Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth von Wittelsbach and Philip Froissant as Emperor Franz Joseph

Courtesy of Netflix

However, the young empress was far from the optimal combination of beauty and good health. She suffered from an eating disorder and severe depression (or “melancholy” as it was known in the 19th century) due to a lack of stimulation from palace life. In addition to a vigorous exercise regimen, the Empress practiced several demanding beauty routines, one of which included a three-hour hair ritual. Even after four pregnancies, Elisabeth maintained her weight at around 110 pounds and maintained a height of 16 inches for the rest of her life. The pressure to maintain her beauty took its toll on the young royal, who was described as “graceful, but too thin” and “extremely unhappy” by fellow courtiers.

The Empress’s relationship with Emperor Franz Joseph did nothing to ease her misery. Despite what might have been displayed in Schneider’s on-screen relationship with Böhm, Elisabeth was so unhappy about the idea of ​​her marriage, that within minutes of her nuptials, the bride was seen sobbing from her car as she drove through precessions of excited. Austrians. Once inside the palace gates, her overbearing mother-in-law, her lackluster husband, and the sudden death of her infant daughter, Sophie, caused Sissi great emotional pain. Later in her life, the Empress would go through another tragedy with the loss of her only son, Rudolph, in a murder-suicide in 1889.

Unsurprisingly, Elisabeth fled to Hungary in extreme bouts of sadness, where she was able to recover from her grief and escape her unhappy marriage. It was this and the books that brought relief to the royal during her lifetime. Throughout her timely hair routines, Elisabeth used the hours to learn languages; she was fluent in English and French and added modern Greek to her Hungarian studies. The Empress is said to have once shared with her Greek tutor: “Hair styling takes almost two hours… and while my hair is busy, my mind remains idle. I’m afraid my spirit will escape through my hair and onto my barber’s fingers. Hence my headache afterwards”.