Note: It was when I was doing a bit of research for this post that I learnt that there was a 2009 German production called 'Sisi', a two-part miniseries on the early years of Empress Elisabeth. I watched it and wrote a review about it. Anyway, since I already started work on this post, I figured I might as well finish it. There was so much to Empress Elisabeth's story that 'Sisi' did not cover, and I hope another network or streaming service will eventually get around to making a series about her fascinating life.
Back when The Borgias was still airing, I wished for a show focused on the Medicis. In 2016, the Medici series started with Medici: Masters of Florence. Two seasons of Medici: The Magnificent followed. So, just in case my TV wish powers are still going strong, my next wish is a series focused on Empress Elisabeth of Austria, famously known as Sisi.
Empress Sisi was a stunner who was famous for the strict beauty regimens she followed throughout her life. In modern times, she likely would have been diagnosed with an eating disorder. Until her death, her clothing measured between 18 1/2 to 19 1/2 inches around the waist; at one point, she reportedly reduced her waist to a mere 16 inches. She was also famous for her extremely long hair, which required hours of care every day.
Born a princess, she lived a relatively unrestrained life until she was married to Emperor Franz Joseph I of the Austria-Hungary empire at the age of 16. Though her husband reportedly loved her at first sight, Empress Sisi had trouble adapting to life at the Habsburg court, which was much more formal than what she was used to. She also had a difficult relationship with her mother in law. As the years passed, Empress Sisi begun spending more and more time abroad.
Empress Sisi was particularly fond of Hungary, and helped keep negotiations between the Habsburg court and Hungary to continue. It was even said that the Empress's decision to resume physical intimacy with the Emperor was partly a personal decision to have another child, and partly a political negotiation on behalf of Hungary. The couple's fourth child, Marie Valerie, was dubbed the 'Hungarian child' and was born in Budapest. There were rumours that Marie Valerie was the daughter of the Empress's rumoured lover, the Hungarian Count Gyula Andrássy, but these rumours eventually died down as the Archduchess grew up and went on to resemble the Emperor more.
In her early 50s, Empress Sisi and her husband Emperor Franz Joseph had to face the tragedy of the Mayerling Incident, when their only son Rudolf, the 30-year-old Crown Prince, committed suicide with his 17-year-old mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera. Because they had no other sons, the Emperor's younger brother Archduke Karl Ludwig became the heir apparent. Upon the Archduke's death, succession fell to his son Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination precipitated World War I.
I'm linking here a few videos on YouTube about Empress Sisi:
Who do you think could play Empress Sisi? Please let me know on the comments or tweet me.