Princess Elisabeth Marie of Bavaria
Countess of Seefried and Buttenheim
On the 20th of April 1873, the daughter of Franz Joseph and Sisi, Archduchess Gisela, married prince Leopold of Bavaria.
A year later the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter, Elisabeth Marie Auguste of Wittelsbach, princess of Bavaria.
When Gisela was pregnant of her first daughter, her mother, Empress Elisabeth was delighted and promised to give all the baby equipment that she needed as a gift.
The birth was difficult and took hours but then the princess was born in Munich on the 8th of January 1874.
Empress Elisabeth appeared only at the baptism of Gisela's first daughter in a Lila dress. She was the godmother and the little princess is named after her.
She grew up in Munich in the Leopold palace with a younger sister and 2 younger brothers.
There was a plan of a bouble marriage of Elisabeth and her sister Auguste, Buth princess Elisabeth had suddenly dissappeared.
She fell in love with Otto Ludwig Philipp von Seefried auf Buttenheim, Baron zu Hagenbach. But that brought alot of difficulties and in the eyes of the Wittelsbach family was a Scandal.
Otto was of a lower rank but also protetstant. Elisabeths father and especially her grandfather, Leopold prince regent of Bavaria, were against the marriage.
Elisabeth and Otto eloped and married in secret on the 2nd of November 1893 in Genoa, Italy.
Her mother Gisela, tracked them down and from Milan, Italy, she informed her father Emperor Franz-Joseph.
Their love was so strong and they longed so much for eachtother that it even went so far that they thought of dual suicide. It is stated in a letter to his new parents-in-law. Otto wrote that he and Elisabeth were so determined not to be apart that they felt forced to choose between elopemend and mutual suicide.
In a Letter Emperor Franz-Joseph wrote to his wife Sisi on the 5th of December 1893:
" I was crushed, more so because I had no idea of Elisabeth's love. I am very sad and ashamed. I always think of poor Gisela, who is such a good and caring mother.. In my pain I found that Elisabeht's choice had character and courage that would be worthy of such an cause. "
Elisabeth and her father grew apart because of this, which took years for this relationship to recover, with help from her mother Gisela and her grandfather emperor Franz-Joseph.
Her mother Gisela and grandfather emperor Franz-Josph, gave the couple their blessing after the marriage was announced. Franz Joseph even presented them with a palace near Vienna and he also appointed Otto a lieutenant of the 1st Regiment of Infantry at Troppau and raised him to the rank of Count in 1904. At the time of the elopement, Franz Joseph had written to his wife that while he was not happy about the marriage, he felt that Elisabeth had shown courage and strength of character.