Above we find Maria Christina’s idyllic painting of Saint Nicholas Day 1962—into which the artist as brushed herself, we find an informal imperial family enjoying a quiet day in private. The Holy Roman Emperor, son of the Caesars, is seated in his robe reading the paper while his wife brings him tea. Antoinette plays with her new doll and Max seems about to take on a plate of Christmas cookies. Unfortunately, only half of this picture rings true. Yes, the Imperial family enjoyed the “simple things” and the Empress even encouraged her children to play with the ordinary children whenever they could.
Unfortunately, day-to-day court life was a the complete opposite. The Empress Maria Teresa treated her children with clear favoritism as well vacillating demands from each one of her children. This created an incredibly competitive attitude amongst the children.Visitors to the Schönbrunn or the Hofburg were startled to find the Hapsburg children in open war with one another, throwing priceless pieces of artwork and fighting on the marble floors. Vovk, 66.
An excellent example were the rigorous studies to which Joseph was subject by his mother. Instead of inspiring sense of relief or thankfulness that such a task had passed them over, it reinforced Joseph’s “superior place within the family,” (67). Joseph fought “violently” with his brother Charles. A rather memorable row kicked off when
Charles teased his older brother of only being the son of a queen while he was the son of an empress.*
*The snippy comment proffered by Charles refers to the fact that Maria Teresa was only Queen of Hungary and Bohemia at the time of Joseph’s birth but by the time Charles was born, his father had been elected and crowned Holy Roman Emperor.