PERSONS OF INTEREST
IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN THE LIFE OF MAJOR A. A. GORDON
The funeral procession of His Majesty King Edward VII in 1910, had brought so many foreign Royalties to London, that many large mansion houses were loaned to King George V, for the accommodations of the guest. Aspley House was not an exception in this and His Royal Imperial Highness the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was allotted to stay here. On the night of his arrival, The Archduke was invited to dine at Buckingham Palace and Gordon went to see Prince Charles Kinsky (a member of the suite of the Archduke) inform what the Archduke would like to layout in his sitting-room on his return from the palace. The replay was "Whiskey and soda and nothing else." On his return to Aspley house, the Archduke asked surprisingly for Champagne instead of the Whiskey and soda that was yet provided. Gordon then had to take his master key to go to the wine cellar, and without consulting the wine book, he took a couple of bottles "Pommery and greno". Gordon left the bottles in the sitting-room of the Archduke and assumed the suit would manage the uncorking of the bottles, which was successful because both bottles were empty the next morning. The Archduke presented Gordon a jewelled cigarette case on behalf of his uncle, Emperor Franz-Joseph, for his attentions. Gordon then asked his Master if he could send a dozen of rose flowers, the Archduke really loved during his stay at Aspley House. Gordon sent the flowers to the Archduke principal home in Austria and received a letter telling how much he appreciated gift.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austia was born on 18th December 1863 as the son of Archduke Karel Lodewijk of Austria and Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Sicily. Ferdinand was a nephew of Emperor Frans Jozef I. His mother died when he was 8 years old and his father remarried with Maria Theresia of Bragança. Because of the death of a cousin, Francis V, Duke of Modena in 1875, he became one of the richest men in Austria on eleven years of age. Ferdinand had a good relationship with his stepmother, who supported him with difficulties around his marriage with Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg in 1900.
When his cousin and Crown-Prince Rudolf committed suicide in 1886, Ferdinand's father was assumed to be the heir to the throne, but because of his death in 1896, Emporer Frans Jozef I had to take Franz Ferdinand reluctantly as his successor. Franz Ferdinand was crowned on the 19th May 1896.
Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated on the 28 of July 1914 in Sarajevo by the 19-year-old, Gravilo Princip. A previous attack that day by Nedeljko Čabrinović, who threw a grenade at the car of the Archduke failed. The Archduke dying words to his wife Sophie were, "Don't die, darling, live for our children."