A mutual sympathy formed between Count Gyula Andrássy and Empress Elisabeth of Austria and Queen of Hungary after their first encounter. This happened on 8 January 1866, previously advised by Ferenc Deák, a small parliamentary delegation was sent to Vienna to greet the Queen.
The Queen was known to put a great emphasis on perfect appearance, not only on her personal level, but she expected it from others as well (we could say that she liked to be surrounded by nice-looking people). Because Andrássy was a handsome and charming man, maybe it was his looks that formed their mutual sympathy, not only his charismatic personality. In addition, their common interest in having a compromise between the Empire and Hungary also helped strengthening their friendship.
Elisabeth was known to love Hungarian people. She didn’t feel cozy in the royal court. She would rather have spent time at the Castle of Gödöllő, given to her as a coronation gift.
They corresponded with each other, and the letters were delivered by Elizabeth’s handmaid, Idán Ferenczy. Andrássy signed these letters as: “your faithful friend”. Rumours about the true nature of their relationship quickly spread, and the gossip suggested that Her Majesty’s youngest child, Marie Valerie, was from Andrássy. Because of the strict court etiquette, their relationship could not become deeper than platonic love, even if they had had any feelings whatsoever. Allegedly, the only time they were left alone was in 1872, but merely for a couple of minutes.
When Gyula Andrássy died, Marie Valerie wrote in her diary that her mother mourned her only true friend.