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  #21  
Old 09-07-2008, 02:56 PM
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Lady Diana and the Empress Elisabeth

Lady Di and
Elizabeth of Austria


There are so many similarities and parallels in the lives of Lady Diana and Empress Elizabeth of Austria.
Elizabeth, like Diana married her prince while she still a
young teenager, a decision she was to regret for the rest of her life.
She married into the Austrian Habsburg dynasty and joined a court, hide bound by rules and suffocating in formality
which Elizabeth, ( like Diana ) was eventually to reject and begin to build her own independent life.
Like Diana she was expected to breed and supply
male heirs for the dynasty.
Elizabeth eventually had one son .....Rudolf in 1858 the heir to the Hapsburg Dynasty who tragically committed suicide in 1889 at Mayerling.
She also gave birth to 3 daughters.

Elizabeth, like Di, became obsessed with fitness and keeping her trim figure. In the case of the Elizabeth she went even further in the pursuit of a svelt figure and wore elaborate corsets that reduced her waist down to 16 inches.
All this amazed the Austrian public but infuriated Elizabeth's overbearing mother in law.... the Archduchess Sophie who wanted to see her son's wife pregnant with the future dynasty not laced up for the sake of vanity.

Elizabeth , like Di, seemed to be endlessly travelling Europe... England, Madeira, Corfu, Hungary. It was as if by all this travel she could escape her problems and anxieties.
Unlike Di however , Elizabeth was a brilliant rider and horsewoman with a deep love of horses and hunting.
Elizabeth was tall for her era... 5ft 8 inches , tall and slim, just like Lady Di.

Like Lady Di, Elizabeth was famous and celebrated all over Europe, she was a stunning beauty with an amazing head of rich chestnut hair..... hair that reached down to her knees.
That rich, luxuriant hair also became a fetish, requiring hours and hours of care and preparation.
Tragically, Elizabeth, like Lady Di, died suddenly and violently
... in her case stabbed by an assassins knife in broad daylight on the shores of Lake Geneva ...she was age 60.

I feel that , if they had met, they would have recognized so many similarities in their lives and situations.
I'm sure they would have swapped anecdotes about the stuffiness and overformality of each of their respective Royal Dynasties.
They might even have become soul mates !
..... at least they would have had a lot to talk about !l

Elisabeth was born in 1837 of the eccentric Bavarian Wittelsbach royal line, and married the young Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria-Hungary when she was sixteen. After the relative freedom of her Bavarian childhood, she found herself thrust into Europe's most ossified court.
Her sense of personal dignity and independence as well as her very real democratic and humanitarian instincts continuously offended against the role into which she was cast.
Her first ''political'' duty was to breed. She had three children in quick succession, after which, despite her excellent health and natural fertility, she refused to have any more (although she was later to have a fourth child), and encouraged her husband to take a mistress and develop a ménage à trois rather than suffer his sexual attentions.
This sexual rejection was all the more publicly scandalous and personally painful in that the Emperor was known to be (or have been) infatuated with his wife. The result was that the Empire, after the suicide of their only son, the Crown Prince Rudolph, (Mayerling ) was left without a male heir.
In the oppressively rigid Habsburg court, and under the constant interference of her mother-in-law, the Archduchess Sophie, which prevented her from breast-feeding her children and developing a natural relationship with them, she became reputed sexually frigid (she had been virtually raped on her wedding-night), and unmaternal, as she herself confessed, ''loath(ing) the whole business of child-bearing'' .
Elizabeth and Emperor Francis Joseph

Her sexuality was sublimated in her attachment to her younger daughter Valerie, large animals (especially horses), and the cultivation of her own body. She was famous for her equestrianship - haute école, circus-style stunt riding, and hunting.

.
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  #22  
Old 09-07-2008, 03:03 PM
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At 44 years ''she looked like an angel and rode like the devil'' . When she finally gave up riding in 1882, she devoted herself to marathon solitary hikes, swimming, gymnastics and fencing.
The Empress' fear of pregnancy, her mania for sport and violent exercise, her preoccupation with her physique, her peculiar diet, her attitude to dress - all had one common denominator: the preservation of a figure which was naturally very slender, small-boned and muscular.
She was tall ( five feet eight inches), and never weighed over 50 kilos (111 pounds) all her adult life. Her legendary beauty and charm brought her oppressive adulation wherever she went in Europe. She preserved her youthful appearance in the face of what press and medical opinion viewed as bizarre, not to say improper, excesses in sport, diet and slimming. She hated to have to sit down to eat. She abominated banquets.
For long periods she lived on a daily diet of raw steak and a glass of milk or orange-juice. She struck people as hyperactive, and astonishingly hardy. Her illnesses were all evidently psychosomatic, and her neurotic crises always cleared up when she was away from court, and was free to travel and ride, free of the gaze of courtiers and public, which she experienced as physically painful - as a visual rape.
Her diary, alas, was destroyed by the police after her death. But further study of archival material, of medical and newspaper reports, might reveal much more of the precise circumstances surrounding her youthful reputation for tight-lacing. It seems that around 1860-61 her waist measured no more than the 16 inches of the belt exhibited in London at the Great Exhibition . Why was an object with such scandalous associations put on public display? With her horror of publicity, especially as regards details of her personal life, it seems inexplicable that the Empress would have encouraged gossip around so intimate a matter as a waist-measurement.


