Friday, December 10, 2010
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
A tribute to the beautiful aunt, godmother and namesake of Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians. Apparently, the memory of her glamorous but troubled forebear was always something of a trial for her great-niece, Princess Marie-José of Belgium, the last Queen of Italy. To her biographer, Luciano Regolo, Marie-José humorously described her long-standing irritation with the romantic cult of the tragic empress. Once, at a dinner in Paris, with a group of historians, the Italian queen had endured the sentimental posturing of her neighbor at table, who nostalgically sighed "Sissie...oh Sissie..." throughout the entire evening. When he began rhapsodizing over the empress's eyes, Marie-José lost patience. "Pardon me," she inquired, ironically, "did you perhaps know her?" The man turned purple and fell silent.
Here is an interesting contrast between Elisabeth of Austria and Elisabeth of Belgium, from the memoirs of Count Sforza.