In 1898, Geneva becomes the last stage in the life of the restless Empress Sisi. On September 9, she boards a paddle steamer in Montreux and travels across the lake to visit Baroness Rothschild. Sisi spends the night in Hotel Beau Rivage. In the early afternoon of the next day, she and her Hungarian lady-in-waiting, Countess Irma Sztáray, depart in order to reach the liner “Genève” (which can still be seen in Geneva) for their return to Montreux. Directly in front of the ship, the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni stabs the empress with a sharpened file. Sisi is still able to board, but not until after the ship has cast off is the seriousness of her injury recognized.
The liner returns to the jetty. After a one-hour struggle for her life, the Austrian empress dies in her suite in Hotel Beau Rivage at 2:40 p.m.at age 61. Halfway between Pont du Mont-Blanc (the Mont-Blanc Bridge) and the crossing to Rue des Alpes, a small bronze plaque on the railing of the lakefront and a statue of Sisi in Rotonde du Mont-Blanc both serve as reminders of her assassination. In the former suite of the empress in Hotel Beau Rivage, some of Elisabeth’s personal items and reminders of her day of death, including a silk ribbon stained with blood, have been saved. In the Basilica of our Lady of Geneva a colorful church window with an inscription and date commemorates Sisi’s death with compassion: The portrayed saint Elisabeth displays the features of the Empress of Austria.
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