8. Her Husband’s Mother Tormented Her
Princess Sophie, aka Archduchess Sophie, was Sisi’s mother-in-law, and she brought great strife into her son’s family. A few weeks after Franz and Sisi’s wedding, the bride became ill because, lo and behold, she had quickly become pregnant. When she gave birth to a little girl, Princess Sophie immediately took the child and named her Sophie, after herself. Sisi was not allowed to care for the child or even breastfeed her. The same thing happened with her next two children, Gisela and Rudolf. When the fourth child came years later, Sisi insisted on raising her alone in Hungary, away from her domineering mother-in-law.
The stress brought on by the archduchess led to Sisi spending much time away from the royal court and may have exacerbated her poor health, also leading to her eating disorders and obsession with her appearance. On the other hand, Sisi’s rebellious, free-spirited nature led Sophie to believe that the empress was selfish, immature, headstrong and that she did not have the best interests of the Hapsburg court at heart. She was probably right. Sophie wanted to make sure that her grandchildren were raised in such a way that they could fulfill the duties required of them as Hapsburgs.