A Habsburg is totally out of character, be it by his lifestyle, his way of dressing, his involuntary place of residence and at the same time the place of his final resting place. So who was Luziwuzi, as he was affectionately called by the family, and why did he like to wear women’s clothes?
In every family there are misfits, eccentric eccentrics, black sheep, and we can definitely count Archduke Ludwig Viktor von Habsburg-Lothringen, called Luziwuzi, the youngest brother of Emperor Franz Joseph, among them. His remains are not in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna, where most Habsburgs rest, but in the village of Siezenheim, near the city of Salzburg in a plain grave with an inconspicuous memorial stone with the intertwined letters LV, deceased on January 18, 1919. But let’s first shed light on his childhood and youth and how everything developed. He was born in Vienna on May 15, 1842, the youngest son of Archduke Franz Karl and his wife Sophie. Actually, he was supposed to be a girl, because there were already three sons and in between a girl died at the age of four. As the baby of the family, he was given a certain “fool’s license” for a long time, since he liked to be the center of attention and wanted to be noticed. He was also known for his sharp tongue. He had probably noticed early on himself that he was oriented differently than his brothers and his mother must have sensed this as well, because he was not given a “hygiene lady”, as was quite common with the other young arch-heroes, in order to instruct them in the vital form of reproduction. With Luziwuzi it was different, handsome young men ran after him to offer themselves to him, or perhaps to hope for an imperial reward? Even in his youth, he was passionate about going to the theater, opera and ballet. He also began collecting art objects like many of his ancestors. The enfant terrible loved raucous parties, large-scale social events, overdressed ladies and varied evening entertainment. He himself also appeared on theater stages in women’s clothes. The scandals increased, one heard about certain incidents on the Prater main avenue with hackney carriage drivers, some excitements at the seaside resort Abbazia (today Opatija), because Luziwuzi lived out his disposition relatively loosely and self-confidently. The construction of the Ringstrasse and the many new palaces added even more to its self-importance. The young star architect Ferstel built one of the most important Ringstrasse palaces in the Renaissance style for Luziwuzi at Schwarzenbergplatz number 1. Later the military casino association moved in there and today it is also one of the venues of the Burgtheater “Kasino am Schwarzenbergplatz”. Here he could more than represent with an open staircase, gallery, ballroom and banquet hall, winter garden dining room and tower cabinet. Even the drain pipes of the toilets are said to have been made of Untersberg marble. Only swimming pool there was none. Thus, he liked to appear twice a week in a public bath accompanied by an aide. All this, of course, in secret, because it would not have been tolerated in court society. What really happened in this bath at that time is described in many variations. The fact is that he received a resounding slap in front of many witnesses when he made a brazen and insinuating hand gesture in the direction of a handsome young man. This incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and he was forced to appeal to his eldest brother, Emperor Franz Joseph. The outcome of this conversation was Luziwuzi’s deportation to Salzburg to Schloss Kleßheim. But as unpopular as he had been in Vienna, he became popular in Salzburg because he did a lot for the people. Right next to Schloss Kleßheim was a state sanatorium for the mentally ill, where he was later committed and incapacitated. He was ill for a long time and died of pneumonia at the age of 76. Only his niece Marie Valerie, Sisi’s favorite daughter, came to his deathbed as the only Habsburg.