I’m such a Sisi

there's that apfel-cheeked karlheinz boehm crowning "me" empress

No, not “Sissi,” though the films about me starring Romy Schneider (that sad, sad gorgeous harlot–I mean, starlet), would beg to differ. We have Ernst Marischka, the film’s director, to thank for the blunder, but it’s an honest mistake, because Sissi is often the nickname for Elisabeth in Austria.

Here’s the real story on my various names. I was born Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie Wittelsbach.  My Papa called me Lisi, but everyone else in my family bellowed Sisi! when I misbehaved.  I was never one for sitting about with my lessons, so shortcuts-are-me, even if that meant eliminating an extra letter.  And, frankly, Sisi looks better on paper than Sissi.  Tougher, leaner.

In our day, we had multiple names and titles, and partly this was to distinguish ourselves from the many other people in our family with the same given name. For instance, my mother’s real name was Marie, but shortly after birth her parents started calling her by her middle name, Ludovika, and promptly named a younger sister Maria.  My little sister was also named Marie, so it would have been quite confusing to have so many Maries running around, yes?  Of course we kinder all called our mother, the Princess of Bavaria, Mummi, and Papa called her, well, we shan’t go there.

Then there’s the whole Elizabeth versus Elisabeth conundrum.  We have the Americans to blame for that!  They often bastardize (bastardise?) good words by inserting the unwholesome “z” in place of the British “s” in –ise words, (e.g. organise/organize, recognise/recognize, realise/realize).  I propose that Microsoft adopt the Oxford spelling spellcheck as default in their next Windows upgrade, in order to right the wrongs done on behalf of the free Colonial world. But then again, I’m royalty, so of course I feel this way!

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