This is a photograph of Archduke Maximilian of Austria (1832-1867) and his wife Charlotte of Belgium (1840-1927), daughter of Leopold I.
They met in 1856 and were married - after much discussion concerning financial matters - on 27 July, 1857. In 1863, Maximilian was proclaimed emperor of Mexico. The imperial couple arrived in Mexico City in June 1864. From there, things soon went downhill. Maximilian's new empire was beset by financial difficulties, and it struggled greatly following Napoleon III's decision to withdraw French troops from Mexico. Maximilian was also guilty of making a number of political errors, particularly in attempting to introduce new, more liberal measures. Charlotte left Mexico in 1866 to plead Maximilian's case before Napoleon III and the pope. Unsuccessful in her attempts, she suffered a nervous breakdown and never returned to Mexico. Maximilian was arrested by Republican troops in 1867 and executed by firing squad on 19 June 1867.
This image forms part of our close-up on: the Mexican campaign, 1862-1867.