Archduke Franz Ferdinand did not want to be separated from his wife even in death, but thanks to her unequal status the interment of Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg in the Imperial Crypt would remain barred.
The immediate reason for the construction of the family crypt was the stillbirth of a fourth child in the Autumn of 1908. The little coffin was temporarily placed in the vestibule of the castle church. In 1909 Archduke Franz Ferdinand commissioned the construction of the family crypt under the forecourt of the castle church: a plain room was built opposite a small chapel. The archduke intended the coffins simply to stand Nächste to one another on the floor. There would be space for 12.
Within a short time after the burial of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie on 4th July 1914 (following the tragic shots of Sarajevo), the crypt became a place of pilgrimage. The orphans’ guardian decided to give the crypt a worthier appearance, and in 1917 two new monumental tombs of Untersberg marble were installed. The little coffin of the stillborn child, which had been placed between its parents, was now enclosed in a niche in the wall. In 1955/56 the crypt under the church tower and the castle’s south terrace was extensively enlarged.
Today the sons of the murdered heir apparent and their wives and a grandson rest here in eternal peace.