the mothers-in-law

With all the buzz about the new TV program Monster-in-Laws, it seems that less-than-charming mothers-in-law are once again in the public eye. I am quite sure that if I were alive today I would be glued to that particular reality television show, nodding in agreement when the Relationship Expert intervenes, wagging her finger at a meddlesome crone, and letting her have it.

It’s no secret that my own mother-in-law, the Archduchess Sophie, was a difficult woman. She disapproved of my exercising, my love of animals, my need for the occasional rest cure, and, of course, she was most affronted by her son’s complete obsession with me.

My monster-in-law in younger days

Never mind that she took complete possession of my children from the moment of their births–installing their very cradles in her apartments. Indeed, she turned my little ones against me, caused friction between the Emperor and myself, which all but drove him into the beds of countless tarts, thereby causing the eventual venereal diseases that necessitated the aforementioned rest cures.

But, having a son myself, I suppose I understand a mother’s love. Sometimes a woman forgets her boy is no longer a babe in short pants who needs to be reminded to wash his hands before supper. I certainly made mistakes with my own Rudolf, and if you asked that mousy woman who married him, she probably would not admit to collecting any Sisi Souvenirs.