The Children of Empress Sisi
Sisi gave birth to four children. The first two were daughters; Sophie (5 March 1855) and Gisela (15 July 1856). Archduchess Sophie immediately took control over the children, taking them away from the care of their mother. Sisi should spend all her time doing her duties as the Empress of Austria.
Archduchess Sophie of Austria (5 March 1855 – 29 May 1857)
Archduchess Gisela of Austria (12 July 1856 – 27 July 1932)
Archduke Rudolf of Austria, Crown Prince of Austria and Hungary (21 August 1858 – 30 January 1889)
Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria (22 April 1868 – 6 September 1924)
In 1857 Sisi took both her children on a trip to Hungary, against the advice of both Sophie and the Court physicians since the children were not well.
The trip ended in a tragedy. Princess Sophie died, probably of typhus, only three years old. This caused the first of Sisi's many depressions and of course reinforced the opinion of the Archduchess that Elisabeth of Bavaria was not fit for motherhood and should not be in charge of the royal children.
Sisi, Franz Joseph, Sophie and Gisela in 1856
In 1858 Sisi finally gave birth to the long-awaited Crown Prince. Prince Rudolf was born on August 21, 1858 in Laxemburg Castle, and was also taken away from Sisi immediately. He was raised by tutors and at the early age of six, Rudolf started his education to become emperor of Austria. Sisi was blocked out of the upbringing and education of her children.
Since she had no control over the most aspects of her personal life empress Sisi started to work on her own body. Through rigid workouts, fastening and tight lacing she got the slender wasp waste looks that she is famous for.
Next to exercise and horse riding her new passion became travelling. She felt she was not needed at court anyway and often left the country for months on end.
After the birth of Crown prince Rudolf she refused her husband in her bedroom most of the time and distanced herself even more from her husband children and court life.