If the numerous biographies remain silent on this curious episode, is it because domestically the matter was hushed up? After all, in order to protect the imperial dignity the police actively suppressed stories of her equine acrobatics, and destroyed photographs pertaining to it.
If the 16 inch belt was displayed with her permission and knowledge (and it seems hard to conceive otherwise) or, worse, on her personal initiative, was it intended as a provocation? Was it the bizarre symbol of or satire upon the exhibitionism to which the most adulated woman in Europe was subject?
Her ''peak tight-lacing period'' seems to coincide with the prolonged and recurrent fits of paranoid depression which she suffered 1859-60, which have been attributed to her husband's political defeats, her three pregnancies, her sexual withdrawal, and quarrels with her mother-in-law over the rearing of her children.
Immediately after each pregnancy, she dieted and exercised rigorously; the smallness of her waist, which she appeared to flaunt and exaggerate, angered the Archduchess, who wanted her to be continuously pregnant. There were frequent rumours of grave illnesses at this time; consumption was widely diagnosed, and she was even accused of killing herself with tight-lacing.

Her health improved immediately after she left Vienna for extended travels, and was able to confront the physical hardships of nature and sport. On her return to Vienna in August 1862, a lady-in-waiting noted her improved sociability, and that ''she looks splendidly, she eats properly, sleeps well, and does not tight-lace anymore'' . At this time her waist-measure had probably increased to 18 inches, its reputed extent (more or less) until her death
. Other costumes exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art had external measures of 18 1/2 inches and 19 1/2 inches (two, including the bodice through which the Empress was stabbed to death).

In 1882, she is described by the Prince of Hesse as ''almost inhumanly slender.'' In 1887 she was ''scarcely human in (her) fantastic attributes of hair and line'' (Haslip, pp. 334 and 373). In 1890, she is still ''graceful, but almost too slender'' and ''excessively slender, but still in terror of growing stout''
. She was at this time having herself heavily massaged, and wrapped naked in wet sheets impregnated with seaweed. She transmitted her horror of fat women to her daughter Valerie, who was positively terrified when, as a little girl, she first met Queen Victoria.
Her body became a religious cult, but one of a highly ascetic and solitary nature. Clothing, as such, was excluded from the cult. She disliked the expensive accoutrements and the constant changes of outfit to which her role condemned her. She caused offence by the plainness, the preferred monochrome of her attire .
What mattered to her was perfect fit.
An essential and early constituent of her legend was that she was regularly sewn into her riding-habit. ''It was common knowledge in the hunting-field that a tailor from Whitchurch went every day to the Abbey to sew the skirt of the Empress' habit onto her close-fitting bodice, so that there should not be the slightest crease or wrinkle around her 18 inch waist'' .

