A fountain shaped as a fan in honour of Duchess Sophie Chotek (1868-1914), the wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand d'Este, was installed at the Pisek Gate near Prague Castle yesterday.
The memorial was original to be unveiled in 2014 on the occasion of 100 years of the assassination in Sarajevo, in which she and her husband were mortally wounded. The assassination led directly to World War I.
Representatives of the Prague 6 district authorities unveiled the artifact by sculptor Martina Hozova and Jan Paclik along with an outdoor photographic exhibition about the life of the countess and her family this afternoon. It will be held by the end of June.
Sophie Chotek was born into one of the most distinguished families of the Czech nobility. Her ancestors had been barons of Bohemia since 1556, counts of Bohemia since 1723, and counts of the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsgrafenstand) since 1745.
On 17 August 1913, the Emperor promoted Franz Ferdinand to the inspector general of the Empire’s armed forces. In this capacity, he was invited to attend maneuvers in Bosnia, but he knew it would not be a friendly territory. The date for the maneuvers was set for 27 June and a visit to Sarajevo was planned for 28 June.
At 10:45 am the couple descended the front steps of the city hall and they set off towards the Appel Quay. The car then went the wrong way, forcing it to stop and reverse. As it was stopped, they came face to face with Gavrilo Princip. One bullet is believed to have gone straight through Franz Ferdinand’s helmet, the other hit Sophie.