Elisabeth’s last journey to Lake Geneva

Sisi's amazing Journey - Österreichs legendäre Kaiserin Sisi

What exactly happened on that fateful September 10, 1898 in Geneva? Who was the young man who ended her life? Was Elisabeth just in the wrong place at the wrong time? What happened after her death?

Elisabeth’s last voyage took her to Lake Geneva in 1898 . At first she was quartered in the Hotel de Caux near Montreux. From there she visited the Baroness Rothschild incognito. She then moved into quarters with her lady -in-waiting at the Hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva.

As always, Sisi traveled under the pseudonym “Countess of Hohenembs”, but was recognized by the hotelier at the Beau Rivage. So the next morning it was in the newspaper that Empress Elisabeth of Austria was in Geneva.

This is what the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni, who was actually after the French prince Henri d’Orleans, found out. When he didn’t appear in Geneva, Sisi became the prominent victim.

The fateful death – at the wrong time in the wrong place?

Fatal assassination attempt on Elisabeth in Geneva, 1898

On the afternoon of September 10, 1898 , the life of Empress Elisabeth came to a fateful end on Lake Geneva. She was in Geneva at the invitation of the Rothschild family, accompanied by her lady-in-waiting.

At around 1:30 p.m., a young man bumped into her not far from the Hotel Beau-Rivage, near the pier of the paddle steamer she was going to take to Caux. He drove a sharp file right into her heart , which was only noticed on the ship when the empress collapsed dead .

The puncture of the stiletto-shaped blade was so small that the Empress did not feel it, and thought it was just a punch . She fell down, got up and walked on to the ship. She spoke to her lady-in-waiting, Irma Sztáray , about the incident. Ten minutes passed and only on the ship did she collapse. The ship returned to the pier and the Empress was taken back to the hotel. All attempts at resuscitation were in vain, only death could be determined. Sisi was 60 years old.

When Emperor Franz Joseph received the terrible news, he is said to have said to his adjutant: “You don’t know how much I loved this woman”.

The body of Empress Elisabeth was transported to Vienna in the court saloon car . Her body was embalmed and placed complete in a beautiful Art Nouveau coffin. There was no tripartite division of the body, as was customary with the Habsburgs for centuries.

Sisi wanted to be buried on her favorite island of Corfu . This last wish was not granted. According to tradition, Empress Elisabeth was laid to rest in the Capuchin Crypt in Vienna . The funeral took place on September 17, 1898.

What happened to that assassin? Luigi Lucheni received a life sentence for murder, although he would have preferred the death penalty. 12 years after the incident, he took his own life. He was found hanged in a dark cell.

Tip from Sisi’s Amazing Journey: In the Capuchin Crypt you can visit Sisi’s last place. Here the restless journey through Europe came to an end. Many Sisi fans come to this place to commemorate her.



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