Her niece Countess Marie Larisch (p.65) confirms this custom, and that ''she wore high laced boots with tiny spurs.''
Her English hunting companions loved her for her warmth, modesty, ease of manner, for the fact that she was not at all ''sewn-in,'' and for her anger at any instance of cruelty to horses which came to her attention .
Some of her corsets were made in leather, like those of a Parisian courtesan. ''Her many-coloured satin and moiré corsets were made in Paris, and she only wore them for a few weeks. They had no front-fastenings (i.e., no split busk, current since c. 1860), and Elizabeth was always laced into her corsets, a proceeding which sometimes took quite an hour .
She never wore petticoats ... when she took her walks she slipped her unstockinged feet into her boots, and wore no underlinen of any description ... she slept on an iron bedstead, with no pillows'' .
Her hair was a glory, in texture very thick and wavy, a rich chestnut in colour, and hung down below her knees.
Dressing it was the most important ritual of the toilette, which lasted up to two hours, during which she usually read, or studied languages. Many anecdotes testify how her self-imposed ''enslavement'' to her hair sublimated her sense of enslavement to the public role, how she used her capillary crown ''in order to get rid of the other one'' (the imperial crown).
The hair was inviolable, mystical, almost literally sacred, a cult of which her spoiled and arrogant hairdresser was the high-priestess .
The biography of the Austrian Empress contains a whole psychology of fetishism, which emerges with peculiar intensity and pathos as a function of her struggle within her uniquely elevated social rank. The rituals around her riding, slimming cures, corseting and hair were various channels of escape from and protest against her public role, attempts to recover an individual identity of which a pettifogging court, a devouring public, insatiable reporters and photographers constantly worked to deprive her.
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  #23  
Old 09-07-2008, 03:05 PM
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Elizabeth was born in Munich, Bavaria. She accompanied her mother and her 18-year-old sister, Helene, on a trip to the resort of Bad Ischl, Upper Austria , where they hoped Helene would attract the attention of their cousin, 23-year-old Franz Joseph, then Emperor of Austria.
Instead, Franz Joseph chose the younger sister... Elisabeth, and the couple were married in Vienna on April 24, 1854. Elisabeth later wrote that she regretted accepting his proposal for the rest of her life.
Elisabeth had difficulty adapting to the strict etiquette practiced at the Habsburg court. Nevertheless she bore the Emperor three children in quick succession:
Archduchess Sophie of Austria (1855–1857),
Archduchess Gisela of Austria (1856–1932),
and the hoped-for crown prince, Rudolf (1858–1889).
A decade later, Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria (1868–1924) followed.
Elisabeth was denied any major influence on her own children's upbringing, however — they were raised by her mother-in-law Sophie, and soon after Rudolf's birth the marriage started to deteriorate, undone by Elisabeth's increasingly erratic behaviour.
To ease her pain and illnesses, Elisabeth embarked on a life of travel, seeing very little of her offspring, visiting places such as Madeira, Hungary, England, and Corfu.
In Corfu she commissioned the building of a castle which she called Achilleion — after her death the building was sold to the German Emperor Wilhelm II.
She not only became known for her beauty, but also for her fashion sense, diet and exercise regimens, passion for riding sports, and a series of reputed lovers.
She paid extreme attention to her appearance and would spend most of her time preserving her beauty. Her diet and exercise regimens were strictly enforced to maintain her 20-inch waistline and reduced her to near emaciation at times (symptoms of what is now recognized as anorexia).
One of the few things she would eat was raw veal meat juice, squeezed from her juice press, then boiled and seasoned.
Some of her reputed lovers included George "Bay" Middleton, a dashing Anglo–Scot who was probably the father of Clementine Ogilvy Hozier (Mrs. Winston Churchill).
She also tolerated, to a certain degree, Franz Joseph's affair with actress Katharina Schratt.
National unrest within the Habsburg monarchy caused by the rebellious Hungarians led, in 1867, to the foundation of the Austro–Hungarian double monarchy, making Elisabeth Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary.
Elisabeth had always sympathized with the Hungarian cause and, reconciled and reunited with her alienated husband, she joined Franz Joseph in Budapest, where their coronation took place. In due course, their fourth child, Archduchess Marie Valerie was born (1868–1924). Afterwards, however, she again took up her former life of restlessly traveling through Europe, decades of what basically became a walking trance.
The Empress also engaged in writing poetry (such as the "Nordseelieder" and "Winterlieder", both inspirations from her favorite German poet, Heinrich Heine).
Shaping her own fantasy world in poetry, she referred to herself as Titania, Shakespeare's Fairy Queen. Most of her poetry refers to her journeys, classical Greek and romantic themes, as well as ironic mockery on the Habsburg dynasty.
In these years, Elisabeth also took up with an intensive study of both ancient and modern Greek, drowning in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Numerous Greek lecturers (such as Marinaky, Christomanos, and Barker) had to accompany the Empress on her hour-long walks while reading Greek to her.
Her Greek genealogical roots are presented in Greek pedigree of Empress Sisi. According to contemporary scholars, Empress Elisabeth knew Greek better than each of the Bavarian Greek Queens in the 19th century.
In 1889, Elisabeth's life was shattered by the death of her only son: 30-year-old Crown Prince Rudolf and his young lover Baroness Mary Vetsera were found dead, apparently by suicide.
The scandal is known by the name Mayerling, after the name of Rudolf's hunting lodge in Lower Austria.
After Rudolf's death, the Empress continued to be a myth, a sensation wherever she went: a long black gown that could be buttoned up at the bottom, a white parasol made of leather and a brown fan to shun her face from curious looks became the trademarks of the legendary Empress of Austria.
Only a few snapshots of Elisabeth in her last years are left, taken by photographers who were lucky enough to catch her without her noticing.
The moments Elisabeth would show up in Vienna and see her husband were rare. Interestingly, their correspondence increased during those last years and the relationship between the Empress and the Emperor of Austria had become platonic and warm.
On her imperial steamer, Miramar, Empress Elisabeth traveled restlessly through the Mediterranean. Her favorite places were Cap Martin at the French Riviera, where tourism had only started in the second half of the 19th century, Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Bad Ischl in Austria, where she would spend her summers, and Corfu in the winter.
More than that, the Empress had visited countries no other sovereign had seen at the time: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Malta, Greece, Turkey and Egypt. Traveling had become the sense of her life but also an escape from herself.

