Archduke Ludwig in Bavaria, Sisi’s eldest brother, looked set for a conventional career in the Bavarian cavalry as heir to the dukedom. Then he met Henriette Mendel, a Munich dancer, who became his mistress. in 1858 they had a daughter Marie (Larisch) who became Empress Elisabeth’s favourite niece and hunting companion.
in 1859 Ludwig upset his family by insisting on marrying Henriette. He lost his right to the dukedom and a sizeable part of his income. It was however a very happy marriage.
He stayed close to his brother and sisters, visiting Vienna for family celebrations. But when Ludwig went to Vienna for Rudolf’s funeral he was advised to feign illness and not go because of his daughter Marie Larisch’s involvement in the events leading up to Mayerling.