Prague Minos Guide

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18. - 19. století

Ferdinand V

Kind-hearted and feeble-minded Austrian Emperor
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Ferdinand wasn’t fit to rule and his duties were carried out by others, primarily by count Metternich.
Ferdinand didn’t have the necessary mental capacity to rule. The official version is that he suffered from poor health, but Habsburg detractors rather talk about Ferdinand’s feeble-mindedness. His physical appearance supported this theory – an overly big head, conspicuously short arms and legs, large and strangely twisted eyes. Ferdinand didn’t particularly yearn for power. He preferred walking around the Viennese castle’s gardens and greenhouses, admiring exotic plants. He was given the epithet “Benign” for the “clement” enforcement of the constitution in 1848. He did

deserve it in a certain way, for he was a truly benign and good-hearted man. Historians also noted that he was quite popular among the people.
The revolution in the second half of 1848 demanded another ruler, so on the 2nd of December, Ferdinand abdicated in favor of his nephew Franz Joseph I. He then spent the next 27 years in the Prague Castle, which was made available for him for the rest of his life. He was well-accepted by the Prague inhabitants. The visit to the city by the young Emperor in 1858 showed that the retired Ferdinand was more popular among the population than the emperor in power.
Ferdinand was the last Habsburg to be crowned as King of Bohemia.


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