On December 24, 1837, Duchess Amalia Elisabeth of Bavaria(Empress Elisabeth of Austria) was born. She spent most of her childhood playing in the forests of Bavaria. People thought that Sissi was the most beautiful princess in all of Europe. She wanted to be free and travel the world, but fate made her an empress and bound her to palace rules. Few things are known about her, like scraps of articles from the time, vague memories, and the sad story of her beloved son, Crown Prince Rudolf. Why had life been so mean to her? Empress Elisabeth of Austria seemed to have bad luck following her around.
An ambassador from another country once said about her, “In our century, there were only two women as beautiful as her, and both were named Elisabeth.”
The girl didn’t want to wear the crown so much that she cried to the Hofburg. Sissi’s new husband, Emperor Franz Joseph I, was waiting for her there. The woman’s life was no longer a happy holiday from then on. Instead, it was filled with the bitterness of broken dreams, depression, and mental breakdowns. At the end of her journey, Europe’s most beautiful Empress was killed by a crazy Italian anarchist in a sad and pointless way. And everything started out so well.
Franz Joseph’s mother was a sister of Elisabeth’s mother. They had made plans for Franz Joseph to marry Elisabeth’s older sister, Helene when they were both still young children. As soon as the next Emperor saw Sissi, things didn’t go as planned. He didn’t want to look at any woman anymore, and he wanted Elisabeth’s hand so badly. His engagement to Helene ended right away. Her younger sister was only 16 years old, but she was very pretty and very sweet.
No one asked the princess what she thought about it, though. Her mother worried that such a profitable alliance would fall apart, so she pressured her. After less than a year, Elisabeth’s life was no longer pleasant. The rules of palace behaviour strangled her free spirit. She didn’t like Franz Joseph at all. Empress Elisabeth of Austria thought he was dull and sad. After the wedding, she did everything to keep her husband’s attention off of her. There are rumours that the Empress even had an extramarital affair.
According to a rumour, Empress Elisabeth of Austria gave birth to four children in the first four years of her marriage. Only two of them made it through childhood. The woman’s heart was broken, and she felt sad all the time. Her mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie of Bavaria, made the situation even worse. She thought that her son’s wife was a bad mother. Because of this, she didn’t let Sissi raise Rudolf and his sister Gisela, who were the heirs to the throne. When Marie, her second daughter, was born, Elisabeth wouldn’t let anyone come near her. Her feelings for the girl were almost too strong. Sissi loved her so much that she gave her everything she wanted.
The beauty and grace of the Empress became a legend
Everyone looked at Empress Elisabeth of Austria first because she was so beautiful. She knew she was very pretty and was very happy about it. All men fell at her feet. People even loved her. The sculpted features of her porcelain face, the graceful lines of her soft body, and the brown curls that reached down to her ankles. It’s easy to see why Franz Joseph fell in love and was enchanted at first sight. Sissi knew she was pretty, and it was almost a religion to her.
Empress Elisabeth of Austria was just crazy about how she looked. The first three hours of her day were spent brushing her long, thick hair. Then, she patiently put a corset around her waist, which was already thin and delicate, for more than an hour. After that, they worked out for hours with horseback riding, fencing, and circus acrobatics. An eating disorder was the last part of the puzzle. Elisabeth didn’t eat much because she was stressed out all the time. She ate nothing but a cup of broth for a long time. Then she added a glass of milk, a few oranges, and scrambled eggs to her diet.
Was she insane?
Sissi’s mental problems started after she became Queen. She liked being alone a lot, but royals almost never get the chance to be alone. Elizabeth hated everything she had to do as Queen. She loved psychiatry the most and wanted to open her own clinic to help people who were mentally ill. Franz Joseph wanted to make his wife happy, so he asked her what she wanted most in the world one day, and she said she wanted a mental hospital. The Empress said it would bring her the most happiness.
Empress Elisabeth of Austria broke down emotionally in 1862. After that, she tried to stay away from the palace as much as possible. The Empress did what she had always wanted to do: she started to travel. Sissi travelled all over Europe. She went to places like Greece, Ireland, and Hungary. It became clear very quickly that the Empress’s illness was getting worse. Marie heard her mother laughing so hard in the bath that she had to get her. She talked about killing herself a lot. This made Franz Joseph feel very scared. He even started going to different psychics and mediums to try to help his wife.
Elisabeth didn’t spend much time with her son because her mother-in-law didn’t let her. She didn’t want her daughter-in-law to hurt the heir to the throne, so she raised him herself. Even so, they say that you can’t avoid fate. Rudolph grew up exactly like his mother. He was not only handsome, tall, and romantic, but he also had the same political views and was mentally ill. Like Sissi, he hated the royal way of life with a passion and was miserable living in a palace.
The rebellious young man looked for comfort outside of school, finding it in several random relationships. Rudolf had feelings for a woman named Marie Alexandrine Freiin von Vetsera. There was no chance of getting married because they would never be able to. The young people decided to use Romeo and Juliet as an example. They both agreed to kill themselves.
So, that’s what they did. They were found at Mayerling’s hunting lodge in Vienna. The girl was dead on the bed, and the prince was sitting next to her with blood dripping from his mouth. It looked terrible and bloody. The king and Queen were shocked. Even more so, Elisabeth. She just went crazy from grief. The Queen always wore black to show that she was sad. She was almost done with food again. It caused, among other things, a split in the empire and ruined relations between the empire and Hungary.
Empress Elisabeth of Austria’s death
Even after her son died, Empress Elisabeth of Austria still loved to travel as she did when she was a child. However, this time wasn’t fun anymore; it was more like aimless wandering. She always looked like she didn’t know where or why she was there. In 1898, Europe’s most beautiful Queen made her last stop in Geneva. Luigi Lucheni, an anarchist from Italy, came to the city to kill the Duke of Orléans as a protest against the people in power. When the other man’s plans changed, and he didn’t show up when he was supposed to, Lucheni decided to kill Empress Elisabeth, also a royal figure.
Lucheni came up to her as she walked down the dock to get on the ship. He used a needle file to stab her in the stomach. Empress Elisabeth of Austria didn’t know what had happened at first because her corset was so tight. Then she saw the blood and said, “What happened?” That was the last thing she said. The killing of the Empress didn’t change anything in the political world. It made no sense at all. The anarchist said It was not a woman I struck, but an Empress; it was a crown I had in view.
So, the most beautiful woman’s miserable life came to an end. She had everything a person could want. None of this made sure that Elisabeth would be happy, which, ironically, she never was. After his beloved wife died, Emperor Franz Joseph didn’t say a word for a few months. He never smiled again, not even when he talked. The Emperor didn’t go to any events that were fun. Everyone he cared about died before him. He died two years before he would have turned 100. Above the fireplace in his study, there was always a full-length painting of his beloved Siss. Every few years, a painter would touch up the faded paint on the court.