Empress Elisabeth of Austria (born Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria; 24 December 1837 – 10 September 1898) was Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary by marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph I. She was born into the royal Bavarian House of Wittelsbach.
- Early Life: The Young Duchess
- A Whirlwind Romance and The Aftermath
- An Active Empress
- The Hungarian Queen
- Assassination and Legacy
Elisabeth was the fourth child of Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria and Princess Ludovika of Bavaria. Duke Maximilian was a bit eccentric and decidedly more progressive in his ideals than his fellow European aristocrats, which heavily influenced Elisabeth's beliefs and upbringing. Elisabeth’s childhood was much less structured than many of her royal and aristocratic counterparts. She and her siblings spent much of their time riding in the Bavarian countryside, rather than in formal lessons. As a result, Elisabeth (fondly known as “Sisi” to her family and closest confidantes) grew to prefer a more private, less structured lifestyle. Throughout her childhood, Elisabeth was particularly close to her older sister Helene. In 1853, the sisters traveled with their mother to Austria in hopes of an extraordinary match for Helene. Ludovika's sister Sophie, mother of Emperor Franz Joseph, had tried and failed to secure a match for her son among major European royalty and instead turned to her...
Serious and pious, Helene did not appeal to the 23-year-old emperor, although his mother expected he would obey her wishes and propose to his cousin. Instead, Franz Joseph fell madly in love with Elisabeth. He insisted to his mother that he would not propose to Helene, only to Elisabeth; if he could not marry her, he swore he would never marry. Sophie was deeply displeased, but she eventually acquiesced. Franz Joseph and Elisabeth married on April 24, 1854. The period of their engagement had been a strange one: Franz Joseph was reported by all to be full of joy, but Elisabeth was quiet, nervous, and often found crying. Some of this could certainly be attributed to the overwhelming nature of the Austrian court, as well as the reportedly overbearing attitude of her aunt-turned-mother-in-law. The Austrian court was intensely strict, with rules and etiquette that frustrated the progressive-minded Sisi. Even worse was her relationship with her mother-in-law, who refused to cede power to...
Following Sophie’s death, Elisabeth retreated from Gisela as well. She began the obsessive beauty and physical regimens that would grow into the stuff of legend: fasting, rigorous exercise, an elaborate routine for her ankle-length hair, and stiff, tightly-laced corsets. During the long hours required to maintain all of this, Elisabeth was not inactive: she used this time to learn several languages, study literature and poetry, and more. In 1858, Elisabeth finally fulfilled her expected role by becoming the mother of an heir: the Crown Prince Rudolf. His birth helped her gain a larger foothold of power at court, which she used to speak on behalf of her beloved Hungarians. In particular, Elisabeth grew close to Hungarian diplomat Count Gyula Andrassy. Their relationship was a close alliance and friendship and was also rumored to be a love affair – so much so that, when Elisabeth had a fourth child in 1868, rumors swirled that Andrassy was the father. Elisabeth was forced away from po...
With her new official role as queen, Elisabeth had more excuse than ever to spend time in Hungary, which she gladly took. Even though her mother-in-law and rival Sophie died in 1872, Elisabeth often remained away from court, choosing instead to travel and to raise Valerie in Hungary. She dearly loved the Magyar people, as they loved her, and gained a reputation for her preference for “common” people over mannered aristocrats and courtiers. Elisabeth was shattered with yet another tragedy in 1889 when her son Rudolf died in a suicide pact with his mistress Mary Vetsera. This left Franz Joseph's brother Karl Ludwig (and, upon Karl Ludwig's death, his son Archduke Franz Ferdinand) as the heir. Rudolf had been an emotional boy, like his mother, who was forced into a military upbringing that did not suit him at all. Death seemed everywhere for Elisabeth: her father had died in 1888, her sister Helene died in 1890, and her mother in 1892. Even her steadfast friend Andrassy passed in 1890....
Elisabeth was traveling incognito in Geneva, Switzerland in 1898 when news of her presence leaked. On September 10, she and a lady-in-waiting were walking to board a steamer when she was attacked by Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni, who wanted to kill a monarch, any monarch. The wound was not evident at first, but Elisabeth collapsed soon after boarding, and it was discovered that Lucheni had stabbed her in the chest with a thin blade. She died almost immediately. Her body was returned to Viennafor a state funeral, and she was buried in the Capuchin Church. Her killer was apprehended, tried, and convicted, then committed suicide in 1910 while in prison. Elisabeth’s legacy – or legend, depending on who you ask – carried on in several ways. Her widower founded the Order of Elizabeth in her honor, and many monuments and buildings in Austria and Hungary bear her name. In earlier stories, Elisabeth was portrayed as a fairy-tale princess, likely because of her whirlwind courtship and becau...Hamann, Brigitte. The Reluctant Empress: A Biography of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Knopf, 1986.Haslip, Joan, The Lonely Empress: Elisabeth of Austria.Phoenix Press, 2000.Meares, Hadley. "The Tragic Austrian Empress Who Was Murdered By Anarchists." History.
