Two boys born into Austrian royalty: Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph and his older brother, Franz Joseph.
Franz takes the throne, and Max joins the navy.
Maximilian then heads off to Belgium and marries the Belgian Princess, Charlotte (his second cousin!)
A 19th century NEET.
Napoleon III wants to expand his empire. He's eying Mexico. It owes a lot of money to France, England and Spain, but Mexican President Benito Juarez won't pay his debts.
Together, the three countries strike Mexico.
For the next two years, Napoleon wages war in Mexico and sends updates to Maximilian.
However, what ole naive Maximilian doesn't know is that many votes have been obtained by force.
By 1864, Napoleon has pushed Juarez north, where he established a government in exile.
Nobody appears to care.
The Americans want the French the fuck outta Mexico.
Thousands are killed.
Napoleon has had enough. He wants out. He withdraws his troops and demands that Maximilian abdicates.
He finds comfort in his Mexican mistress, the gardener's daughter
(many such cases!).
BUT, right as he's about to leave, a letter arrives from his mother...
As the ministers debate this important decision, Max spends his time studying...bugs.
The local Mexican press finds out and relentlessly makes fun of him, nicknaming him "the great dreamer".
Benito Juarez sees Maximilian as both a butterfly-catching fool AND a colonial aggressor.
The latter is unforgivable.
He vows to send a clear message about imperialism.
Juarez's army surrounds Queretaro. One of Maximilian's generals betrays him, and allows the army to break through a city wall. Queretaro falls on May 15th, 1867.
Decision: Maximilian will be executed by firing squad.
Benito Juarez arrives to town to see Maximilian's body, the first time face to face.
Juarez's only comment?
"I thought he was taller".