Empress Sissi and Emperor Franz Joseph at Bad Kissingen, 1898.

Empress Sissi forbad people to take photos to her after she turned 30, so there aren’t much photos of Sissi in maturer age. Happily, there are a few of her later years that let us to see how she looked. Despite she is covering her face with a fan and she is taking an umbrella her face can be seen, unlike other photos of her in the same situation.

The original photo and below a painting based on it.

The Austrian Imperial Family, done around 1883.

On the left is Crown Prince Rudolf, his arm on the chair of his wife Stephanie of Belgium. Stephanie has their infant daughter, Elisabeth Marie, in her lap. On the right are Franz Joseph I and his wife Elisabeth, who is popularly known as Sissi. In the middle is Marie Valerie, Franz Joseph and Sissi’s youngest child.

Franz Joseph was not a great speaker. He made the necessary speeches in Prague or Vienna but he knew he was a terrible orator. At times he would happily confide, “For once I spoke pretty well, without a prompter and without getting stuck.” Once, when he was giving a speech in honor of Wilhelm II at Wilhelm’s birthday celebration, he read, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to join me in a triple salute : ‘Kaiser Wilhelm, Hurrah! Hurrah!’” This was followed by a long pause as the emperor turned the page. Then he read, “Hurrah!”


Crown Prince Rudolf, the only son of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria, was born on 21 August 1858. In 1889, he died in a alleged suicide pact with his mistress, Baroness Mary Vetsera at the Mayerling hunting lodge. His death had a devastating effect on the already compromised marriage of the Imperial couple and interrupted the security inherent in the immediate line of Habsburg dynastic succession. As Rudolf had no sons, his cousin Archduke Franz Ferdinand eventually became the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand lead to Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia, starting World War I.


Empress Elisabeth of Austria and her family Spam [38/50]

Sisi loved Hungary, partly a protest against Sophie, who detested all Hungarians, but also because she felt close to the language and the people of that country. The year 1866 saw Austria plunge into a severe crisis, which threatened to break Austria from many sides. But Sisi’s commitment to an Austrian-Hungarian settlement on the basis of special rights and freedoms for Hungary released the tension between Vienna and Budapest. The Habsburg Empire was divided into two equally authoritative parts.A Dual Monarchy emerged, with Vienna and Budapest as equal capitals. In 1867 Franz Joseph was crowned King of Hungary – Sisi’s biggest political triumph. However despite her commitment to Hungary, at the bottom of her heart Sisi was not a political person.

"Kings" ask game
  • Since so many people liked the “Queens” ask game, I decided to do the “Kings” ask game as well (yes, I know, I included emperors too).
  • Henry VIII.: most overrated ruler?
  • Alexander III of Russia: favorite historical person from your country?
  • Louis XIV: favorite crown jewels?
  • Frederick the Great: 3 things you love about your favorite ruler?
  • Philip II of Spain: favorite biography?
  • Richard III.: most interesting mystery in history?
  • Alexander the Great: favorite pharaoh?
  • Franz Joseph I. : favorite palace/castle?
  • Louis XVI: myth about your favorite ruler?
  • Gustav II Adolf: one question you would ask your favorite ruler?
  • Nicholas II of Russia: the most beautiful ruler?
  • James V of Scotland: favorite coat of arms?
  • Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor: favorite ruler with the same zodiac as you?
  • Frederick VI of Denmark: favorite era?
  • Maximilian I of Mexico: favorite royal house?
  • Genghis Khan: three facts about your favorite ruler?
  • George VI: favorite history blog on tumblr?

Empress Elisabeth of Austria and her family Spam [21/50]

 In April 1854 the magnificent wedding took place in the Wiener Augustinerkirchein Vienna. The only part of the Wedding Dress of Elisabeth that remains is the Court train, that you can see at the Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna. And the set of jewels that Elisabeth wore on her wedding day.

Franz Joseph I of Austria.

When the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand occurred in Sarajevo, this man was on vacation (along with his entire court). In a somewhat myopic move, he did not interrupt his vacation to address this matter of state.  

Seeing as he and his immediate advisors were on vacation, most of the disastrous negotiations during the “July Crisis” following the assassination were handled by Count Leopold Berchtold, the Austrian foreign minister and Count Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, the chief of staff for the Austrian army.

Within days the Austro-Hungarian Empire had declared war on Serbia, setting off the complex system of alliances between powerful countries in Europe and leading to the tragic events of WWI…

But hey, Franz Joseph I got in one last vacation!


‘Reincarnation’ is the title of the video-clip created and directed by Karl Lagerfeld to accompany the Paris-Salzburg 2014/15 Métiers d'art collection to be shown on December 2nd 2014 in Salzburg.