The Empress

1 season

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A riveting look into the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria as she navigates court politics, love, and becoming a woman her nation is proud of!


The Empress is a German show based on the true story of Elisabeth von Wittlesbach, a young and headstrong Bavarian duchess living in 19th-century Europe. While Elisabeth is modern and outspoken, her sister Helene is the epitome of a docile and demure lady. For years, their family prepared Helene for an advantageous marriage match to Franz, the future Emperor of Austria. However, when Elisabeth’s family travels to the Hapsburg court in hopes of solidifying the marriage, plans soon go awry.  

Although everyone expects Franz to choose Helene as his bride, he forms a deep connection with Elisabeth and the two ultimately fall in love. When the pair announce their shocking engagement, Elisabeth is thrust into the role of Empress of Austria, a responsibility she only takes on because of her love for Franz, even though she’s not prepared for the role. With a judgmental mother-in-law, treacherous court politics, and a nation teeming with unrest, Elisabeth must work to become more than Franz’s bride…she must become the empress.

Nina's thoughts

I am a period-drama fanatic, so when I saw that Netflix was going to release this German drama, I was counting the days to its premiere. Did it live up to my expectations? Yes, 1,000%! Over the course of six episodes, you’ll experience the FULL range of emotions. I’m serious—I went from laughing to swooning to being on the edge of my seat in the span of a few hours. While the romance between Elisabeth and Franz plays a central role in the series, I love how they also introduce a stellar cast of secondary characters (and their own independent stories) to add elements of suspense, intrigue, and drama to the story.  

I personally love how this series humanizes Elisabeth. The show doesn’t shy away from showing her flaws or missteps, but also always highlights her moments of strength and resilience. Over the course of the story, I had a front-row seat to Elisabeth's transformation from a naive and impulsive girl to a political powerhouse! If you love shows with strong female characters and are on the hunt for a new period drama, this is the show for you.

Find The Empress on Netflix!