Austrian Royalty. She was born Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie of Wittelsbach, the daughter of Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria and Princess Ludovika. She was known as Sisi to her family. In 1853, Elisabeth accompanied her mother and older sister Helene to the resort of Bad Ischl, where it was hoped Helene would capture the attention of their cousin, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. The Emperor chose Elisabeth instead, and they were married in Vienna on April 24, 1854. Elisabeth had trouble adjusting to the rigidity and strict etiquette of the Habsburg court, and she was denied any major influence in the raising of her children. Famed for her beauty, influential fashions and passion for sports, she is now often called the "Diana of her day". Shortly after the birth of their third child, the Crown Prince Rudolf, the marriage deteriorated due to the Emperor's infidelities and Elisabeth's own increasingly erratic behavior. She turned to a life of travel, restlessly wandering throughout Europe, seeing very little of her children. She spent time in such places as Hungary, England, and Corfu, where she even commissioned a castle to be built. She reportedly also had a string of lovers during this time. With the foundation of the Austro-Hungarian double monarchy in 1867, Elisabeth rejoined her husband, and the couple were reconciled. They were crowned King and Queen of Hungary in Budapest. The next year their fourth child was born, but Elisabeth returned to her restless travelling soon afterward, and spent decades in something of a "walking trance". At the age of 60, while walking along the promenade of Lake Geneva in Switzerland to board a ship to Montreaux, the Empress was fatally stabbed by a file. Her assasin was an Italian anarchist who, intending to kill a member of the House of Orleans, failed to find one and decided that any royal would do. Elisabeth's last words were reportedly "What has happened to me?"
Bio by: Kristen Conrad
Franz Joseph Habsburg