- She Was A Christmas Miracle. Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie was born on Christmas Eve, 1837 to Maximillian and Ludovika of Bavaria. The little girl was supposed to have a charmed life: Her father was from an old German house, and her mother was the half sister of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
- Her Father Was Cruel. Elisabeth’s brood might have been rich, but they were miserable. Her parents had never been in love, and the Duke kept a string of mistresses he didn’t bother to hide.
- Her Home Life Was Chaotic. Elisabeth’s father was a known eccentric obsessed with only two things: Himself and, more bizarrely, circuses. This had strange consequences.
- Her Mother Thought She Was Ugly. Today, Elisabeth is famous as one of the most beautiful women history ever produced, but it was a much different story when she was young.
Elisabeth, (born December 24, 1837, Munich, Bavaria [Germany]—died September 10, 1898, Geneva, Switzerland), empress consort of Austria from April 24, 1854, when she married Emperor Franz Joseph. She was also queen of Hungary (crowned June 8, 1867) after the Austro-Hungarian Ausgleich, or Compromise.
Empress Elisabeth was the Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary from 1854 to 1898, for nearly 44 years. She has the distinction of being the longest-serving Empress of Austria. Born in a family of nobles in Germany, she was known for being extremely beautiful in her youth.
It was a beautiful Indian summer day 117 years ago in Geneva, Switzerland, when Empress Elisabeth of Austria left the Hotel Beau-Rivage, where she spent a night incognito, to hurry to the steamship Genève. On this Saturday, 10 September 1898, Empress Elisabeth was assassinated by Luigi Lucheni, an Italian anarchist. The tragic event was well covered in the coeval press, as Elisabeth of Austria also known as Sisi (not Sissi, like in the movies) was a mysterious fairy-tale princess. She was obsessively concerned about her beauty and spent several hours a day just to groom her knee-long hair. Sports and diets were her passion, and she loved to hike and to ride, but was so slim that she suffered from famine oedema.
As a Bavarian princess who enjoyed a happy and unstrained childhood, the extremely strict court life in Vienna was a burden Elisabeth never got used to. She started to travel and wrote melancholic poems, and after the tragic death of her only son Rudolf she disappeared nearly completely from the Austrian court.
Luigi Lucheni, a poor man full of rage for the upper nobility, ran towards them as they walked by on the promenade and stabbed Elisabeth directly into her heart with a self-made weapon composed of a small sharp file. But neither the empress nor her lady-in-waiting realised what really happened. Thinking of a robbery attempt, they went on boarding the ship. A few minutes later, Elisabeth lost consciousness and died.
Needless to say, the public, especially in Austria and Hungary, was shocked and in deep mourning. A lot of newspapers were published with a black mourning border, like Der Burggräfler or Meraner Zeitung. There were long extra issues about the life and death of Empress Elisabeth, for example this broadly illustrated Österreichische Illustrierte Zeitung. Some followed Elisabeths passion for poetry and wrote own poems like Die Bombe or Pusterthaler Bote, the Weltblatt just published her last picture (it shows her in her early thirties, she wanted to be remembered young and beautiful, so she refused to sit for any portraits or photographs later on). Less emotional and without huge headlines were the reactions in Prussia, where Berliner Tageblatt newspaper articles focused on the assassin Lucheni and detailed descriptions of the events in the Neue Hamburger Zeitung. The European press also covered the news extensively, just find some examples in French La Croix and Le Martin, La Unión Católica in Spain, the Allgemeen Handelsblad in the Netherlands and also overseas colonial newspapers reported, like Sumatra-courant.
Elisabeths body was brought back to Vienna, where her funeral cortege followed her on 17 September 1898 to the tomb of the Capuchins (get an impression at Österreichische Illustrierte Zeitung). Her assassin Lucheni was caught and confessed immediately. He was brought to Geneva court on 11 November 1898, where he was incarcerated for life, what Luigi regretted a lot, as a death penalty would have had been much more catchpenny. During his process Lucheni declared that he came to the decision to murder the first high-born person that he would meet in Geneva (e.g. Hamburger Anzeiger, 12 November 1898), it was just a coincidence that he found out about Elisabeth.
Elisabeth of Austria was one of the first true European citizens, not so much because she was Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Queen consort of Croatia and Bohemia, but because she spent most of her life travelling and deeply loved all the miscellaneous peoples and cultures. She seemed to be a fairy-tale princess, with the undivided love of her husband Emperor Franz-Josef and a paradigm for beauty. Yet this was not the life she was born to live and she tried to break out of her golden cage her whole lifetime.
Jan 04, 2018 · On April 25, 1854, a shy and melancholy bride married into a major European royal house. Trembling and overcome with emotion, 16-year-old Elisabeth, known by her childhood nickname Sisi, was wed to...
Empress Sisi, born as Elisabeth of Bavaria, married Franz josep I in 1854. Pictured as a fary tale in the famous Sissi Film, the real life of the Empress of Austria was not a bed of roses.
May 25, 2018 · Empress Elisabeth of Austria was born at least a century too soon, really. Had she been alive today, she surely would have ruled Instagram, not to mention the red carpet. Sissi, as she was affectionately known, was one of the great beauties of 19th century Europe, her silk gowns and elaborate coifs copied throughout the continent.
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