Empress Sissi – running away from herself ++ Crown Prince Rudolf

Royal devotees are due a binge-feste next month with The Empress, a six- parter about Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi), a hyper-active and unconventional 19th Century monarch with a stressed family life. Married at 16 to Emperor Franz Josef I who was passionately in love with her, she rebelled against his dullness and restrictive court life, lost her three children to the care of her bullying mother-in-law and took to travelling widely and obsessing about her looks. Her only son Rudolf died in a murder suicide with his mistress when he was 30, and she was ultimately assassinated when she was 61 by an Italian anarchist.

  Her family lineage included the eccentric King Ludwig 11 of Bavaria, her cousin, and she was interested in the treatment of the mentally ill. She evidently slept very little and spent hours reading and writing at night, with a special interest in history, philosophy, and literature. She wrote poetry, referring to herself as Titania, Shakespeare’s Fairy Queen Her wanderlust is defined by her own work:

O’er thee, like thine own sea birds

  I’ll circle without rest

For me earth holds no corner

  To build a lasting nest.

  She was born 24 December 1837 10.43pm Munich, Germany, giving her a 4th house Capricorn Sun; with a frustrated, desperate, over-controlled Mars Mercury in Capricorn square Pluto on the cusp of her 8th. She’d wander to get away from the ties that bound but find they always came with her. She had Jupiter on her Ascendant and would come across as confident and high-spirited; though her Scorpio Sun conjunct Saturn square Venus hinted at an empty emotional life. She had Neptune in her 5th house of children, throwing a veil of confusion over her relationships with her offspring.

 Her mother-in-law Sophie, Princess of Bavaria, 27 January 1805 8.45pm Munich, Germany, had an Aquarius Sun in her 5th house of children opposition Mars in bombastic Leo on the focal point of a Yod to Pluto sextile Venus Moon in Capricorn making her aggressive, self-willed, over-forceful.  That megaton Mars opposed Elisabeth’s 5th house Neptune so no surprises that children became a battleground. Sophie’s autocratic Saturn Uranus in Libra were also square Elisabeth’s Mars Mercury as well which wouldn’t help either.

  Emperor Franz Josef 1, 18 August 1839 9.23 am Vienna, was a damped-down Sun, Moon, Saturn in Leo under the thumb of his strong-minded mother, with an intensely frustrated Mars Pluto in Aries square Jupiter in Capricorn. He had a strained Mercury on the focal point of a Yod to Mars Pluto sextile Uranus making him a scattered thinker and not well organised He had an exceptionally long reign though one marred by tragedy as his brother Emperor Maximilian of Mexico was executed, his son suicided, his wife was assassinated and his nephew and heir presumptive Archduke Franz Ferdinand was also assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914 precipitating WW11. He died in 1916.   

  His Sun Moon Saturn in Leo were not a good fit with Elisabeth’s Moon Saturn in Scorpio but he evidently adored her to the end despite their disparate marriage.

  When she was killed on 10 September 1898 tr Pluto was exactly conjunct her Midheaven.

Little girls may dream of marrying their prince but wish not for a monarch’s life, especially in those days.

Add On: Her son, Crown Prince Rudolf, 21 August 1858 10.15pm, Luxembourg, was a Sun Leo like his father with his Sun on the focal point of a Yod to Neptune sextile a Capricorn Moon, giving him an unstable sense of identity, veering between lack of self-worth and arrogance. His Moon also opposed Saturn with Saturn square Pluto – so a bleak emotional life. Though his father was more of a problem to him than his mother.

  His Neptune in the 11th opposition Mercury square Jupiter in Gemini would make him spaced out, a wanderer, unrealistic, unsure of his future direction, irresponsible, probably amiable but not well-designed to carry the weight of his position. Most significantly he had an overly-excitable, freedom-loving and rebellious Uranus on his Ascendant opposition Mars on his Descendant square a Pisces North Node. It was under heavy, clearly unbearable, pressure when he suicided from tr Pluto in Gemini opposition his Mars exactly in 1889.

 His father’s enraged Mars Pluto in Aries was trine his Mars and his Saturn which would lead to punishing routines in childhood and a reservoir of buried anger – and tr Pluto may well have triggered his intense rage and hostility, turning it against himself, as his greatest act of vengeance against his father.

   Tr Neptune was in the final degree of Taurus in 1889 about to join Pluto in Gemini so the stress on his volatile Mars Uranus would not have let up.  His death connects directly into the outbreak of WW1 and the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire twenty five years later as Pluto moved on a sign into Cancer. Fate moves in mysterious way.

10 thoughts on “Empress Sissi – running away from herself ++ Crown Prince Rudolf

  1. “While Elizabeth was away galavanting, the boy’s father subjected him to the most intense militaristic schooling, including barging into his son’s bedroom late at night to fire a live pistol.” When Elisabeth heard of this, she was really angry and demanded he gets a new teacher and Rudolf was always thankful for that. But it is sad that Elisabeth never cared much again after this, even though he was the most needy of her children.

  2. Thank you for the add-on, Marjorie. Indeed Rudolf’s astrology is difficult with all four angles afflicted, his parental axis heavily burdened with his Moon/Saturn and his ascendant/descendant with that volatile Mars/Uranus.

