After her murder, taking Sisi back to Vienna

September 13, 2020 9:07 pm Published by

  Three days after the shocking murder of Empress Elisabeth in Geneva on 10 December 1898, a special train arrived from Vienna to take Sisi’s body back for burial.   Reuter’s news agency reported the sad events in considerable detail for the world’s media.   The train had taken 32 hours to travel from Vienna but had arrived early, despite stopping at Lausanne for three hours.   It consisted of the funeral carriage which was draped in black and arranged in great simplicity, plus a sleeping car, two saloons for the high officials and one other carriage. 

  Emperor Franz Joseph had asked four Court officials to accompany Sisi’s body back to Vienna.  They were:  Count Franz von Abensperg-Traun, his Majesty’s Chief Chamberlain; Count von Bellegarde, Marshal of the late Empress’s Household; Countess von Harrach, the late empress’s Mistress of the Robes; and Countess Festetics, her Majesty’s Chief Lady in Waiting.    They were met by high Austrian officials in Switzerland and then drove in five carriages to the Hotel Beau Rivage.

  Sisi’s coffin was still open and there were many tears shed before a priest said prayers and the coffin was finally sealed at 11 in the morning.  At four in the afternoon the Bishop of Fribourg, accompanied by other senior clerics, arrived on foot at the hotel.  They donned their vestments and ascended the grand staircase to the coffin where they blessed Sisi’s remains, in the presence of the Austrian high officials.

The members of the federal council assembled at the Hotel de Bergues and then walked 350 metres along the lakeside to the Beau Rivage.  They expressed their deepest sympathy to the Austrian Court officials and asked them to convey their grief and sympathy to Franz Joseph.  

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