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Running to a strict schedule, the emperor’s daily routine began at four o’clock in the morning. After rising and performing his ablutions in cold water the emperor, who was a strict Catholic, said his morning prayers kneeling on the praying stool which you can see to the left of the bed. The iron bedstead is further evidence of the emperor’s rather Spartan lifestyle. Franz Joseph died in this bed at the age of 86 in 1916, after a reign of 68 years, amidst the turmoil of the First World War. The painting on the easel shows the emperor on his deathbed. During the course of his long life, the emperor had suffered numerous blows of fate: his eldest daughter, Sophie, died at the age of two, and his brother Maximilian, emperor of Mexico, was executed by revolutionaries. This was followed by the tragic suicide of his only son, Rudolf, and the assassination of Empress Elisabeth by an Italian anarchist. At the exit to this room, on the left-hand side after the door, is the emperor’s lavatory. It was installed “on the English system” for Franz Joseph in 1899. The next three rooms belonged to the suite occupied by Empress Elisabeth. The Stairs Cabinet was used by Empress Elisabeth as her study, where she kept up her extensive correspondence and wrote her diaries and her poetry. From here a spiral staircase, which was removed after the fall of the monarchy, led down to the empress’s private apartments on the ground floor. The Dressing Room is devoted to the beauty regime of the empress. Elisabeth was considered to be one of the most beautiful women of her time, and was well aware of this. Her beauty regime and sporting activities to preserve her slender figure dominated the empress’s daily routine, with the care of her magnificent ankle-length hair occupying several hours a day. Please go through this room and enter Room 9, the Bedroom of Franz Joseph and Elisabeth.
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