Empress Sisi – The 19th Century Princess Diana

Empress Sisi – The 19th Century Princess Diana


She was a royal who hated the pressures of
royalty. An aristocrat with the common touch, who dedicated
herself to helping the poor. She was also a woman trapped in a loveless
marriage, whose life was tragically cut short. Nope, we’re not talking about Princess Diana,
the beloved British royal who died in 1997. We’re talking about Empress Elisabeth of
Austria, better known as Sisi. A legendary beauty, Sisi rose up from a bohemian
background to become co-regent of the second most powerful empire on Earth. But she was also a free thinking woman who
suffered dark depressions and found herself stifled by life among Vienna’s 19th Century
elite. Reviled by the rich, beloved by the poor,
Sisi was a woman who led a complex, tragic life… even as her influence helped shaped
Europe for generations to come. This is the tale of the 19th Century’s very
own Princess Diana. The Youngest Love
T’was the night before Christmas, 1837, and all through the house, not a creature
was stirring, not even a mouse. …Unless you lived in the stately home of
Duke Maximillian Joseph of Bavaria, and his wife, Princess Ludovika, in which case everything
was chaos. The royal couple had just welcomed their newest
child into the world. Young Elisabeth, nickname Sisi, was one of
an incredible seven children Princess Ludovika had pumped out, producing a plethora of heirs
and spares. The reason for this was Princess Ludovika’s
family. As sister to the powerful Austrian Archduchess
Sophia, her children were conceivably one tragedy away from becoming next in line to
the imperial throne. For most kids in 19th Century households,
such proximity to power would’ve meant a strict upbringing. Luckily for baby Sisi, though, Duke Maximilian’s
household wasn’t “most”. Despite his royal position, the Duke was a
passionate liberal. He believed in democratic values, pacifism,
and spending time with the common man. When he wasn’t on his estate, he could be
found playing zither at a local tavern. Sisi’s childhood was therefore unusual. On the one hand, she had to go to etiquette
lessons and so-on, like any other rich kid. On the other, those lessons were constantly
interrupted by her free spirited dad, who would whisk the children away on adventures. This meant Sisi grew up with an outlook deeply
at odds with the privileged world in which she lived. She couldn’t have known that world was about
to have to fight for its life. In February, 1848, when Sisi was only ten,
a revolution in France snowballed into a series of revolutions across Europe that threatened
to sweep the old order away. In Austria, a Hungarian uprising forced Emperor
Ferdinand I to step down. Sisi’s aunt, the Archduchess Sophia, engineered
it so her son took his place. That December, 18 year old Franz Joseph became
emperor of Austria, the second biggest power in Europe. Although little Sisi didn’t know it yet,
his accession would change her life. Come 1849, the revolutions across Europe had
been crushed. In Austria, Franz Joseph’s new regime cracked
down hard on the Hungarians who’d tried to split from the empire. Not that it was revolution that led Sisi to
catastrophe. It was love. In 1853, Franz Joseph – now firmly in control
of his empire – decided to find a wife. His mother, Archduchess Sophia, contacted
her sister, Princess Ludovika, and asked if she had a suitable daughter. Princess Ludovika picked Sisi’s older sister,
Helene. That August, Helene, her mother, and Sisi
all traveled to Bad Ischl to meet Franz Joseph. Sisi was now fifteen, and already a beauty. She had flowing chestnut hair that reached
down to her ankles, and eyes people could write sonnets about. When Franz Joseph met her, all thoughts of
marrying Helene went out the window. The 23 year old emperor was bowled over by
Sisi. He demanded her hand in marriage then and
there. Given that Archduchess Sophia and Princess
Ludovika had come all this way expecting a marriage, they cut their losses. Helene was shoved aside, and Sisi was betrothed
to the ruler of Austria. It should have been a happy time. For Franz Joseph, it really was. For Sisi, though, it was the beginning of
a life of misery. Oh, Vienna! From the moment the couple got engaged, Sisi’s
life went into a tailspin. Suddenly, all those lessons she’d skipped
to play with dad were a big deal. She had to cram a lifetime’s learning into
a few short months so she didn’t look a total dumdum at court. Just as suddenly, she was being forced to
sit for endless portraits Franz Joseph could have paraded around his empire, showing off
his new wife to his subjects. For the naturally shy Sisi, this was as shocking
as being plunged into ice water. And it kept getting worse. The night before Sisi was due to leave for
Austria, a huge ball was thrown in her honor. The teenage girl was forced to parade before
