Is The Empress Based on True Story?

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Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth/Sisi, Philip Froissant as Emperor Franz Joseph in The Empress
Credit: Netflix

One of Netflix's recently released shows has gained traction over the weekend and has earned its own fandom. The Empress is the streaming giant's latest period drama that reminds us of Bridgerton. But unlike the latter, The Empress is based on the life of Elisabeth von Wittelsbach, the Empress of Austria from 1854-1898.

This isn’t the first time Elisabeth’s story was used in a movie. In 1955, a German film entitled Sissi was released about the rebellious royal's love life. The film starred Romy Schneider.

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There is another film, entitled Corsage, that is set to premiere in December 2022 about Elisabeth’s fascination with beauty and fear of aging. The movie stars Vicky Krieps as its main character.

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Let's take a look at the show and what Netflix got right about Sisi's story in The Empress.

Is The Empress Based on True Story?

Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth/Sisi  in The Empress
Credit: Netflix

Netflix's show, The Empress, is about the life of Elisabeth von Wittelsbach, or famously known as "Sissi/Sisi." While she was born into a royal family (of the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach), Sisi had a rebellious upbringing. Her parents encouraged the young royal to get creative and to explore the countryside. She was often described as a free-minded princess.

She later married Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and became the Empress of Austria. She was also considered to be the "first celebrity royal in Europe."

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In 1867, she was crowned as the Queen of Hungary.

Is Netflix's The Empress Accurate?

Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth/Sisi  in The Empress
Credit: Netflix

The producers of the The Empress calls the show "a truthful interpretation." Some of the conversations and scenes in the show were imagined by the showrunners.

Despite this, the goal of the producers was to make the show as historically accurate as possible. As a result of this, they did not deviate from the historical events.

Still, here are the things Netflix got right about The Empress:

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Sisi Broke a Lot of Royal Rules

Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth/Sisi  in The Empress
Credit: Netflix

In an investigative article by Tatler, it was revealed that Sisi found royal life boring and frequently rebelled against the formal Vienna court life required of her. As a result, she was often the topic of gossip.

History.com reveals that she was a smoker who enjoyed horseback riding, mountain climbing, and gymnastics.

Despite these things, the commoners loved Sisi.

She Caught The Eye of The Emperor

Elisa Schlott as Helene, Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth/Sisi in The Empress
Credit: Netflix
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Originally, Emperor Franz Joseph I was supposed to marry Helene, Elisabeth's older sister. But upon meeting 16-year-old Elisabeth, Franz fell in love with her. He was 23 years old when the two were engaged and married in 1854.

Despite the colorful picture of the couple painted in the show, it was unclear whether Franz felt as strongly towards his wife in real life.

History.com revealed that Sisi's "distaste for public life was treated as a childish indulgence by her distracted husband and his mother." Still, she bore four children for her husband, but only three survived: Gisela, Rudolf, and Marie Valerie. Her son, Crown Prince Rudolf, died by apparent suicide at the age of 30. He died along with his mistress.

She Had a Difficult Relationship With Her Mother-in-Law

Melika Foroutan as Princess Sophia, Philip Froissant as Emperor Franz Joseph in The Empress
Credit: Netflix

Princess Sophia, Franz’s mother, took care of her grandchildren. As a result, Sisi had a rocky relationship with her mother-in-law. Netflix was able to capture this in the show.

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She Was Obsessed With Her Appearance and Even Had an Eating Disorder

Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth/Sisi in The Empress
Credit: Netflix

Sisi was best known for her beauty and 19-inch waistline, which she worked hard to maintain. The Empress spent several hours every day styling her very long hair and exercising. She also spent time following her beauty regimen and had her own anti-aging products to use.

How Sisi Died?

Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth/Sisi in The Empress
Credit: Netflix
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Elisabeth died of an assassination in 1898. She was stabbed by Luigi Lucheni, an Italian anarchist, while on a trip to Switzerland.

She died at the age of 60.

Will The Empress Have a Season 2?

Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth/Sisi, Philip Froissant as Emperor Franz Joseph in The Empress
Credit: Netflix

At this time, Netflix has not revealed any plans to renew The Empress for a second season. But considering the show only premiered a few days ago, it's still too early to make the call.

Given the success of the first season, it's possible that Netflix will renew the show for season 2.

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Who Stars in The Empress?

Philip Froissant as Emperor Franz Joseph in The Empress
Credit: Netflix

The six-episode show is a German production, which means you will have to watch it with subtitles on. Here are the actors that are in the show:

  • Devrim Lingnau (as Elisabeth/Sisi)
  • Philip Froissant (as Emperor Franz Joseph)
  • Melika Foroutan (as Princess Sophia)
  • Johannes Nussbaum (as Archduke Maximilian)
  • Elisa Schlott (as Helene)
  • Jördis Triebel (as Princess Ludovika)
  • Raymond Tarabay (as Ambassadeur De Bourqueney)
  • Hanna Hilsdorf (as Amalia)
  • Svenja Jung (as Louise)

The Empress Trailer

Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth/Sisi in The Empress
Credit: Netflix
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A month prior to its release, Netflix aired the official teaser of the show:

Ten days before the show made its release, the official trailer was released on YouTube:

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