6. Her Son Died in a Murder-Suicide
Elisabeth was hesitant to have any more children following the death of her daughter. However, the next year, she fulfilled the primary role expected of an empress: she gave birth to a male heir, Prince Rudolf, named after the first Hapsburg ruler. Sisi immediately became more popular in the royal court; combined with her popularity among the Hungarian people, her fortunes in life seemed to be turning. However, despite her protests, Archduchess Sophie also took Rudolf away and raised him herself, apart from his mother. Despite her efforts, Rudolf, like his mother, found the rigid lifestyle of the Hapsburg court to be intolerable.
He married a Belgian princess in his early twenties, but when he grew tired of married life and the strict rules of the Hapsburg court, he left his wife and daughter and took to drinking heavily. Like his father, he had affairs with other women; in 1888, he had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl named Mary Vetsera. On January 30, 1889, the pair were found dead of gunshot wounds at his hunting lodge. Though the story surrounding their deaths remains mysterious, the circumstances suggest a murder-suicide. Elisabeth wore black in mourning for her only son for the rest of her life.