Elizabeth of Austria was an romantic heroine of the 19th century rather than an important political personage. Beautiful and well educated, she distained court life, and spent much of her life traveling in western Europe. Although graced with every advantage, her personal life was filled with disappointments and tragedies including the suicide of her son, Rudolf the Crown Prince, and her own tragic assassination.
ELIZABETH AS THE YOUNG EMPRESS.
The story of the life of Elizabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, is one of the saddest in the history of royalty, and in some respects recalls the story of the life of Marie Antoinette. Both their lives were sorrowful, both ended tragically, the one at the hands of an assassin, the other upon the guillotine. Elizabeth will not be remembered in history as a sovereign, for everything connected with the throne and with court life was distasteful to her, but rather as the beautiful, sorrowful daughter of the Wittelsbachs. She was not only one of the most beautiful women of her time, but an accomplished scholar and linguist, a good musician, and well versed in history, science, and art. She was a passionate lover of the woods and mountains, and was happiest when she was walking or riding among them, or associating with the Hungarian people. She was no more at home with the Viennese than was Marie Antoinette with the Parisians. Her domestic life was saddened by estrangement from her husband, by lack of sympathy among her relatives, by the terrible tragedy which ended the life of her son, Prince Rudolph, and by other tragedies which involved the happiness and sometimes the lives of those nearest to her. At last her sufferings were ended by the dagger of a cruel anarchist assassin. As the author of this volume says: "She died as she had often wished to die, swiftly and painlessly and under the open sky. Who can say that her last breath was not a sigh of thankfulness and peace?"
CHICAGO, May 10, 1909.
The following is a chronological statement of important events connected with the life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria:
|1837||Birth of Elizabeth.|
|1853||Betrothal to Franz Joseph.|
|1856||Visit to Austrian Alps.|
|1855||Birth of Sophie Dorothea.|
|1856||Birth of second daughter, Gisela.|
|1858||Birth of Crown Prince Rudolf.|
|1866||Estrangement of Emperor and Empress.|
|1866||War with Prussia.|
|1867||Elizabeth Crowned Queen of Hungary.|
|1868||Birth of Marie Valerie.|
|1878||War with Bosnia and Herzegovina.|
|1881||Marriage of Prince Rudolf.|
|1889||Death of Prince Rudolf.|
|1896||Hungary Celebrated Thousandth Anniversary.|
|1898||Elizabeth Killed by an Assassin.|