Sisi was born one Christmas Eve to the Duke and Duchess Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria in 1837. Maybe it helps to know a little about Duke Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria. He was an amateur zither player who once climbed the Great Pyramids. He forced a group of his servants to climb behind him, yodeling, so he could pretend he was climbing the Alps. He returned with three severed mummies’ heads and a group of children he bought at the Cairo slave market.
I cannot tell you whether or not luge lessons figured into anyone’s upbringing, but:
The court considered him “an eccentric.”
So, that was Sisi’s dad. She had a childhood just surrounded by Egyptian slave children, presumably playing kickball with the heads of mummies.
She was incredibly close to her father, who once told her, ”If you and I, Sisi, had not been princely born, we could have performed in a circus.” They did periodically play the zither together outside of beer gardens incognito to collect tips.
There is a phrase I have always wanted to use and will never, ever get to. It’s used in the Tudors. When Catherine Howard is asked to describe her upbringing, she replies “we ran a little wild”. I’ll never get to use that phrase, because, Jesus Christ, I sat on a tennis court and ate peanut butter and banana sandwiches for 18 straight years (it’s what WASPs teethe on). But Sisi could have used that phrase, if she’d been born 170 years later and been a Tudors fan.
This is perhaps overlapping too many historical periods.
All I mean is: Sisi ran a little wild growing up.