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The Empress- Episode 3 Recap

Scene from The Empress Episode 3

Elisabeth struggled with the many customs of royalty, but is now headed for her wedding.

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 3 Summary & Recap

Wedding morning

At the church, Emperor Franz and Elisabeth officially got married. When the whole wedding ceremony was over, the people wanted to get a glimpse of the new empress to the extent that guards had to hold them back. Franz’s mother, Sophie was happy that the people love the new empress. 

Things went sour during the wedding event at the palace when Maximillian invited Countess Louise Gundemann, the emperor’s previous secret lover. Countess Gundemann kept her eyes locked on Elisabeth that Elisabeth realized her presence. When she asked the emperor about it, Franz replied that he did not know her. 

Soon, news broke that Russian troops had entered the Habsburg border and Franz was immediately dragged into a meeting with his key advisors. Franz stayed loyal to his stance of not entering war and at the end of the meeting, he privately told his brother, Maximillian off for inviting Countess Gundemann. Angry, Franz told his brother that is was a mistake bringing him back to Austria and this hurt Maximillian’s feelings. When Maximillian later spotted the France ambassador at the event, he backstabbed his brother by telling the ambassador that Franz does not plan to enter the war because he wanted Habsburg to prosper after the French, British and the Russians tear each other apart.

Scene from The Empress
Elisabeth "Sisi" noticed the emperor's ex-lover looking at her. Photo: Netflix

Secrets unfolding

During all the politicking, Elisabeth requested that Helene remains with her at the castle, much to Countess Esterhazy’s disapproval. Then when Elisabeth asked her ladies-in-waiting about Countess Gundemann who kept staring at her, one of the ladies revealed that the emperor used to have a relationship with the countess. This made Elisabeth uncomfortable and things went even south when Countess Gundemann approached the new empress. The countess claimed that her role is to provide “entertainment” and then, Elisabeth put her foot down and reminded the countess that whatever happened in the past would stop now. 

Frustrated, Elisabeth wanted to see Franz, but Franz would not give her his time as he was busy persuading the banks to loan him money for the new railway. The deal ended up falling apart.

Meanwhile, Sophie heard of news that there were gatherings in some pubs spreading liberal propaganda. Sophie gave orders to arrest those involved but to pardon 50 of them by tomorrow as a wedding gift from the emperor. But Sophie was distraught when her ex-lover, the Prince of Vasa arrived for the wedding celebrations. They kissed in private and Sophie wanted to show the prince their son, but the Prince of Vasa asked her to run away with him instead. Unfortunately, Sophie could not leave the palace so the Prince of Vasa introduced himself to the emperor as a friend of Sophie’s.


Scene from The Empress Episode 3
Sina refused to invest in the railway. Photo: Netflix

Wedding night

Later that night, the son of the bank officers, Baron von Sina came back to talk to the emperor about the loan. He told Franz about his concerns of the royal family’s waste of money. Nevertheless, he would still help with the loan because he heard great things about Franz from a particular someone- Countess Gundemann. Franz is shocked about the countess’s involvement but had a different problem. His mother, Sophie overheard the conversation and this time, Franz openly told her that he plans on building a railway. Sophie disagreed but Franz had made his decision. Meanwhile, Elisabeth found her father drunk and sent him and her mother away.

In the hall, Franz struck a friendly conversation with Helene and this was seen by Elisabeth, who misinterpreted their friendly gestures. Sophie saw Elisabeth feeling uncomfortable and told Elisabeth that she could wed Helene off to one of the fine men in Bohemia, to which Elisabeth agreed. When Elisabeth later danced with Franz, she saw Sophie talking to Helene. Then, at night, when Franz and Elisabeth was supposed to consummate their marriage, Franz came clean and told Elisabeth that he actually knew Countess Gundemann. Elisabeth forgave him and Franz vowed not to desert Elisabeth again.

Helene left the palace with her family in tears that night. Franz and Elisabeth consummated their marriage the next morning.

Scene from The Empress Episode 3
Franz and Elisabeth reconciled. Photo: Netflix

Additional Observations From Episode 3

  • Maximillian started thinking of becoming Emperor
  • The hidden lady-in-waiting is disguised as someone called Leontine. Another lady-in-waiting seems to be suspicious of her demeanour.

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