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Netflix’s The Empress is a Surprisingly Beguiling Historical Romance

By Lori Perkins

I have a good friend with whom I watch all the historical romances, and women-centered historicals, on TV, and we are eagerly awaiting Bridgerton, Season 3. While we do so, she said, “Hey, let’s watch The Empress,” a German series that I had heard absolutely nothing about. So we turned it on sight unseen.

I had low expectations, even though I honestly loved the French historical Bonfire of Destiny and the Italian legal feminist historical The Law According to Lydia Poet. The Empress is the based-upon-a-true-story of Empress Elisabeth who married Franz of the Hapsburg empire and shocked the then-current world by actually 1) being in love with her husband and 2) being a bit of a care-free, truthful royal. As with all royal dramas, there is intrigue amongst mothers-in-law, the “spare,” and the “help.”

As Americans we have so little perspective on how these royals fit into the history that finally brought us into world events. Emperor Franz’s nephew was the archduke who kicked off WWI. His brother, Maximillian, the wanna-be-emperor and “spare” in this tale, ended up being Napoleon’s Emperor of Mexico.

And, as with all these delicious European TV productions, the costumes and settings are delicious.

So curl up with a crisp Reisling and indulge before Brigerton hits your TV on May 4!


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