Empress Elizabeth of Austria, known more commonly as Sissi, was born on this day in 1837. Born Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria, she was the fourth child of Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria and Princess Ludovika of Bavaria and grew up between the Herzog-Max-Palais in Munich and Possenhofen Castle. In 1853, she accompanied her mother and older sister, Duchess Helene, to Bad Ischl, where Helene was to receive the formal proposal from their first cousin, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria. Upon seeing the two sisters, the Emperor fell in love with Duchess Elisabeth, shocking their families, but eventually succeeding in marrying the now sixteen year-old in 1854. The couple had four children but the Empress was unhappy in the Austrian Imperial Court and preferred to travel around the world, and becoming obsessed with her beauty and physical health, maintaining her looks and ‘almost too’ slender figure into old age. Suffering from depression, she became even more melancholy after her only son’s suicide in 1889. In 1898, while travelling incognito in Switzerland, she was attacked and assassinated by anarchist Luigi Lucheni. The Emperor and their subjects were devastated, and she was buried in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna. The second-last Empress of Austria, her successor was Empress Zita.
Click HERE to see the Sissi Trilogy, the films that created the legend of the Empress.