9. Austria’s Empress Elisabeth Was Depressed and Anorexic
Empress Elisabeth of Austria’s parents may have been cousins (and have also had aunt/uncle relationships, as well, due to inbreeding), and she went on to marry her cousin, Franz Josef. She was from the House of Wittelsbach, a clan notorious for its members’ inbreeding and their troubled behaviors.
Elisabeth was known for her beauty and today is often compared to Princess Diana. However, as is common among children who are products of inbreeding, she had a mental illness, leading to depression and anorexia. Throughout her reign, beginning with her marriage to the 23-year-old emperor, she was known for her timid, shy, and melancholic disposition. Plagued by nervousness and depression, she rarely ate and may have been anorexic. Not only did she rarely eat, but she exercised obsessively, usually for several hours every day.
Her mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie, thought these characteristics were charming and befitting of royalty. She spoke of her daughter-in-law’s beauty and the joy that she brought to her people.
Elisabeth’s son must have suffered from some form of mental illness as well, as he committed suicide. Following his death, the empress wandered about the globe, looking for solace, until an Italian anarchist murdered her in 1898.
Age: 61 (1837-1898)
Birthplace: Munich, Germany