Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mayerling: An Interesting Bit of History

Hi! Louise M. Gouge here. (I use my middle initial because, believe it or not, there are several other Louise Gouges in the U. S.)

As a writer of historical novels, I’m always looking for historical movies that bring to life interesting events of the past and showcase some fabulous settings. Usually I prefer films set in England or other parts of the British Isles, but you can’t beat the opulence of the palaces and castles of Austria, Germany, and France. I’m always amazed that the modern owners of these edifices permit their use for filmmaking. Maybe that helps to pay the taxes to keep the buildings open for future generations. Just guessing about that.

Anyway, last night I watched a three-hour miniseries entitled The Crown Prince (aka Kronprinz Rudolf), which tells the story of Crown Prince Rudolf, the late 19th Century heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne. Although I have no doubt the filmmakers “tweaked” history, as they always do, I found this tragic story truly fascinating. If you would like to know more about the deaths of this handsome prince and his pretty, much younger mistress, visit for an overview and several theories about cover-ups of their assumed murder-suicide.

So why am I bringing this up on a blog devoted to historical romance, which specializes in happily-ever-after (HEA) stories? Well, first of all, any self-respecting historical fiction is based upon actual history, even if that history is merely a setting or background for the plot. Not only that, but I think it’s important to understand these tidbits of history because we are who we are today because of who these people were. If the filmmakers are correct, Prince Rudolf wanted to change things in Europe, both socially and politically. He wanted to help the poor and he wanted to influence all of Europe for the good. (Yes, that’s simplistic, but I’m not writing political commentary. :-)) If Rudolf had lived and succeeded with his reforms, perhaps there never would have been a need for the revolutions and wars that followed for the next fifty-some years. Millions upon millions of people all over the world were and have been affected by these two deaths, including you and me. It’s something to think about.

Another historical event/period that has had a lasting effect on subsequent generations is England’s Regency period. I have dipped my writing pen into this era with my first full-length Regency novel, A Proper Companion, which will be released in June from Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical imprint. In this story, an orphaned, impoverished vicar’s daughter is rescued from destitution by a handsome British major. Unlike the tale of poor Prince Rudolf and his lady love, my story definitely has a HEA ending. Look for it at,, and your local Walmart. Please visit my blog at


  1. Louise,

    Keeping history alive is so important. We learn from the mistakes of the past, if we take time to study the past.

    Thanks for a delightful post today.

  2. Great post Louise - I love learning new historical tidbits

  3. Thank you for the comments, Debby and Winnie. The Mayerling deaths are so tragic! I guess one could write a story about how those events affected a hero and heroine. Lots of ways to go with that.

  4. Interesing insight about the prince.
    I remember watching a doco on one of the kings of denmark who they call the father of europe (I think) anyway his line included the royal houses of denmark, russia even england and many other areas. it was interesting seeing the different generations right down to the crown prince of Denmark who married an Aussie commoner.