Have I mentioned that Sisi was considered to be really, really beautiful? She was. Even people who kind of thought that Franz had not brought home the most suitable bride agreed that she was stunning. “How beautiful she is!” exclaimed the Shah of Persia when he first met her. King Albert of Belgium claimed that Sisi was “a beautiful creature” which is not quite a compliment. But! Beautiful. Everyone agreed on that.
So it’s completely reasonable that she slept upright in a metal bedstand wearing a leather mask stuffed with raw veal.
The veal was against her face, that is. It was not part of the mask. The mask was just there to ensure that a slab of raw meat was held in place. Why so Hannibal Lecter? Well, veal is… good for your skin? I feel like I am making this stuff up. I swear I’m not, though. And veal is actually not bad for your skin.
Still. Please take a moment to envision this. Envision wandering into the wrong room and finding this lady asleep, upright, strapped to a metal pole, wearing a leather mask. Now imagine noticing that the scent of raw veal is wafting through the room. I’d put odds of me running screaming from that ostensibly nightmarish castle at around 90%. The 10% is accounting for me somehow not having legs that functioned well because the 19th century was rough.
Really, all of Sisi’s beauty rituals were pretty amazing, and seem to stop just short of her bathing in a pool of virgin blood.
And they do sort of make sense. She went from being raised in a really bohemian home to going to a very strict court. (She was supposed to be weaving, remember.) While I’m apt to dismiss the movie trilogy explanation that all her problems were because her mother-in-law was so mean – she was very domineering. I mean, her mother-in-law picked out all her children’s names for her. Her looks were probably one of the only aspects of her life that she had complete control over.
She once claimed:
“Ah, the horror of growing old, to feel the hand of Time laid upon one’s body, to watch the skin wrinkling, to awake and fear the morning light, and to know that one is no longer desirable! Life without beauty would be worthless to me.”
Again, it’s not surprising that she got really controlling. Her hair, for instance.