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  The Emperor believed unshakably in his divine right to rule Austria and its dominions, despite being a constitutional monarch, and told President Theodore Roosevelt his mission was to protect his subjects from his ministers.

His life was blighted by personal tragedies: his first child, Sophie, died at the age of two; his wife Elizabeth was stabbed to death in Geneva; his son Crown Prince Rudolph committed suicide; his brother Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, was executed by rebels; he lost a lot of territory through wars and saw the end of Austrian pre--eminence amongst the German states.

  He was not one to indulge infringements of etiquette: his adjutants were dismissed summarily if they spoke without having been spoken to and also for clicking their heels in front of him.

His great love was the army. He wore military uniform most of the time and did not care for civilian clothes. Music and literature did not interest him a great deal, but he did attend the theatre quite a bit and visited scores of art exhibitions. He was not quick to embrace the modern world, but did have a telephone and did open the Budapest underground railway in 1896, being its first passenger. He slept on a simple iron bed and his diet was very plain. He led a modest life in the midst of the opulence of his palaces.