a crowd of onlookers in an expensive gown inscribed with the Arabic for “Oh my Lord,
what a beautiful dream.” But her radiant exterior concealed something
much darker. By now, Sisi had almost entirely stopped eating. It’s thought this period is when she developed
the anorexia that would haunt her for the rest of her life. But this was the 19th Century, and female
suffering was practically a spectator sport. Despite her misery, Sisi was put in a carriage
and whisked off to Vienna. On April 24, 1854, she and Franz Joseph were
officially married. Almost immediately, things went so far south
as to be veritably Antarctic. Life in the Viennese court, circa 1854, was
one governed by ceremony, deference, and strict etiquette. Ignoring any one of these things could result
in you being ostracized. And Sisi, who’d grown up in a relaxed household,
willfully ignored all three. This set Sisi on a collision course with her
new mother in law. From the moment her son chucked pious Helene
for this young tramp, Archduchess Sophia had been determined to make Sisi’s life hell. Now the girl was finally in Vienna, Sophia
went full Disney villain. When Sisi and Franz Joseph’s first child
was born, on March 5, 1855, Archduchess Sophia snatched the baby away from Sisi and forbade
her to ever see it. She even named the child Sophia, after herself! Naturally, this made Sisi extra miserable. She begged her husband to put his foot down
and get their baby back. But Franz Joseph was nothing if not a mommy’s
boy. While he wanted Sisi to be happy, he also
refused to upset his mother. And so, when Sisi gave birth to their second
child barely a year later, on July 12, 1856, there was nothing to stop Archduchess Sophia
from snatching baby Gisela away too. That’s Archduchess Sophia of Austria, folks:
a woman who literally stole babies. If you thought this was despicable behavior,
though, wait until you hear the next bit. Not long after Gisela was born, Sisi entered
her private chambers to find a crude pamphlet lying on her desk. Left anonymously, the pamphlet declared that
any empress who failed to give birth to a boy was an abject failure. To this day, we don’t know who left that
pamphlet. But we can hazard a pretty good guess. After the pamphlet had reduced Sisi – who,
we should remember, is still only 18 – to a wailing wreck, Archduchess Sophia wrote
to a friend: “You cannot imagine how charming Sisi is
when she cries.” Sadly, fate and Archduchess Sophia weren’t
done making Sisi cry yet. Europe’s Broken Heart
If you’ve never looked at Vienna on a map, know that it lies close to two borders. Just outside the city is the Slovak border
and its capital, Bratislava, known when our story is set as Pressburg. To the south is the edge of a land far more
mysterious and alluring. A land with a long, proud history that had
only recently submitted to Austrian domination. The land known as Hungary. For Viennese society in 1857, Hungary was
a source of both fascination and revulsion. Exotic, revolutionary, beautiful, dangerous. All this may be why, in spring that year,
Sisi begged her husband to take her there on vacation. Perhaps sensing how close his wife was to
cracking, Franz Joseph agreed. He even let her bring the children. In May, the imperial family boarded a carriage
and left Vienna behind for the east of the empire. From the moment they crossed into Hungary,
Sisi was in love. It’s hard to say what exactly captured her
heart. It could be the simple fact that she was away
from Vienna and her baby-stealing mother in law. It could be the language, the landscape, or
the informality of the Hungarian court. Whatever the cause, by the time they reached
Budapest, Sisi had given her heart to this downtrodden kingdom. Sadly, no sooner had Hungary captured her
heart than it cruelly broke it. In Budapest, the family came down with a nasty
case of food poisoning. Sisi, Franz Joseph, and baby Gisela all recovered. Baby Sophia, however, didn’t. On May 29, 1857, the child died in Sisi’s
arms. After two years when she could barely even
see her daughter, Sisi had finally got her back, only to watch as death snatched her
away. Back in Vienna, Archduchess Sophia declared
the baby’s death proved Sisi was unfit to be a mother. For her part, Sisi plunged into a black depression
that was painful even by her standards. She stopped eating, drinking only broth. She began exercising fanatically, punishing
her body for the sins she imagined she had committed. Nonetheless, the duties of life at court continued. Barely was baby Sophia cold than Sisi was
pregnant again. She gave birth on August 21, 1858, to the
general excitement of all. Excitement, because the new baby, Crown Prince
Rudolf, was a boy. Franz Joseph finally had an heir! While Sisi may have still been suffering depression,
the arrival of Rudolf did have one welcome upshot. In the weird politics of 19th Century Europe,
