Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria taking part in the Corpus Christi procession at Stephansplatz in Vienna.
In addition to his seventeen territorial titles, the Emperor was described as “His Apostolic Majesty”: the monarchy was the greatest Roman Catholic power in the world. At an Easter ceremony every year, the Emperor and the Empress washed the feet of the poor, in a humble imitation of Christ…. On the feast of Corpus Christi, the Emperor joined in the clerical procession, carrying a lighted candle in his hands….
Court staff at a procession at Heldenplatz outside the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna.
The Corpus Christi procession outshone all others. The restraint of Lent and the grave pomp of Easter had been left behind: this was a dazzling occasion. The soldiers and gendarmes lining the streets had ivy leaves in their helmets; the archdukes arrived separately, in crystal calèches drawn by six grays; then the Emperor, accompanied by Archduke Franz Ferdinand, came in a carriage of gold and crystal, drawn by eight horses….
The ceremonial occasions bound the rulers and the ruled together by invisible links, but they gave more pleasure to the ruled.
Z A B Zeman, Twilight of the Habsburgs: The Collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire ( New York: American Heritage Press, 1971), pp. 21, 64.
Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 185