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Topic: Empress Elisabeth, Part V.  (Read 73451 times)
Reply #150
« on: May 18, 2015, 12:20:24 PM »
heavensent Offline
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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).
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 12:25:51 PM by heavensent » Logged
Reply #151
« on: May 18, 2015, 12:21:32 PM »
heavensent Offline
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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.




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.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 12:24:34 PM by heavensent » Logged
Reply #152
« on: May 18, 2015, 12:23:07 PM »
heavensent Offline
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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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Reply #153
« on: May 18, 2015, 02:07:10 PM »
Превед Offline
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There are so many similarities and parallels in the lives of Lady Diana and Empress Elizabeth of Austria.

There are many external similiarities, perhaps fewer shared character traits:

- Diana had a very caring side and liked to care of children, both her own and others' and other disadvantaged persons. Elisabeth did not care about children, neither her own and others', valued freedom and only admired other strong personalities. Her caring side probably showed itself more in her relationships with animals, which Diana cared a lot for in her childhood, but less as an adult.
- Diana was not an intellectual and did not enjoy learning French at finishing school in Switzerland. Elisabeth threw herself into learning a difficult language like Hungarian and a scholarly language like Greek, read ancient poetry, translated and wrote her own poetry.

Diana displayed many typically feminine traits, whereas Elisabeth displayed many typically masculine traits and presented a rather androgynic image. Perhaps you meant German Queens of Greece, which also would include Sophie of Prussia and Frederica of Hanover.

According to contemporary scholars, Empress Elisabeth knew Greek better than each of the Bavarian Greek Queens in the 19th century.

Strictly speaking, there were no Bavarian Queens of Greece. The only one it might apply to was Amalia of Oldenburg, spouse of King Otto, born a Prince of Bavaria. Perhaps you meant German Queens of Greece, which also would include Sophie of Prussia and Frederica of Hanover.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 02:15:54 PM by Превед » Logged

Березы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и березы», 1843 / 1856)
Reply #154
« on: May 19, 2015, 05:15:39 AM »
Превед Offline
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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.[/size]

Huh? These countries were by no means exotic for royal travellers in the late 19th century, with the possible exception of Morocco, plus they all, except Malta and Algeria, had their own sovereigns. Remember that many young male royals, especially those serving in their countries' navies, toured the world by ship and visited any place with a coast. Adult royals, sovereigns and royal women mostly limited themselves to exactly the countries you mention: The Mediterranean ones. Catholic royal families like Elisabeth's had lots of relatives to visit in Portugal and Spain, Protestant and Orthodox royals in Greece.
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Березы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и березы», 1843 / 1856)
Reply #155
« on: May 19, 2015, 07:12:43 AM »
heavensent Offline
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Lets  remember  that  Elizabeth was a  horsewoman.... a  brilliant  rider  in love with all things  equestrian...

whereas  Diana  ..... !  dont  think she  even  liked  horseriding  ...  Diana  was  a    town  mouse  while   Elizabeth  was  definitely a
country mouse .
     Elizabeth    was   a  huge  celebrity  way back in the   19th  cent...  who  could  compare  with her  ?


Probably the  closest   was   Princess  Alexandra  ....

(wonder if they ever met  ?)
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 07:22:14 AM by heavensent » Logged
Reply #156
« on: May 19, 2015, 06:05:52 PM »
Yelena Aleksandrovna Offline
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- Diana had a very caring side and liked to care of children, both her own and others' and other disadvantaged persons. Elisabeth did not care about children, neither her own and others', valued freedom and only admired other strong personalities. Her caring side probably showed itself more in her relationships with animals, which Diana cared a lot for in her childhood, but less as an adult.

Well, in general you are right, the Empress was quite cold towards her older children as well as with her grandchildren. But there was a noticeable exception to this, Elisabeth loved deeply her youngest daughter, Archduchess Marie Valerie and was closer to her. This child was raised by the Empress herself (MV was the only child that wasn't raised by the domineering Archduchess Sophie) and I've read that Elisabeth tended to be overprotecting with she. But yes, this was an exceptional case.
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Russia cannot be grasped with the mind, or measured in feet and inches, for she has a special character: In Russia one can only believe. ~Fyodor Tyutchev.
Reply #157
« on: June 01, 2015, 11:44:05 AM »
Yelena Aleksandrovna Offline
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Don't remember seeing this in color before, as well as in such good size (Click on the image for a bigger view)



Credits on the image
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Russia cannot be grasped with the mind, or measured in feet and inches, for she has a special character: In Russia one can only believe. ~Fyodor Tyutchev.
Reply #158
« on: June 01, 2015, 12:30:32 PM »
Yelena Aleksandrovna Offline
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Empress Sissi in a carriage at Franzensburg (Laxenburg) in 1870



Empress Sissi and Emperor Franz Joseph at Cap Martin, 1890's



Credits on the images
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Russia cannot be grasped with the mind, or measured in feet and inches, for she has a special character: In Russia one can only believe. ~Fyodor Tyutchev.
Reply #159
« on: June 03, 2015, 01:08:22 PM »
Yelena Aleksandrovna Offline
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Empress Sissi in Gödollö by Alexander von Bensa, ca. 1880. Credits on the image.





I haven't seen this before, expect to see a better verssion of it soon. From sissi.de

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Russia cannot be grasped with the mind, or measured in feet and inches, for she has a special character: In Russia one can only believe. ~Fyodor Tyutchev.
Reply #160
« on: June 15, 2015, 10:53:28 AM »
Yelena Aleksandrovna Offline
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Sissi wearing a Hungarian court gown



The Empress



Both images come from sissiofaustria.tumblr
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Russia cannot be grasped with the mind, or measured in feet and inches, for she has a special character: In Russia one can only believe. ~Fyodor Tyutchev.
Reply #161
« on: July 09, 2015, 12:34:56 PM »
Jen_94 Offline
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Wow, I love the second image, she was truly beautiful!
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Reply #162
« on: July 31, 2015, 12:57:04 PM »
Yelena Aleksandrovna Offline
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Portrait of a very young Empress Sissi (1850's I think) in a ridding gown, I guess.



*****Source: the Hungarian forum index.hu*****
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Russia cannot be grasped with the mind, or measured in feet and inches, for she has a special character: In Russia one can only believe. ~Fyodor Tyutchev.
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