13. Hungarians Adored Elisabeth
Throughout her tenure as empress, Sisi remained sympathetic to the long-oppressed Hungarians and served as a bit of a mediator between their plight and the royal court. Amidst rising nationalist fervor among both the Hungarians and the Austrians, she championed the Hungarian leader, Count Gyula Andrassy, and many believe that the two may have been lovers. Her leadership helped broker what came to be known as the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, which created the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Hungarians achieved equal rights as Austrians, along with full autonomy to manage their internal affairs. In matters of war, though, the two nations would fight together.
In 1867, the year of the compromise, Sisi and her husband, Franz Josef, became the king and queen of Hungary. Andrassy became the prime minister. The Hungarian people erected statues in their honor, particularly for Sisi. For their coronation gift, Hungary gifted them a residence at Godollo, 20 miles from the capital of Budapest. Sisi returned the love of the Hungarian people by spending much of her time at her house there. She often retreated to Hungary when she grew tired and weary of dealings at the Austrian court. Had she had another son, she might have named him Stephen, after the patron saint of Hungary.