Friday, 8 May 2009

Empress Elisabeth of Austria

Lotterie card from Yukkioh.

Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria, later Empress Elisabeth of Austria (24 December 1837 – 10 September 1898) was Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia as spouse of Emperor Francis Joseph I. From an early age, she was called “Sisi” by family and friends.

While Elisabeth's role and influence on Austro-Hungarian politics should not be overestimated (she is only marginally mentioned in scholarly books on Austrian history), she has undoubtedly become a 20th century icon. She was considered to be a free spirit who abhorred conventional court protocol. She has inspired filmmakers and theatrical producers alike.

She was born in Munich, Bavaria. She was the fourth child of Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria and her mother was Princess Ludovika of Bavaria. Her family home was Possenhofen Castle.

Elisabeth accompanied her mother and her 18-year-old sister, Duchess Helene, on an 1853 trip to the resort of Bad Ischl, Upper Austria [1], where they hoped Helene would attract the attention of their maternal first cousin, 23-year-old Francis Joseph, then Emperor of Austria. Instead, Francis Joseph chose the 16-year old Elisabeth, and the couple were married in Vienna at St. Augustine's Church on 24 April 1854.

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