The empress’s relationship with Emperor Franz Jospeh did nothing to soften her misery. Despite what might have been displayed in Schneider’s on-screen relationship with Böhm, so unhappy was Elisabeth at the prospect of her marriage, that in the minutes following her nuptials, the young bride was seen sobbing from her carriage as she passed through precessions of excited Austrians. Once inside the palace gates, her overbearing mother-in-law, dull husband and the sudden death of her infant daughter, Sophie, caused Sissi extreme amounts of pain. Later in her life, the empress would go through further tragedy with the loss of her only son, Rudolph, to a murder-suicide in 1889.
Unsurprisingly, Elisabeth took to escaping to Hungary in extreme bouts of sadness, where she could recover from her grief and escape her unhappy marriage. It was this and books that gave the royal some relief during her life. throughout every time hair routines, Elisabeth used the hours to learn languages; she spoke fluent English and French, and added modern Greek to her Hungarian studies. The empress reportedly once shared with her Greek tutor: ‘Hairdressing takes almost two hours… and while my hair is busy, my mind stays idle. I am afraid that my mind escapes through the hair and onto the fingers of my hairdresser. Hence my headache afterwards’.