Sisi’s inability to have a son had rendered her powerless at court. Now she’d produced Franz Joseph an heir,
she suddenly wasn’t quite so weak. Although Archduchess Sophia still snatched
Rudolf away, Sisi finally had some political muscles to flex. She began to ditch boring court life, spending
her time writing poetry and working out instead. She took up unladylike habits like smoking,
began to claw back her bohemian past. She also began learning Hungarian. For the elites in Vienna, this was tantamount
to Sisi aligning herself with revolutionaries. As Sisi began to excel at the language, and
surround herself with more and more Hungarians on her personal staff, Austrian polite society
came to regard her as almost a traitor. But if the Viennese were scandalized now,
wait until Sisi met Count Andrássy. The End of the Affair
Count Gyula Andrássy was the sort of guy Harlequin romances are written about. A dashing Hungarian nobleman, Andrássy had
been involved in the revolution of 1848 and seen action in the war. When Franz Joseph’s new regime had crushed
the Hungarians in 1849, Andrassy had barely escaped with his life. A few years later, he’d been sentenced to
death in absentia. By the end of the 1850s, though, Andrassy
had returned to Hungary, and was now living an awkward life where basically everyone agreed
not to mention his involvement in the revolution. It was at this time that he met Sisi. Whole books have been written about the relationship
between Sisi and Andrassy, exploring all possibilities. At one end of the spectrum, you have histories
that assert the two were simply friends, who bonded over their joint love of Hungarian
language and culture. At the other end, you have books which suggest
that, from the moment the two first set eyes on one another, they were rolling in the bedsheets
every time Franz Joseph’s back was turned. Certainly, a lot of people in Vienna believed
Sisi was fooling around with the handsome count. It helped that there were joint rumors that
Franz Joseph had also taken mistresses. Whatever the truth, it’s undeniable that
Sisi and Franz Joseph’s relationship started to breakdown around the time Andrassy appeared. In 1862, Sisi abandoned Vienna and began spending
time abroad. Switzerland, Ireland, England, Greece… all
became Sisi’s ports in the storm of her life. As, of course, did Hungary. This caused even more problems than you’re
probably expecting. In the mid-19th Century, upper class marriages
weren’t made for love. It wasn’t super important if you spent your
time gallivanting with Hungarian men. What was important was producing heirs. Sisi had given her husband baby Rudolf, but
that wasn’t enough. Franz Joseph had his heir. But Archduchess Sophia was determined he also
have a spare. Sisi wanted no part of this baby makin’
plan. Way into the 1860s, Sisi refused her husband
access to her bed. At court, this was an absolute scandal, made
worse by the way Sisi was cozying up to the insurrectionist Hungarians. Vienna was practically spitting her name. Luckily, world events were about to give everyone
in Austria far more serious things to worry about. In 1862, a wily politician became Prussia’s
new Minister-President. Known as Otto von Bismarck, he had two grand
plans. One was to unite most German speaking peoples
into a single nation. The other was to make sure Catholic Austria
absolutely wasn’t part of this new “Germany”. If you want more detail on all this, we do
have a Bismarck video for you to check out. But for now, all you need to know is that
in summer, 1866, Bismarck put the second part of his plan into action. The Seven Weeks’ War was as one-sided as
it sounds. Prussia steamrollered Austria. The army was smashed, and Prussian troops
came close to occupying Vienna. The only reason they didn’t was because
Bismarck pulled back at the last minute, preferring a humiliated but intact Austria to a disintegrating
empire on his doorstep. Not that the Austrian Empire didn’t try
its hardest to disintegrate anyway. With Vienna humiliated, the old drive for
Hungarian independence came roaring back. As 1867 rolled into view, it seemed entirely
possible Franz Joseph was going to have to fight yet another version of the 1848 revolutionary
war. But this time, he had something he hadn’t
in 1848. He had Sisi. The Queen of Hungary
Back in August, 1865, Sisi and Franz Joseph had taken the first tentative steps towards
reconciliation. It started with a letter Sisi wrote her husband,
saying she needed more control of her life, more right to see her own children. By the time of the Seven Weeks’ War, Sisi
had been back in Vienna, where she visited the wounded in military hospitals, providing
comfort to the dying. Come 1867, she was close enough to both Vienna
and Budapest to prevent catastrophe. The creation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
