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Marie Alexandrine ''
Freiin (; male, abbreviated as ), (; his wife, abbreviated as , literally "free lord" or "free lady") and (, his unmarried daughters and maiden aunts) are designations used as titles of nobility in the German-speaking areas of the Holy Roman Empire ...
'' von Vetsera (19 March 1871 – 30 January 1889) was a member of Austrian "second society" (new nobility) and one of
Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria en, Rudolph Francis Charles Joseph , caption = , spouse = , issue = Archduchess Elisabeth Marie , house = Habsburg-Lorraine The House of Habsburg-Lorraine (german: Haus Habsburg-Lothringen) originated from the ma ...
's mistresses. Vetsera and Rudolf were found dead by apparent suicide, at his hunting lodge,
Mayerling Mayerling is a small village (pop. 200) in Lower Austria Lower Austria (german: Niederösterreich; Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian: ''Niedaöstareich'', ''Niedaestareich'') is one of the nine states of Austria, located in the northeastern corn ...

Mayerling
in January 1889, an event known as the
Mayerling incident The Mayerling incident is the series of events surrounding the apparent murder–suicide pact A pact, from Latin ''pactum'' ("something agreed upon"), is a formal agreement. In international relations, pacts are usually between two or more ...
.


Early life

Known by the English form of her name, Mary (her maternal grandfather's second wife was English), she was the third child of Albin von Vetsera, a diplomat in foreign service at the Austrian court,Markus, George, ''Crime at Mayerling: The Life and Death of Mary Vetsera'', Ariadne Press, 1995, p. 23. and his much younger wife, Hélène (also known as Eleni) , a member of a wealthy Greek noble family from the island of
Chios Chios (; el, Χίος, Khíos ) is the fifth largest of the Greece, Greek list of islands of Greece, islands, situated in the northern Aegean Sea. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. Chios is notable for its exports of Mast ...

Chios
, then part of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
. Albin, who was made a
baron Baron is a rank of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of th ...

baron
in 1870 by the
Emperor Franz Joseph Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I (german: Franz Josef Karl, hu, Ferenc József Károly, hr, Franjo Josip Karlo, cs, František Josef Karel, 18 August 1830 – 21 November 1916) was Emperor of Austria The Emperor of Austria ( German: '' Kaise ...
, was 22 years older than his young and socially ambitious wife. Mary had three siblings: Johanna (known as Hannah), Ladislaus, and Franz Albin. Both of Hélène's sisters had married
count Count (feminine: countess) is a historical title of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility ...

count
s and Mary and her sister were expected to raise the family's social status by continuing the tradition of marrying into families of importance. Mary von Vetsera attended a
finishing school A finishing school is a school for young women that focuses on teaching social graces {{Short pages monitor