Habsburg imperial couple (19th century)

Habsburg imperial couple (19th century)

Emperor Franz Joseph I and the beautiful Elisabeth got married in Vienna in 1854, but their marriage was unfortunately an unhappy one.



Habsburg imperial couple, Franz Joseph, Elisabeth, Habsburg, Sisi, Vienna, queen, monarchy, Austria, emperor, empress, dynasty, leader, empire, princess, Hungarians, monarch, crown

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  • Who was a contemporary of Franz Joseph I?
  • How old was Franz Joseph I at the time of his death?
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  • Where does the Habsburgs derive their name from?


The imperial couple

The Habsburg dynasty dates back to the 10th century and their seat originates in the Habsburg Castle located in the canton of Aargau, present-day Switzerland.

Rudolf I, King of Germany, was the first member of the dynasty to become a ruler in 1273. Later during the course of history, many of the Holy Roman Emperors, Czech, Hungarian, Spanish and Portuguese kings were members of the Habsburg dynasty.

In the 16th century, the dynasty split into the Austrian and Spanish branches and the seat of the former became the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.

In 1736, Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine, and Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria, got married, thereby establishing the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty. After this event, all Holy Roman Emperors came from this dynasty until 1806. In addition, until 1918, the dynasty provided all archdukes of Austria, kings of Hungary and Bohemia and emperors of Austria as well.


Franz Joseph of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty was born on 18 August 1830 in Vienna. He was the eldest child of Archduke Franz Karl of Austria and Princess Sophie of Bavaria.

Following the abdication of Ferdinand I and the intervention of his mother, Franz Joseph became Emperor of Austria in December 1848, ignoring hereditary succession. Despite his young age, he was a deliberate ruler.

After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 that established the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he was also crowned King of Hungary.

His reign ended in 1916, when he died of severe pneumonia. His 68-year reign is the longest continuous reign in the history of the Habsburg dynasty.


Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie of the Wittelsbach dynasty was born in Munich on 24 December 1837 as the second daughter of Duke Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria and Princess Maria Ludovika Wilhelmine. The House of Wittelsbach was one of the oldest royal families of Germany.

In 1853, at the age of 16, she joined her mother and her oldest sister, Helene, to meet Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I.
On his 24th birthday, the emperor proposed to the beautiful and intelligent Elisabeth. They got married on 24 April 1854 in St Augustine’s Church in Vienna.

In the beginning they had a happy marriage and in 1855 the 17-year-old Empress gave birth to their first daughter, Sophie Friederike, and a year later to Gisela. Their son and heir to the Empire, Rudolf, was born in 1858, and their youngest daughter, Marie Valerie, in 1868.

The death of the 2-year-old Sophie Friederike left Sisi, as Elisabeth was called, badly shaken. She could not cope with the rigid protocols of the court so she spent most of her time travelling. After Rudolf committed suicide in 1889, she started wearing black and kept this habit for the rest of her life.

Empress Elisabeth died in 1898 when the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni stabbed her on the shore of Lake Geneva.


Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I von Habsburg-Lothringen married Bavarian Princess Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie von Wittelsbach in Vienna in 1854.

The marriage of the young but firm emperor and his beautiful and intelligent wife started off happily.

They resided in Vienna with their children. Their official winter residence was the Hofburg palace, while in summer they resided in the magnificent Schönbrunn Castle.
Unfortunately, a series of family tragedies cast a shadow on their marriage and the couple became distant in both the figurative and literal sense of the word.

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