from what had once been just Austria was more than the work of one woman. But, if Sisi hadn’t been there, it could
have all come crashing down. As Hungary rumbled towards independence, there
were elements of the Viennese court that wanted another war, to crush Budapest once and for
all. Equally, there were those in Hungary who were
willing to fight for full independence. Just about the only person who could talk
to both sides was Sisi. She was able to talk Franz Joseph out of repeating
the mistakes of 1848, and instead settle for a diplomatic solution. And she was instrumental in getting the Hungarian
side to the table. It was skilled backroom diplomacy of the highest
order. And it worked. On February 8, 1867, the Austro-Hungarian
Empire was born without bloodshed. Under the new system, the east of the empire
would be a near-independent state under Hungarian control. In return, the Hungarians would make Franz
Joseph their king, and accept joint administration of defense and foreign affairs. For Sisi, this meant being crowned Queen of
Hungary in a summer ceremony in Budapest. Count Andrassy, for his part, became Hungary’s
new Prime Minister. It was a remarkable transformation from the
carnage of 1848. For Sisi, her new position meant a chance
to live in her beloved Hungary nearly full time. The Queen of Hungary threw herself into charity
work, visiting hospitals across the Dual Monarchy, holding hands with the dying and talking to
them not like a royal, but a fellow human being. Sisi’s common touch boosted her popularity
immeasurably, as did her involvement promoting new, humane treatments for the mentally ill. She was so happy she even agreed to resume
her wifely duties. On April 22, 1868, Sisi gave birth while in
Budapest to her fourth child, Valerie. Valerie was the first of the imperial couple’s
children born in Hungary. She was also the first Archduchess Sophia
didn’t get her talons into. Sisi was allowed to raise the girl herself. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she grew to absolutely
dote on her new daughter. Ideally, this would be where we ended things:
with Sisi finally happy, as a mother, as an honorary Hungarian, even as a wife. But the story of Sisi is not a happy one. There are still many more tragedies to come. The Strangest Life
In May, 1872, Archduchess Sophia suffered a stroke while in her family’s grand palace
at Vienna. As she lay dying, the elite of Austria came
to pay their respects. Counts, ministers, royals, all passed through
her bedchamber. Among their number was Sisi. For all Sophia has seemed like a cartoon villainess
in our story, it’s worth remembering she lived in a very different time. Women in her position were meant to be powerless
babymakers. Yet Sophia was able to subvert that, to take
a revolution by the horns and use it to put her teenage son on the throne. Not only that, she was then strong enough
to rule the court at Vienna, bending it to her will. She may have been haughty, spiteful, and a
bit of a witch, but she was also admirable in her own way. Maybe that’s why it’s said she and Sisi
managed to finally reconcile in those last hours. After Sophia passed away, Sisi was freed of
her nemesis. From now on, the thirty four year old empress
could be who she wanted to be. Over the next few years, Sisi’s eccentricities,
both good and bad, grew exponentially. She mastered ancient Greek. Became an exercise fanatic who could heft
dumbbells like a circus strongman. Devised brand new hair treatments that impressed
the empire. Less happily, her anorexia continued to dominate
her life. As the 1870s rolled on, Sisi began only eating
milk-based foods such as cheese, determined to keep her waist tiny. Yet this could have all stayed in the background,
were it not for what happened to Rudolf. By 1881, Sisi’s only son was no longer the
baby of the family, but a melancholy lad of 22. That year, he married Princess Stephanie of
Belgium. In an ironic turn of events, Sisi immediately
took against her new daughter-in-law, branding her – with a venom Archduchess Sophia would’ve
been proud of – a “clumsy oaf”. Just as Sisi and Franz Joseph’s had done,
Rudolf and Stephanie’s marriage soon hit the rocks. The difference was, Sisi had managed to keep
her misery bottled up. Rudolf wouldn’t be so strong. In late 1888, the unhappy Rudolf met 17-year
old Baroness Mary and began an affair. On January 30, 1889, he took his new flame
to his hunting lodge, Meyerling. There, Rudolf convinced the poor girl that
the world was out to get them, and that they needed to die for love. Mary, who was herself a melancholy romantic,
agreed. Taking a pistol, Rudolf shot Mary dead. He then turned the gun on himself. When the news hit Vienna, Sisi suffered a
catastrophic breakdown. She began to talk about suicide, telling a
frightened Franz Joseph she wanted to die. Her youngest daughter Valerie would find her
