Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Last night I finished reading Joan Haslip's book "The Lonely Empress," a biography of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. I have great respect for the author, because this book was obviously well-researched and she neither idolizes nor excoriates the Empress. We're given to see that Elizabeth was a complicated character who deserves pity but was no angel.

What really struck me about Elizabeth herself is how similar this woman, who lived from 1837-1898, was to Princess Diana. Both women's husbands had been slated to marry their older sisters. Both got married in their teens to a ruler/Crown Prince. Both were considered exceptionally beautiful and were generally idolized by their subjects. Both were anorexic. Both felt constrained by Court life and engaged in actions that were disapproved of by the royal family. Both had strained relationships with their mothers-in-law. Both became estranged from their husbands. And both died suddenly from unnatural causes.

Weird, but true.

Next up is either Marie Antoinette or Nellie Bly. I've got biographies of both on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. Who should be first?

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