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The crowning feature of the place setting is the napkin arranged in the elaborate “Imperial Fold”, forming a hollow enclosing a small bread roll.

This was only allowed to be used at court dinners when the emperor was present, and its technique was a well-kept secret that was only handed down by word of mouth to selected individuals. Even today, it may only be used on the occasion of state visits by crowned heads and presidents, and only two people know – and carefully guard – the secret of the technique!

That Empress Elisabeth had her own typically personal taste in tableware can be seen in

the earthenware service she chose for her private dairy at Schönbrunn, as also in the set of silver cutlery with its dolphin motif for the Achilleion on Corfu and the two English services (Minton and Wedgwood) with unusual flower and animal motifs that she bought for Emperor Franz Joseph. When travelling on her yachts, Sisi made do with a plain silver-plated alpaca service, which was also decorated with a dolphin motif.

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