Elisabeth of Austria (24 December 1837 – 10 September 1898) was Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, as wife of Franz Joseph I.
Although born into the Bavarian royalty, Elisabeth (‘Sisi’) had enjoyed quite an informal upbringing, before marrying the Emperor at sixteen, and being suddenly absorbed into Habsburg court life, which she found excessively stifling. She was also at odds with her interfering mother-in-law, Princess Sophie, who took over the rearing of her daughters, one of whom died in infancy. The birth of a male heir Rudolf improved her standing at court, but her health was suffering under the strain, and 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 her only son in a murder-suicide tragedy at his hunting lodge at Mayerling was a shock from which she never recovered. She withdrew from court duties, and travelled widely, unaccompanied by her family. In the palace, she was seen to be obsessively concerned with her health and beauty, having to be sewn into her leather corsets and spending two or three hours a day on her coiffure.
While travelling in Geneva in 1898, she was stabbed to death by an anarchist, who had missed his chance to assassinate the Duke of Orléans and wanted to kill the next member of royalty that he saw.
Sisi was the longest-reigning Empress of Austria, at 44 years.
Nobody has marked this note useful