The story of Austrian Empress Sissi (nickname for Elizabeth), has been romanticized for many decades as a tale of love and rebellion, immortalizing the name and face of Romy Schneider on paper. After more than 50 years, Netflix resumes the trajectory of the young woman who is a symbol of beauty to this day in the series The Empress, which should premiere next week, the 29th.
With drama, politics, plots, and tension, The Empress promises to revise Sissi’s story as a modern woman in confrontation with the traditional monarchical institution, personified in her difficult mother-in-law. The truth was not quite that, but, in the current values, it can be simplified with this look.
Born into a royal house in Bavaria, Sissi was not the choice for marriage to Franz Joseph, but she was the one he fell in love with and for the first time imposed himself to get what he wanted. On-screen – and in the Netflix series – it will be a love story, but in reality, the 16-year-old was forced to accept, getting into the carriage to Church in tears.
Obviously, as Empress, she was in the spotlight, but having been raised in the countryside and with freedom, she found life at court difficult. Not having a good relationship with his mother-in-law, Archduchess Sofia, didn’t help. Sofia was traditionalist, rigid, and resented that she might no longer be the most important woman in the Habsburg empire. To make matters worse, her brother-in-law, Maximilian, did not conform to the role of “spare”, creating conflicts for Sissi and Franz Joseph (Harry syndrome?)
But in the first years of the union, Sissi still tried and for her, Franz Joseph also faced the system. Thus, considered eccentric (for following the values of creativity and adventure), the empress was the target of constant gossip because she was defiant, smoked, rode horses, and did gymnastics. Born beautiful, she was extremely vain and established a rigorous process of beautification and an innovative diet for herself (she was a vegetarian). But he also suffered from bulimia and depression, details often omitted from his film biographies.
Sissi’s trajectory has been compared over the years to Princess Iana’s because of the adoration of fans around the world. She had a long life and reached her 60s (although she refused to have portraits made of her after 30, to be immortalized young). As A Imperariz will only address her early years at Court, we will not see many of her sorrows and her husband’s estrangement to live closer to her lovers. Sissi suffered greatly from the loss of her infant daughter Sophie, then the suicide of her eldest son and heir to the throne, Rudolf, and her murder when she was stabbed by an Italian anarchist while visiting Geneva, Switzerland.
The Empress will introduce Sissi to generations that didn’t know her, too bad they will still keep the romance in the foreground, but it will be interesting to revisit the story of one of the most beautiful women in history.