Austria's Princess Diana. Netflix's 'The Empress' is set to return Duchess Elisabeth to screens.

Vienna : She was the Princess Diana of the 19th century. An impossibly glamorous Austro-Hungarian empress whose star-crossed love life and tragic end entranced the public.

NOW, two movies and two new series - including one being made for Netflix - are set to reignite the fascination with Empress Elizabeth, who was popularly known as ''SISI''.

The first of the films, Corsage premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday while the series Sisi -which covers her early life and turbulent marriage to Emperor Franz-Joseph is streaming in Germany on RTL+.

It has already raised brows there with its frank depiction of the young empress' sexuality while garnering favourable reviews from critics.

The series' Swiss-American star Dominique Devenport told AFP that part of the upsurge in interest in Sisi is a desire to ''find more female narratives''. 

She may have been one of the most famous women of the 19th century, but Devenport said Elizabeth's life was ''full of extremes, full of pain''. Married to Franz-Joseph when she was 16, she chafed against the rituals and strictures of life at the stiff Habsburg court.

Devenport said the questions she asks herself in the series are ones many young people today can relate to : ''How can I stay myself; what decisions do I make, how do I keep up with what is expected from me?''

The rival Netflix series, The Empress, is still in production, with release slated for later this year.

More about Sisi

Elisabeth was born into the royal Bavarian House of Wittlesbach, she enjoyed an informal upbringing before marrying Emperor Franz Joseph 1 at the age of sixteen. The marriage thrust her into the much more formal Habsburg court life, for which was unprepared and which she found uncongenial as per reports.

Early in the marriage she was at odds with her mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie, who took over the rearing of Elizabeth's daughters, one of whom, Sophie, died in infancy.

The birth of a son, Crown Prince Rudolf, to the Imperial couple improved Elisabeth's standing at court, but her health suffered under the strain, and she would often visit Hungary for its more relaxed environment.

She came to develop a deep kinship with Hungary, and helped to bring about the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary in 1867.

But the death of her only son and his mistress Mary Vetsera in a murder-suicide at his hunting lodge at Mayerling in 1889 was a blow from which the Empress never recovered. She withdrew from court duties and traveled widely, unaccompanied by her family.

IN 1890, she had the palace Achilleion built on the Greek island of Corfu. The palace featured an elaborate mythological motif, and served as a refuge which Elisabeth often visited.

In 1897, her sister Sophie died in an accidental fire at the Bazar de la Chariten charity event in Paris.

While travelling in Geneva in 1898, Elisabeth was mortally wounded by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni. Her tenure of 44 years was the longest of any Austrian empress. [AFP]


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!