Next time some misguided person rambles on about how much they miss the “Old Days” because women were quiet, modest, and covered up… remind them of that time in August 1892 when Princess Pauline von Metternich and Countess Anastasia Kielmannsegg dueled topless to settle a matter of honour.
The princess argued with the Countess Anastasia Kielmansegg over the flower arrangements at Vienna Musical and Theatrical Exhibition. In 1892, honour demanded the two women settle their dispute with swords.
At their sides they had their seconds, Princess Schwarzenberg and Countess Kinsky.
The reason this duel was topless was because the woman presiding over the duel, Baroness Lubinska, was a MD who had seen wartime wounds, and she was worried about infection if a piece of silk fabric were to become embedded in the wound.
Pauline received a small cut to the nose, and Anastasia was stabbed in the bicep.