The Eccentric Elisabeth of Bavaria Married Into the Infamous Hapsburg Family and Found Nothing But Tragedy
The Eccentric Elisabeth of Bavaria Married Into the Infamous Hapsburg Family and Found Nothing But Tragedy

The Eccentric Elisabeth of Bavaria Married Into the Infamous Hapsburg Family and Found Nothing But Tragedy

Trista - February 10, 2019

The Eccentric Elisabeth of Bavaria Married Into the Infamous Hapsburg Family and Found Nothing But Tragedy
Sisi’s funeral procession in Vienna on September 17, 1898. Löwy Mór/ Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain.

2. People Questioned Her Assassin’s Sanity

After stabbing the empress, Lucheni fled but was caught by two cab drivers, a sailor, and a soldier in the gendarme. A concierge found the knife that he had used to stab her the next morning while doing his daily cleaning. Initially, people questioned his sanity because the people had so loved Elisabeth for her charitable works and populist leadership. Lucheni even requested that he be tried under the Canton of Lucerne as a dangerous anarchist because Geneva had recently abolished the death penalty. However, the court found him to be sane.

To Lucheni’s chagrin, he was tried as a murder, not a political criminal; this act denied him the notoriety in history that he had craved. He committed suicide ten years later by hanging himself with his belt inside his prison cell, supposedly because a prison guard had confiscated his yet-to-be-completed memoirs. He was denied an opportunity to turn his crime into a political statement. Meanwhile, Italians in Vienna feared reprisals from the Austrian people because an Italian had murdered their beloved Sisi. Her estate was endowed to various religious and charitable projects; what could not be invested was given to her granddaughter, Archduchess Elisabeth, the daughter of Prince Rudolf.

The Eccentric Elisabeth of Bavaria Married Into the Infamous Hapsburg Family and Found Nothing But Tragedy
Lithography depicting the Hungarian royal family at Gödöllő Palace. King Franz Joseph and Queen Elisabeth, with their children Rudolf, Marie Valerie, and Gisela. Vincenz Katzler/ Hungarian Historical Picture Gallery/ Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domian.

1. Elisabeth is an Inspiration for Fashion Designers Today

Empress Elisabeth left behind a stunning legacy. She was a deeply troubled and tormented woman who experienced numerous tragedies. Some of them may have been self-inflicted, but some could have been avoided with modern mental healthcare and hygiene. Still, her people adored her for how she championed popular causes, particularly among the Hungarians, often at the expense of the Hapsburg court that she loathed. After her assassination, her husband created the Order of Elisabeth to honor women. Today, she is remembered as a stunningly beautiful yet strong, brave female monarch who loved her people at great personal cost.

Her legacy goes beyond her charitable acts, in any case. In 2014, fashion designer Karl Lagerfield created a line that celebrated the fairy-tale grandeur of Vienna. It was the home of the great composer Mozart, the birthplace of the Rococo art movement, and especially the place from which Elisabeth reigned. He designed some of the pieces in the collection to look as he imagined Sisi’s clothes would look today. They were full of lace, ribbons, elegant sleeves, embroidered cloth, evening capes, and boots. One might say that Sisi is being reinvented for a modern audience. Indeed, her appeal is being reinvigorated as she gains more fans outside of Austria and Hungary.

 

Where did we get this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Sisi: Empress Elisabeth of Austria.” Vienna/Now (documentary).

“Empress Elisabeth of Austria.” Wikipedia.

“Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria.” Wikipedia.

“Elisabeth and Ludwig, or the Cursed Cousins, Part 1.” Prince Michael’s Chronicles. July 28, 2017.

“Ausgleich.” Encyclopedia Britannica.

“The bizarre excentricities and troubled life of Empress Elisabeth,” by Daisy Goodwin. History and Women. August 16, 2014.

“Pre-Fall 2015, Chanel,” by Tim Blanks. Vogue. December 2, 2014.

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