laughing hysterically for no reason. Finally, in 1890, Sisi did the only thing
she could. She fled Vienna. She even fled Hungary. Instead, the broken empress began roaming
the world, traveling by boat to far flung shores. As she traveled, Sisi refused to see anyone
but crew, living a spartan life in the bowels of the ship. When terrific storms broke, she would order
the captain to tie her to a chair on deck so she could be battered by the wind and waves,
watching the sea roil and crash around her, as her soul roiled inside her breast. When someone worked up the courage to ask
what she was doing, Sisi simply replied that she wanted to “travel the whole world over…until
I drown and am forgotten.” Her wish would soon be granted. The Deed is Done
On May 11, 1878, a German man known as Max Hodel fired a pistol at Kaiser Wilhelm I as
he passed him in the street. Although the Kaiser was unhurt, Hodel was
more than just a crackpot. He was an anarchist, deeply committed to something
known as the Propaganda of the Deed, the idea that violent terrorist actions would inspire
other anarchists to carry out more atrocities. Hodel’s faith would turn out to be well-placed. His potshot at the Kaiser was the start of
a wave of anarchist attacks. Come September, 1898, Sisi must have been
aware of this new threat. Just four years before, on June 24, 1894,
an anarchist had stabbed the president of France to death at a banquet. Two years after that, another anarchist had
gunned down the Spanish Prime Minister. But even with these high profile killings,
Sisi likely believed she couldn’t be a target. She was at Lake Geneva with her friend, Countess
Irma Sztáray, to seek treatment for her ill health, not to worry about anarchist killers. This turned out to be very fortunate for the
anarchist killer already waiting in Geneva. Luigi Lucheni had come to the lake after reading
Prince Henri of Orléans would be visiting. His plan was to stab the young royal to death. But then Prince Henri canceled his trip, and
the assassin was left kicking his heels in Geneva with nothing to do. It was in this glum frame of mind that Lucheni
found out about Sisi. Sisi’s visit to Lake Geneva was supposed
to be clandestine, but someone had informed the press. Now the papers were full of pictures of the
empress. Lucheni had found his new target. Sisi, for her part, was completely unaware
of the assassin. As she and Countess Sztáray strolled around
the lake, they failed to notice they were being watched until it was too late. On September 10, 1898, the two women were
walking towards a steamship when a passing man punched Sisi in the chest. The empress was knocked off her feet, but
quickly recovered, thanking those who had helped her. She and Countess Sztáray then continued to
the steamship as if nothing had happened. As the boat pulled away from shore, Sisi began
to feel faint. Countess Sztáray opened her corset for her,
only to watch in horror as blood began to seep out an invisible wound. The passing man had been Lucheni, and the
“punch” had been a direct blow to Sisi’s heart with a sharpened file. As Countess Sztáray called for help, Sisi
fell unconscious. The steamship turned around, but it was too
late. By the time the ship reached shore, Sisi was
dead. When news reached the now-captured Lucheni,
he celebrated. Put on trial, he demanded to be executed. Instead, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. 12 years later, on October 19, 1910, he hanged
himself in his cell. Lucheni’s foul deed didn’t go unheeded. Not two years later, an anarchist shot King
Umberto of Italy to death. A year after that, President McKinley of America
was likewise killed by an anarchist’s bullet. But what of Sisi? What did she think as she lay on that steamship,
her life slipping away? For an answer, we could turn to her writings. In her last years, Sisi wrote:
“I loved, I lived/I wandered through the world, but never reached what I strove for.” It’s a fittingly tragic end to a tragic
life. A woman who had everything and nothing, who
never found what her heart really wanted. But there’s another ending. One that’s not quite so downbeat. Not long after Sisi’s assassination, her
daughter Valerie wrote: “Now it has happened just as she always
wished: quickly, painlessly without medical consultations, without long, anxious days
of worry for her loved ones.” To which Sisi’s friend, the poet Carmen
Sylva added: “(her death was) beautiful, calm and great
within the sight of beloved, great Nature, painless and peaceful; only to the world did
it seem horrific.” Sisi’s life may have been one of tragedy,
but it was one of beauty, too. A life more intensely passionate than perhaps
any of us will ever live. At the end of all that, it’s comforting
to think that maybe – just maybe – the reluctant empress found peace at last.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

