In the first episode, Emperor Franz fell in love with Duchess Elisabeth from Bavaria although he was initially betrothed to the duchess’s sister, Helene. The two announced their engagement.
The Empress (2022) or Die Kaiserin is a Netflix limited series about the Empress Elisabeth “Sisi” of Austria. There are 6 episodes in this series where Devrim Lingnau plays the role of Elisabeth and Philip Fraoissant plays the role as Emperor Franz Joseph.
Streaming on Netflix
The Empress - Episode 2 Summary & Recap
Elisabeth and her family arrived at the Schönbrunn Palace to prepare for the wedding. Unaware of the customs, Elisabeth tried to kiss the emperor when he first came to greet her, much to the royals’ chagrin. Then, Elisabeth was introduced to the Chief Court Mistress, Countess Esterhazy and her ladies-in-waiting. Among her many ladies-in-waiting was the a woman who was planning something against the palace in the end of Episode 1.
Meanwhile, Emperor Franz had a meeting with his council regarding the war between Russia and the West. Most of the emperor’s advisors including his brother, Maximillian and his mother, Princess Sophie, advised that the emperor takes sides in this war, either on the side of the Russians or the West. Only an advisor named Von Bach was against entering the war due to insufficient funds. At the end of the meeting, Emperor Franz decided to not enter the war. He and Von Bach had plans to use the money to build railroads for the people. Franz also broke up with the lady he was sleeping with, which is a countess. The countess did not take the rejection kindly.
In the palace, Elisabeth was struggling with the many intricacies of court, such as not using first names and having her corset too tight. Frustrated, she decided to take a walk in the garden where her ladies-in-waiting accompanied her. During the garden visit, Elisabeth bumped into Maximillian who asked her to be on his side for her own safety. Nevertheless, Elisabeth was quick to refuse his offer.
During the evening, Elisabeth met Franz for a waltz practice but the two ended up making out in the room next door. Countess Esterhazy caught them and asked that the duchess leave for other preparations.
The hidden lady-in-waiting who was planning something overheard that some of the ladies-in-waiting will be cut off as the empress will usually need six of them and not ten, like they have now. Therefore, she was keen to gain Elisabeth’s favour. However, she thinks that Elisabeth is scum like the rest of the royals. When Elisabeth had to undergo a “chastity check”, she held Elisabeth’s hand.
During the pre-wedding ceremony, Elisabeth once again came face-to-face with the man who conducted the chastity check on her. This time, she clapped back in front of everyone by claiming that the process seemed like an excuse for me to look up her skirt. The air grew tense and so, Princess Sophie and Emperor Franz asked that Elisabeth go back to rest.
That very night, Elisabeth found out that Maximillian was holding a soiree. Although she was not supposed to go out the night before her wedding, Elisabeth attended the event anyway. There, she got drunk and briefly bonded with Maximillian. But things went south when Maximillian claimed that he is more suitable for Elisabeth and attempted to kiss her. Elisabeth was distraught and reminded Maximillian that she loves his brother.
Then the morning of the wedding came. Elisabeth reeked of champagne and hit under the curtains from Countess Esterhazy. It was Helene who found her and requested they be left alone. Since Elisabeth was engaged, Helene had chopped off her hair and acted cold towards Elisabeth. But on that morning, the two sisters patched up.
The episode ended with Elisabeth in her bridal dress heading to her wedding location in a glass carriage and her future Austrian subjects ran, greeted and tried to get her attention.
Additional Observations From Episode 2
- Maximillian slept with two of Lieutenant Krall’s daughters, Agnes and Emilie. Agnes died in childbirth while Emilie tried committing suicide. Emperor Franz gave the lieutenant lifetime pension and nobility status as a penance but warned his brother against humiliating the family.
- Princess Sophie and her husband, Archduke Karl appeared distant. She invited the Prince of Vasa to the royal wedding after not seeing him for 13 years. Sophie and the Prince of Vasa used to have an affair and the Prince of Vasa believes that Emperor Franz is his son.
- Elisabeth found a straw doll on the palace floor. The hidden lady-in-waiting claimed that people burn those dolls as a symbol of mortality.