    I notice he has a yod on Pluto if you allow for an orb of 3 degrees, with Venus sextile Mars at the base. This makes sense to me because in many respects he had a pattern of seeking out death/love fantasies in his relationships. He fell in love for example with a young Jewish girl and he only learned of her infatuation with him after she died, but of course this love was completely illusory. He was in love with a fantasy. He was also obsessed with suicide (at the time, Vienna was the suicide capital of the world) and was haunted by the death of his mother’s relative, Ludwig of Bavaria who drowned himself.

    When Rudolf met Mary Vetsara he found a fellow thanatophile, since she too was drawn to fame by death. There was no way the relationship was going to have a happy ending, since Rudolf was married. However, they could die together and live in eternal happiness. This way their names would be entwined forever.

  3. Thank you, Marjorie. By all accounts her childhood was happy, she was raised in the countryside with a good deal of freedom, so court life must have felt for her at just 16 restricted and oppressively formal. Her hardcore and lengthy beauty regime as well as her fad diets and restricted eating (she was a fan of tight lacing to achieve a 19 inch waist) were notorious so not surprised to see that rather gruelling Moon/Saturn in Scorpio and a square from her Capricorn Mars to Pluto in Aries — she could be cruel as she was to poor Princess Stephanie of Belgium, the wife of Crown Prince Rudolf, because she considered the girl ‘plain’.

    Her residences were fitted out with exercise bars and other gymnasium equipment so that she could maintain her firm, wasp figure, but she was also an accomplished horsewoman (Jupiter in the 1st, like Queen Elizabeth II) and trained at the Vienna Spanish Riding School. She travelled to Great Britain to take part in hunting and other equestrian pursuits with British equestrian George “Bay” Middleton as a companion – a distant ancestor of the current Duchess of Cambridge.

    As described in that rather cold Moon/Saturn in square to Venus in Aquarius she had what Noel Tyl calls the ‘poisoned apple’ challenging Moon/Venus aspect (which btw, I’ve seen in charts of women who have both eating disorders and fear of ageing) and refused to be photographed after the age of 30. Incidentally, Kim Kardashian has a widish Moon opposition Saturn and Venus and Sissi’s relentless and unhealthy obsession with her looks somewhat reminds me of her. What a miserable relationship Sissi had with her body, for all her good looks.

    There’s no doubt that the treatment of Elisabeth and Franz Josef’s son, the ill-fated Crown Prince Rudolf (who inherits that difficult Moon/Saturn from his mother – he has the opposition) brought about his mental instability. While Elizabeth was away galavanting, the boy’s father subjected him to the most intense militaristic schooling, including barging into his son’s bedroom late at night to fire a live pistol. The trauma imprinted itself on the boy and he was left a tormented nervous wreck. His suicide at Mayerling was perhaps inevitable given his bizarre upbringing.

    There’s something so intriguingly fated about the European as well as Russian crowned heads at this moment in history, that is the 19th century and lead up to the Great War.

    I’m under no illusions that the Netflix production won’t be ‘The Crown’ in a crinoline, but I’ll watch all the same!

    • “under no illusions” … have you seen The Illusionist? 2006 film.

      I was reminded of this great film as it tells the story of an Austro-Hungarian magician and a jealous prince. Turns out it depicts a fictionalised version of the Mayerling murder-suicide apparently.

  4. I wonder if she didn’t suffer from ADHD. I am sure she was stunning when she was 16 but ‘looks’ – being determined by DNA – are something we have little control over, particularly as we get older and if your status or role is derived from that then your sense of self will be based on shifting sand. A recipe for misery. Had she lived 100 years later she might have become a Hollywood icon. With that 5th house Neptune she was born to be an actress and like other divas of that later age put her career before her children.

  5. I read a biography of Sissi and she came across as anorexic, self absorbed, self indulgent, and neglectful of her children, with the exception of her youngest daughter, who ironically preferred her father. All in all an unpleasant woman who was trapped in a suffocating life. Undoubtedly we will be presented with a very different scenario in the miniseries.

    • I read Sissi’s biography a few years ago and I remember feeling a deep dislike for her, just incredibly selfish and self-absorbed. I actually found her modern, this indulgent focus on the self.

      • It’s the manner in which she treated Princess Stephanie which betrays her. Having experienced a domineering Mother-in-law herself, Elisabeth became just that when her son became betrothed to the Belgian Princess. The poor girl, a mere teenager was bullied for her appearance as Sissi continually belittled her – she unleashed her own poisoned apple energy upon her daughter-in-law.

  6. Speaking of a battleground over children…..mother-in-law, is ruled by the 10th House
    which is the 4th House from the 7th (mother of her spouse). The 10th has Chiron
    there, so mom-in-law was a pain in her arse for her. The 10th, mother-in-law,
    disposes/rules Mercury, significator for children, on the cusp of the 5th, of children.
    Mercury receives aspects from Saturn and Pluto, 8th, shared resources, so mom in law
    wasn’t keen on sharing responsibilities.
    Sissi was assassinated on Sept 10, 1898, in Geneva, Italy. Transiting Pluto was
    exactly on her MH at that time.
    When she was born the Fixed Star Zosma, victim, victimization, sat near her Asc.

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