Sissi – Empress of Austria

By Ana Teodora:
We find ourselves in one of the most important capitals of the 19th century, Vienna. The young Elisabeth, most commonly known as Sissi arrived to marry the Emperor, Franz Joseph, have been chosen, without her having much to say in the matter. It would turn out to be an unhappy and little understood life for an Empress.

She was not the conventional monarch, but rather a rebel, a person who had her own view and ideas on life, often questioning the meaning of it in her writings.

While most of the monarchs of that time used to showcase the most impressive pieces of jewelry clothing and other accessories, Sissi was simple, often choosing to give away her collections because she would almost never wear it.
She was unhappy at court, in constant fight with her mother-in-law who took charge of the education of her children right from the moment they were born. Sissi didn’t have much to say in the matter so she choose to express her free spirited side and started travelling, being away from court most of the time.
She would often describe in her letters that she was most at peace in places close to the sea, at the beach and generally, in quiet places where she would be treated as a normal citizen.

An important aspect in her life was her image. Not what the people used to see, as she was always harshly judged, often misunderstood throughout her life, an aspect which she did nothing about. What others thought about her was not her concern. Sissi was unusually tall, at 172 cm and never exceeded the weight of 50 kg, even after 4 pregnancies. She used to starve herself, almost never participating in the dinners at the palace and keep her diet simple, made mainly of beef squeezed blood, eggs and milk.
Her early style is not described too much in archives, we only know that she would almost always carry an accessory like an umbrella or fan to cover her face whenever someone would take a picture.

Front picture_Sissi

An important event in history, the tragedy of the suicide of her only son, Rudolph, at Mayerling, the heir of the throne changed her forever. After his death she was almost never seen in public, and if she was, she only wore black until her death, in 1898.
She was passionate about travelling, sailing being one of her favorite activities. She even had an anchor tattooed on her right shoulder.
Ironically, she died on a ship, set to sail from Geneva to Montreux, when she was stabbed by anarchist Luigi Lucheni, who wanted to go down in history as the murderer of a royal member. Her death was exactly how she wanted and described to her youngest daughter, Marie-Valerie, “fast, painless, without having the attention of everyone at my death bed”. Supposedly, someone took a picture of her in Geneva one day before her death, where she appears wearing a black dress and carrying an umbrella, something Elisabeth was used to by now.

She was a misunderstood empress, a royal that never wanted all the attention she had, but a free spirit, a person who believed humans are so insignificant in the bigger picture and lived her life accordingly, not interested in what everyone thought of her, not trying to please anyone else but herself.
Her personal style reflected all of this. She used to wear simple outfits, no crowns or tiaras, as if she wasn’t the Empress of Austria and Hungary.

Ana Teodora