In July 1867, the Belgian Royal Family learned that Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico and husband of the Empress Charlotte, had been executed in Mexico. The Belgian King Leopold II immediately gave the order to Queen Marie-Henriette and Baron Adrien Goffinet to repatriate his sister Charlotte from Miramar in Italy where she was living at the time. However, Princess Charlotte was unaware of Maximilian’s tragic death as she was living as a recluse in the Miramar Gartenhaus because of her unstable mental state. Goffinet and the Queen were thus charged with persuading Charlotte to return to Belgium, and thwarting the plans of numerous opponents who would have preferred not to see Charlotte leave, taking her fortune with her.
The Goffinet archives, acquired by the King Baudouin Foundation in 1993, contain a document that enables us to relive this epic, namely the logbook of Adrien Goffinet, sent to Italy by the Queen to resolve this delicate problem. Thanks to this testimony, the hitherto unknown details of this historic event can now be reconstituted.
The King Baudouin Foundation commissioned the historian and writer Olivier Defrance to study Adrien Goffinet’s notes about his journey and to throw light on this adventure, steeped in intrigue and with great strategic implications. Find out more in our publication Ramener Charlotte. La mission du Baron Adrien Goffinet à Vienne et Miramar, Juillet 1867.