This historical essay describes Emperor Franz Joseph’s visits to the Czech lands. Both the Monarch’s image and the people’s attitude to his stays in Bohemia and Moravia during his long reign (1848–1916) were prone to change. Following his coronation the young ruler dissolved the Constituent Assembly and returned Austria to Absolute Rule. His popularity declined sharply even though the Czechs supported the Habsburgs during the 1848/49 revolutionary uprising. He was welcomed in Bohemia after his wedding in 1854 but this was fuelled by the hope that the current harsh rule would grow more lenient. Once constitutional rule was reinstated, Czech politicians attempted to entice Franz Joseph to hold his coronation ceremony in Bohemia. In this they did not succeed. During the final decades of his rule the emperor acquired the benign image of an “Old Monarch” and this despite the fact that Czech attachment to the monarchy had weakened considerably over time. Nevertheless the Czech people sincerely liked their Emperor and his visits were always occasions for national celebration. During these visits the aged Monarch would address old war veterans and young children and these meticulously recorded conversations formed an integral part of his official cult.
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Author Name: Ji?í Rak
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Keywords: Emperor Franz Joseph, visits to Czech lands, Monarch’s image, the Habsburgs