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Franz Joseph ascended the Austrian imperial throne when he was only eighteen. He dealt with a phenomenal amount of work each day: starting before five o’clock in the morning, he spent the day at his desk, which you can see here on the right, where he worked diligently through the files put in front of him. He even had his breakfast and lunch served to him at his desk. This was how the first public servant of his state, as he liked to describe himself, spent most of his time. The emperor was uninterested in having his rooms done up in sumptuous style. He was content to surround himself with private paintings, photographs of his family and keepsakes given to him by his children and grandchildren. One of the two large portraits shows Franz Joseph at the age of 33, while the other depicts his wife, Empress Elisabeth, who was called Sisi in the family, a name that has come to encapsulate the enduring myth of this tragic empress.
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