Six things you (probably) didn’t know about Empress Elisabeth

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1 She had several tragic accidents

The 18-year-old and pregnant Empress was going to the Hofburg with a court carriage when the horses went wild and threw off the coachman. He was taken to the Imperial family’s doctor but died of his injuries. In 1887, she was onboard the Imperial yacht Greif which, on the Adriatic sea, overwhelmed a small Italian boat killing a 15-year-old boy. She compensated his family and the survivors with her own money. In 1889, the Empress and her beloved daughter Marie Valerie were travelling on a court train that derailed near Frankfurt am Main.

2 She treated her daughter’s best friend as her own child

Princess Aglaë von Auersperg was the best friend of Marie Valerie, but the Empress too had an affection for her. On several occasions, Aglaë waved to the public from the Hofburg balcony with Elisabeth and the Archduchess, and she attended family dinners (for Christmas too!) as a member of the Imperial family. After the death of Aglaë’s father, Elisabeth took her on a trip to Miramare Castle. In addition, Aglaë and Marie Valerie set up a theatrical company with which they often entertained the Empress.

3 Her dog followed her all the way to Vienna

Farkas (“Wolf” in Hungarian) was one of Elisabeth’s dogs. He was left in Hungary by mistake and reached Vienna on his own. Unfortunately, when he returned to the arms of his human friend, he died from fatigue.

4 She liked to cook

The Empress knew the art of cooking, she could prepare her meals on her own, and she loved to cook for her favourite daughter Marie Valerie. Moreover, she had a portable tool to make hot broth on the train or for her breakfast in a hotel.

5 Electricity was introduced at the Imperial residences because of her

Franz Joseph didn’t like progress, so it was his future-oriented wife who dared to “turn on the light” in her apartment in 1887.

6 She used cocaine for seasickness

At the age of 49, Elisabeth was certainly taking cocaine, as her personal doctor told the press. The substance was considered a medicine, and it was prescribed to her for seasickness. Sigmund Freud also used it for the same reason.

These items can be found in the Italian-language book “Sissi in prima pagina” by Patrick Poini, which has also just been released. It was published by MGS Press Trieste, the editor of the Italian edition of the Poetic Diary of the Empress and some of the most important publications about the Habsburg family in Italy. If you can read Italian, you can find the book here (US) and here (UK).

About Moniek Bloks 2748 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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