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 people. 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 extreme pain. Later in her life, the Empress would experience further tragedy with the loss of her only son, Christopher, 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”.