Princess Elizabeth of Bavaria was only 16 when her cousin Francis Joseph came to visit her eldest sister with a view to arranging a marriage. The 23 year old Austrian Emperor fell in love with the fine featured, long limbed, dark haired beauty Elizabeth instead, married her and loved her until her death in 1898 when she was assassinated by the Italian anarchist Luccheni. Elizabeth, though, was a 'modern' woman at a time when that notion was unheard of. Her love for sport, gymnastics, dangerous riding, sailing, poetry and all things Greek were not catered for by Habsburg family life. Her fairy tale romance went disastrously wrong quite rapidly and she fled from her husband and their four children and the confines of her duties as an Empress. For 35 years she went from one spa to the next; suffered the loss of her son Rudolph (who was found dead at Mayerling next to the body of his mistress) and suffered bouts of ill health. But her restless search for freedom became as legendary as her beauty. In this celebrated biography, Joan Haslip provides the answer to the enigma of Elizabeth's flight from reality.
Joan Haslip was educated in London and Florence. From 1940-44 she worked for the Italian section of the BBC. She travelled extensively throughout her lifetime, lecturing throughout the world.