60 Comments

  1. Could you possibly do Marilyn Monroe? I feel her story is misunderstood by pop culture and her life is heartbreaking 💔

  2. I loved her ever since I was 8 and visited Corfu and her home there. Also there was a cartoon with Sissi and I used to watch it all the time!

  3. Everyone knows her in Germany/Austria because there’s a pretty famous movie trilogy with Romy Schneider that basically everyone watches in the Christmas season for some reason lol

  4. Why u didnt mention that she stayed at Corfu palace with the great sculpture of Achilles wounded by an arrow on his foot…?
    Anyways u i watch your biographies lectures n u miss many facts …also Sisi at Corfu palace was so dark that wished to all die n that she watched by the ppl which near from her…on very well i m out

  5. Hi. I’m a new fan of yours. I stumbled upon this video and as soon as I saw the first three seconds I pressed subscribe. I’m don’t usually subscribe to many people.

  6. Aka the women in the boring as moving series my grandma makes me sit trough every christmas. Her real life is much more interesting.

  7. Who still remembers the Sissi the animated series and by the way felt sorry for the way she was treated.

  8. I love these historical videos so much, it shocks me that the same mind could also create the scourge that is top ten videos.

  9. Bey could you do a documentary on Colette? The author of cauldine in paris she also has a movie about her called colette. She wrote books under her husband name and evantually became a actress and had a female lover named missy. I just think it'd be a intresting topic of a video like this

  10. I will never complain about Queen Elizabeth ever again. Sisi's mother-in-law was a true monster that enjoys torturing a beautiful flower.

  11. A lot of romanticised information. Neither accurate as Sissi learned already Hungarian through her father when she was still living in Possenhofen. Her father was Maximilian IN Bavaria , not OF Bavaria. A lot of inexact stuff more.

