Archduchess Sophia Frederica Dorothea Wilhelmina was Franz Josef’s mother and is widely portrayed as Sisi’s ‘wicked’ mother-in-law.
The daughter of Maximilian Josef of Bavaria and Princess Caroline of Baden, she married Archduke Franz Karl of Austria in 1824 and had four sons. She was described in the London Evening Standard’s obituary as possessing ‘both physical and mental qualities of an exceptionally superior order’. Her sister was Sisi’s mother.
Shaken by the 1848 uprisings Sophia played a major part in saving the Habsburg monarchy and persuaded her husband to forego the throne for Franz Josef. Famously described as ‘the only man in the Hofburg’ (palace) she rejected democracy and liberalism and believed in royal autocracy and the divine right of kings
Image Credits: Wikimedia.