Lindsay Offer grew up on tales of life in Habsburg Vienna as her father grew up in pre-war Vienna. Her grandmother was the god daughter of Sisi’s daughter-in-law Crown Princess Stephanie of Belgium and Lindsay’s great grandfather worked as an engineer on the Austro-Hungarian Railways that brought him into direct contact with Emperor Franz Josef.
Lindsay studied history at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and came to Britain more than 40 years ago.
Richard Offer graduated in history and sociology from Keele University and worked in public relations. Since retiring Lindsay and Richard have caught up on their history through organisations such as the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.
ABOUT OUR RESEARCH
Our research relied primarily on original documents, first-hand reports and visits in England and Ireland. Memoirs were used but in some cases, such as Sisi’s niece Marie Larisch, treated with extreme caution. When secondary sources were used, every effort was made to check the claims made.
Sisi’s visits were well documented by the newspapers of the day. Papers such as Freeman’s Journal in Dublin sent special correspondents out hunting with the empress while the Illustrated London News gave us pictures such as Sisi hunting in Meath and using the library at Combermere Abbey. Original sources include Queen Victoria’s diary and letters to her daughter Vicky that reveal the royal attitude to Sisi and Crown Prince Rudolf.
Pictures © L. and R. Offer