The Princess Vs. The Countess

It was 1892 and preparation for the Vienna Musical Theatrical Exhibition was underway. Austrian nobles Princess Pauline von Metternich and Countess Anastasia Kielmansegg seemed to be butting heads over flowers for the event.

Both classy and refined ladies, they were willing to shed blood to maintain proper etiquette and decided to squash their beef with a duel—fighting to first blood!

Duels Gone Wild

Overseeing the duel was Baroness Lubinska, ahead of her time in germ theory, she advised the women to remove one element from the equation in order to prevent infection—their shirts.

The Baroness, with a medical degree from a university in Poland, encouraged the women to fight topless for practical reasons, of course. Many dueling injuries at the time became infected due to strips of clothing being forced into a wound via weaponry.

Our victor, Princess Pauline von Metternich.

First Blood

The weapon of choice was Europe’s oldest dueling sword, the rapier, intended for quick stabs and little harm.

The duel went on for three rounds, in which the Countess nicked the Princesses’ nose. She then retaliated, drawing blood on the countess’ arm. After examining the wounds, the Princess was pronounced the victor.

This classy cat fight went down in history as the first emancipated duel because it involved female participants, female seconds and a female medic!