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Sissi – favorite empress of Austria

Sissi - favorite empress of Austria

Sissi – favorite empress of Austria

Duchess Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie was a Bavarian princess, the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I. She became the Empress of Austria on April 24, 1854 (date of marriage); on June 8, 1867 she became Queen of Hungary. Her family and friends called her Sissi. She was the most beautiful Empress of Austria. Her life was one of the few stories of true love among the monarchs, which became one of the favorite plots for books and movies.
Elisabeth was born on December 24, 1837 in Munich Palace. She was the second daughter of Duke Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria (1808-1888) and Marie Ludovika Wilhelmine (1808-1892), daughter of the King of Bavaria, Maximilian I. The newborn girl had a tooth. According to legend it means a happy life. Napoleon also had a tooth when he was born. Queen Elizabeth of Prussia became the godmother of the girl. Sissi spent her childhood in Munich in the summer estate where she had her own menagerie. Elizabeth’s parents lived in their own way. Duke Maximilian rarely spent his time with the family and children were educated by their mother.

Little Sissi was fond of painting. She painted landscapes and illustrated book of her own poems.
Princess Sophie of Bavaria, the mother of Emperor Franz Joseph, believed that marriage with a Bavarian princess was politically expedient. Sophie chose her niece Helen, Elisabeth’s elder sister. Engagement of Helen and Franz was dedicated to the 23 anniversary of the Emperor. Two families gathered together in Bad Ischl. There Franz paid his attention to Elisabeth. The girl was in love with the Emperor and agreed to marry him.
On April 23, 1854 sixteen-year-old Elisabeth married her cousin Franz Joseph.

The young Emperor Franz Joseph

The young Emperor Franz Joseph

The young couple had to be present at numerous official receptions; they did not have a minute of free time. Only representatives of aristocratic families – 23 men and 229 women, had the right to communicate with the Empress. Hard schedule deprived Sissi independence, limiting even communication with her husband. Elisabeth wrote sad poems, read a lot, but her true passion was the riding that gave the illusion of freedom. She did not like publicity and it was unpleasant to communicate with a variety of little-known and unknown people.
On March 5, 1855 Sissi gave birth to a daughter named Sophie. A year later, on July 15, 1856 her second daughter Gisela was born. Sophie died at the age of two.
On August 21, 1858 the Empress gave birth to a long-awaited heir to the Austrian throne, Rudolf.
In 1868 Sissi gave birth to Maria Valeria.
On May 8, 1867 Franz Joseph and Elizabeth were crowned in Budapest as King and Queen of Hungary.
On January 30, 1889 Prince Rudolf died. The only son of Elisabeth either committed suicide with his mistress or they were victims of political murder. Sissi was so depressed and tried not to appear in public.
She began travelling a lot.
On September 10, 1898 Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni killed the Empress walking in Geneva.

There are a lot of films about Sissi:
1955 – Ludwig II – The splendour and suffering of a king
1955 – Sissi
1956 – Sissi – The Young Empress
1957 – Sissy. The difficult years of the Empress
1972 – Ludwig
1991 – Sisi and Emperor Kiss
2004 – Sissi – Empress of rebel
2006 – Crown Prince Rudolf
2009 – Empress Sissi
2012 – Ludwig of Bavaria

Sissi – favorite empress of Austria