Empress Elisabeth, known to almost everyone as Sisi, was a Bavarian royal who married the Emperor of Austria (a Hapsburg!!). Because this is an era and region I didn’t know much about, we’re joined by Sisi superfan and Hapsburg expert Lana Wood Johnson (author of two YA novels: Technically You Started It, and Speak For Yourself; you should buy them!!) to help fill in the blanks.
Learn more about Lana and her books at https://lanawoodjohnson.com
The Lonely Empress: Sisi of Austria by Joan Haslip (book from 1965, out of print)
The Reluctant Empress: A Biography of Empress Elisabeth of Austria by Brigitte Hamann (book from 1988, translated from German)
Sissi by Romy Schneider and Karlheinz Bohm from Taschen (pictures are amazing bio is not great)
The Hapsburgs: Embodying Empire by Andrew Wheatcroft (overview of Hapsburgs and useful family tree) https://bookshop.org/a/1419/9780140236347
On Christmas Eve 1837, Duchess Elisabeth of Bavaria, better known by her pet name Sisi, was born the third of eight children. Her father, Maximilian of Bavaria, belonged to the ducal branch of the Wittelsbachs in Munich. He was married to Duchess Ludovica, the younger sister by three years of the Austrian Arcduchess Sophia.
On April 25, 1854, a shy and melancholy bride married into a major European royal house. Trembling and overcome with emotion, 16-year-old Elisabeth, known by her childhood nickname Sisi, was wed to the 23-year-old Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, the absolute monarch of the largest empire in Europe outside of Russia.
One of Austria’s most recognizable exports, Empress Elisabeth of Austria – better known by her nickname “Sissi”/”Sisi” – has captured the hearts of the public ever since she was immortalized by actress Romy Schneider in a trilogy of 1950s romantic comedies.
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