Born Marie Wallersee, Elisabeth’s niece was the illegitimate daughter of Munich actress Henriette Mendel and Sisi’s brother Ludwig. Marie, who was a good rider, was taken under her aunt’s wing and became her constant companion. Afraid that Marie was flirting with Rudolf, Elisabeth married her off to Georg Larisch ‘the best-natured fool in the army’. After Rudolf committed suicide it was revealed that Marie had aided Mary Vetsera’s affair with the Crown Prince. She was banished from Court for life.
Her marriage broke up and Marie went to Bavaria but her second husband – a successful singer – was shunned for marrying her. Marie tried to defend herself over the Mayerling suicide in My Past 1913 and later wrote the unreliable biography Her Majesty Elisabeth about Empress Sisi.. After her third marriage in Florida failed, Marie returned to Germany in 1929 and died in poverty at the start of the Second World War.