Assassination
On September 10, 1898, in Geneva, Switzerland, Elisabeth, aged 60, was stabbed in the heart with a needle file by a young anarchist named Luigi Lucheni, in an act of propaganda of the deed. She had been walking along the promenade of Lake Geneva about to board a steamship for Montreux with her lady-of-courtesy, Countess Sztaray.
Unaware of the severity of her condition she still boarded the ship. Bleeding to death from a puncture wound to the heart, Elisabeth's last words were "What happened to me?".
The strong pressure from her corset kept the bleeding back until the corset was removed. Only then did her staff and surrounding onlookers understand the severity of the situation. Reportedly, her assassin had hoped to kill a prince from the House of Orléans and, failing to find him, turned on Elisabeth instead. As Lucheni afterward said, "I wanted to kill a royal. It did not matter which one."


The Empress Elizabeth's assassin being led away.
The empress was buried in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna's city centre which for centuries served as the Imperial burial place.
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  #24  
Old 10-09-2008, 05:36 PM
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respect,you did a good job!
i didn't expect such a well-informed thread as most of the other threads are only gossip (especially the british family and the al maktoum threads are only colportations of overheard rumours and speculations.)
Also I liked the selection of pictures you have chosen.
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  #25  
Old 12-11-2008, 11:10 AM
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Many pictures of Empress Elisabeth
Kaiserin Elisabeth 1837-1898

Elisabeth Fotos aus ihrem Leben
Neue Seite 1
Elisabeth zu Pferd
Neue Seite 1
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  #27  
Old 01-06-2009, 01:07 PM
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Thanks to everybody for this wonderful pics!!
I love Empress Elisabeth...
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  #28  
Old 01-08-2009, 12:36 PM
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I have been always fascinated by Empress Elisabeth
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:03 PM
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I thank my 'obsession' to royals because of this fascinating lady.









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Old 01-14-2009, 12:11 PM
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What I find great about the Austrian royals that at they seemed to be totally outclass the other reigning houses.
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Old 01-16-2009, 10:45 AM
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[quote=Empress Merel;879612]I thank my 'obsession' to royals because of this fascinating lady.

Me too!!
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:42 PM
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Emperor Franz-Joseph: A loving Father

Kaiser Franz-Joseph & eldest children, ArchDuchess Gisela and Crown Prince Rudolf, during the early 1860's.

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Old 01-17-2009, 01:30 PM
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[quote=ANNIE_S;880520]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empress Merel View Post
I thank my 'obsession' to royals because of this fascinating lady.

Me too!!
Do you also have the desire to go back in time and just have a talk with her? A minute looking at her to know how she really looked like would be enough.
I think there is so much more about her that nobody knows, only she did.
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Old 01-18-2009, 03:41 PM
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[QUOTE=Empress Merel;880986]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ANNIE_S View Post
Do you also have the desire to go back in time and just have a talk with her? A minute looking at her to know how she really looked like would be enough.
I think there is so much more about her that nobody knows, only she did.
Yes, I do. But I would need more much than a minute to talk with her!! =)
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  #35  
Old 01-19-2009, 07:04 AM
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Haha I have a million to ask to her
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  #36  
Old 01-20-2009, 11:40 AM
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A simply stunning Empress






Obvious a great horse-woman :)




Last Portrait: Probably the most famous portrait of Elisabeth. The way we remember her and the way she wanted us to remember her; forever young and beautiful.
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:31 PM
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I don´t know if this photo is already posted:
SISSI+Y+SU+HERMANA+HELENA.jpg (image)
Sisi and her sister Helene.
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  #38  
Old 03-16-2009, 10:58 AM
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Another photo I like a lot:


The whole family in Gödöllo Castle, Hungary
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  #39  
Old 04-03-2009, 09:00 AM
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One great portrait :)
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:34 PM
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Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth( Sissi)

This is an informed thread about the austrian empress. I've just found in the web, that an austrian-italian production is being filming in real places, like the imperial palace in Vienna,and others locations related with her life. Telecinco(Spain) has bought the miniserie (2 chapters). The actress Cristiana Capodonti as Elisabeth (Christmas in love) and David Rott as Franz (Die Rebellin). We'll see the performance: the history in the story,perhars.
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