16 mars 2023 / ESCAPE
/ Empress SISSY
Elisabeth of Bavaria, nicknamed Sisi or Sissi, was Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary from her marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph I on 24 April 1854 until her assassination in 1898.
Elisabeth was born into the royal Bavarian House of Wittelsbach but enjoyed an informal upbringing before marrying Emperor Franz Joseph I at the age of sixteen. The marriage thrust her into the much more formal Habsburg court life, for which she was unprepared and which she found uncongenial. Early in the marriage, she was at odds with her mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie, who took over the rearing of Elisabeth’s daughters, one of whom, Sophie, died in infancy. The birth of a son to the imperial couple, Crown Prince Rudolf, improved Elisabeth’s standing at court, but her health suffered under the strain. As a result, she would often visit Hungary for its more relaxed environment. She came to develop a deep kinship with Hungary and helped to bring about the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary in 1867.
The death of Elisabeth’s only son and his mistress Mary Vetsera in a murder–suicide at his hunting lodge at Mayerling in 1889 was a blow from which the Empress never recovered. She withdrew from court duties and travelled widely, unaccompanied by her family. In 1890, she had the palace Achilleion built on the Greek island of Corfu. The palace featured an elaborate mythological motif and served as a refuge, which Elisabeth visited often. She was obsessively concerned with maintaining her youthful figure and beauty.
While travelling in Geneva in 1898, Elisabeth was stabbed in the heart by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni. Her tenure of 44 years was the longest of any Austrian empress.
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