Empress Elisabeth of Austria

Empress consort of Austria (1837–1898) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Elisabeth of Bavaria (Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie; 24 December 1837 – 10 September 1898) 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.

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Elisabeth of Bavaria
Coronation photograph by Emil Rabending, 1867
Empress consort of Austria
Queen consort of Hungary
Tenure24 April 1854 – 10 September 1898
Coronation8 June 1867, Budapest
Queen consort of Lombardy-Venetia
Tenure24 April 1854 – 12 October 1866
BornDuchess Elisabeth in Bavaria
(1837-12-24)24 December 1837
Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria
Died10 September 1898(1898-09-10) (aged 60)
Geneva, Switzerland
Burial17 September 1898
(m. 1854)
Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie
FatherDuke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria
MotherPrincess Ludovika of Bavaria

Elisabeth was born into the royal Bavarian House of Wittelsbach. Nicknamed Sisi (also Sissi),[1] she 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. Elisabeth also developed a restrictive diet and she wore extremely tight-laced corsets to keep her waist very small.

In 1897, her sister, Sophie, died in an accidental fire at the Bazar de la Charité charity event in Paris. While travelling in Geneva in 1898, Elisabeth was mortally wounded by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni. Her tenure of 44 years was the longest of any Austrian empress.