The Year of Empress Elisabeth – The funeral of Sisi




kaisergruft
Photo by Moniek Bloks

On 15 September 1898, the body of Empress Elisabeth arrived at the Hofburg in Vienna. Elisabeth’s wish to be buried “at the ocean, preferably on Corfu” would not be honoured. Elisabeth’s body was placed in the chapel of the Hofburg in a closed casket. By the account of Count Erich Kielmannsegg, “not many tears were shed for her.”1

The day of the funeral – 17 September 1898 – was cool and sunny. Mourning flags were all over Vienna, and along the route of the funeral procession, crowds had already gathered. Monarchs from other European countries and their representatives, 80 archbishops, bishops, ministers, officials, and knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece, accompanied the funeral procession. Elisabeth’s coffin was covered with black velvet, and bells rang out as it made its way to its final destination. Except for the bells, the streets were completely quiet. The streets had been covered with sand so that the clattering of the horses’ hooves and the wheels of the carriages were silent.2

Emperor Franz Joseph accompanied his wife’s coffin, together with their two surviving daughters: Gisela and Marie Valerie. He reportedly broke down in tears as he said his final farewell to his wife down in the Imperial Crypt.3 Also with them was Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, crammed into the small church with the rest of the mourners.

Marie Valerie wrote in her diary, “I wished that she had now found what she had so bitterly doubted – the loving mercy of God.”4 The Empress Frederick wrote to her mother, Queen Victoria, “One’s only hope is that she did not suffer too much. She was so melancholy, so unhappy, so sick and tired of life and took such a sad view of existence that I am sure the fact of being at rest is a blessed one for her… She was so kind and so simple and a straightforward, trustworthy character, courageous and independent. I was truly fond of her…”5

kaisergruft
Photo by Moniek Bloks (Elisabeth is on the left)

Elisabeth now rests next to her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph and their son Crown Prince Rudolf. Their eldest daughter Sophie is also interred here in a different part of the crypt.

kaisergruft
Photo by Moniek Bloks

Their daughters Gisela and Marie Valerie are buried in the St. Michael’s Church in Munich and the parish church in Sindelburg, respectively.

  1. The reluctant Empress by Brigitte Hamann p.371
  2. Wer begehrt einlass? Habsburgische begräbnisstätten in Österreich by Eva Demmerle and Gigi Beutler p.106-109
  3. Wer begehrt einlass? Habsburgische begräbnisstätten in Österreich by Eva Demmerle and Gigi Beutler p.106-109
  4. Das tagebuch der lieblingstocher von Kaiserin Elisabeth p.312
  5. Blessed and darling Child edited by Agatha Ramm p.221-222






About Moniek Bloks 2315 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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