeed to the throne. However, he feared that once he died, and Ferdinand became emperor, he would find away to make Sophie his rightful empress.
Besides the fact that Ferdinand married against his wishes, Franz Joseph did not agree on his successor’s political viewpoints. However, he could not prevent his nephew from inheriting his throne; it was his birth right and there was nothing he could do – or was there?
Ferdinand was a social isolate with very few friends and In general no one liked him, except perhaps his wife and children.
Austria and Hungary both claimed ownership of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Austria wanted to annex it, which might be the reason Austrian officials made arrangements in 1913 for the archduke to travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina in late June 1914 to inspect the maneuvers of the Bosnia-Herzegovina armed forces. His official visit might substantiate Austrian’s claim.
There were factions within Bosnia-Herzegovina that wanted to be independent from both Austria and Hungary, thus the archduke’s visit was risky. However he accepted the task because Sophie would be able to join him during official proceedings, especially the ceremonies planned for June 28th, which mirrored their wedding anniversary. They were to take place in the provincial capital of Sarajevo.