Katrin Unterreiner meticulously explores this question. She breathes life into the historic sources, tells of the emperor’s childhood and his relationship with his mother, Archduchess Sophie, his great and lifelong love for Empress Elizabeth, and of his troubled relationship with his only son, Crown Prince Rudolf, who took his own life at the age of 33. From 1848 to his death in 1916, Francis Joseph I ruled an empire of 56 million people.
During this long reign he left an indelible mark on the capital city of Vienna and held together the multinational empire as a sacrosanct symbolic figure. The official image of the emperor is one of a conscientious and spartan ruler who remained true to his ideals. In contrast, this book shows the unknown sides of the emperor: as an imaginative child, as family man and father, humorous monarch, passionate lover and as a ruler who suffered many blows of fate – all described here in great detail and illustrated with pictures from his personal collection.
Katrin Unterreiner, Studium der Kunstgeschichte sowie Geschichte an der Universität Wien, lang jährige wissenschaftliche Leiterin der Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges. m.b.H. und Kuratorin des 2004 eröffneten Sisi Museums in der Wiener Hofburg, seit 2013 Kuratorin der Kaiserhaussammlung Plachutta. Autorin zahlreicher Publikationen über die Habsburger, zur Wiener Hofburg und Alltags- und Kulturgeschichte der k.u.k. Monarchie.