“I am a seagull, of no land, I call no shore my home, I am bound to no place, I fly from wave to wave.” ~ Empress Elisabeth of Austria aka Sisi (1837-1898)
A fervent traveler, the Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, Sisi, born Elizabeth, the Duchess of Bavaria, was a beautiful, lonely, reclusive woman. An adamant non-conformist and free spirit, she married her cousin Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria (1848–1867) at 17, and spent the rest of her life refusing to carry out the traditional roles of empress, wife or mother expected of her. The death of her eldest child at two, and the suicide of Rudolf, her fourth child, pushed her deeper into her shell. She was assassinated by an Italian anarchist in 1898.
Her eccentricities related to her incredible beauty recount tales of her obsession with her weight which she never let rise beyond 50 kg all her life, her 16 inch waist, and a three hour daily hairdressing ritual of combing and braiding her knee length hair. Her husband’s undying infatuation with her despite countless rejections and her absconding from him resulting in perpetual travels marked the essence of the marriage.