  12. Simon, I really like your short films as they are always very thoroughly researched. That is why I thought I may take the liberty to correct you regarding Elisabeth's nickname. It is written with two s'es – Sissi. (I am sure of that as I am Austrian 🙂 To be totally honest, I have no idea whether the "english translation" of Sissi is Sisi or not (i.e. the translation of Nürnberg is Nuremberg – a little bit weird). Nevertheless, her Name was pronounced with an emphasis on the two "s" (just like e.g. baroness) and not the first "i". Many thanks for your passion & interesting work! Best, Markus

  13. There's a beautiful portrait of her by Georg Raab at the Belvedere in Austria. In it she is very striking with her smug, haughty expression. I stared at it for a long time, captivated. I felt I would have liked her.

  14. Fun fact: Milk-drinking Sisi traveled with her favorite cow.

    Her great-granddaughter stayed with us several years ago for ten days. We toured her movie-star mother's Los Angeles hot spots, including her sidewalk star.

    Sisi was a giant, ahead of her time.

  15. Im I the only one who sees the similarities between Sisi's(mixed with Victoria's life a bit) and Potema's life?

  16. Great woman! Btw. I'm sure you knew it, but Rudolf's death is very suspicous and it could easily be murder.

  17. I remember my grandmother talking about her all the time. Never really understood why since we are German Irish and Scottish? I feel her pain though. Depression sucks very badly!
    🙁🙁

  18. Ludovicus and Maximilian were NOT royal! Aristocrats yes, but they did not hold the royal title OF Bavaria buy rather IN Bavaria. Sofie WAS royal.

  19. Austrian here! Sissi is really really popular here still, we have a famous film trilogy, you can visit her home and so many places she has been to and lived at, and even have a musical about her (Elisabeth) – it's amazing and really captures her struggles!

  20. Why is it that the most beautiful souls (Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, Empress Sisi, etc.) in the world have to suffer so much?

  21. I just felt weird to compare Sisi with Princess Diana. Kaiserin Elisabeth was beloved by her husband in his whole life, she was his "angel Sisi". But other than that, she's my Queen.

  22. Sissi's murderer was diminutive.  stood only 1.626 m next to taller 1.72 m Sissi. She had quite a wonderful painless death after all. You forgot telling Sissi was kind of anorexic and bulimic.

  23. Another two Hungarians who would be interesting are Horthy Miklós and Nagy Imre. Horthy was replaced in WW2 and is controversial and Nagy was the Hungarian leader at the time of the 1956 revolution.

  24. Born and bred in Munich, home to BMW, I often take trips to Lake Starnberg (half an hour southwest of Munich) where Sissi's family resided in the Possenhofen Castle. Though in her time, the waterfront was part of the family estate, making any trespassing illegal, it's been public area since 1985 and tourists have been visiting ever since. It's also been the production site for the 1950s three-part-series of films, about the icon herself, starring the great Romy Schneider as Sissi.
    The entire family was made of stubborn misfits. But unlike Helene, who was very passionate and had a very happy and loving marriage with the man she loved, Sissi climbed much higher on the social rank, but was distant and unhappy her entire life.

  25. The anorexia is a myth made by people who don’t understand eating disorders and/ or Elisabeths lifestyle. Basing on her actual eating habits and her exercise level, it’s obvious that she suffered from a case of orthorexia. She ate little, yes, but she really looked for the quality and nutrition of the food she ate, combined with a strict exercise plan containing gymnastic exercises and excessively long walks. She was a really good dressage horse rider. If she had anorexia, she basically wouldn’t have had enough energy to perform her sports at the level she did. Orthorexia is more convincing at this point, since she still had enough energy to do all those activities, which still doesn’t make it less harmful, since she still lost a lot of weight and of course suffered the mental harm. It just always angers me when people say she had anorexia, which she didn’t, it just misrepresents those disorders further.

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