Napoleon Bonaparte’s relatives after he lost power in France



What happened to Napoleon Bonaparte‘s relatives after he lost power in France? They could not stay in France but, perhaps surprisingly, they came to little harm – with the exception of Napoleon’s brother-in-law, Joachim-Napoléon Murat. Murat fled to Corsica after Napoleon’s fall. He was executed in Naples sin 1815. Famously, his last words were: “Soldiers! Do your duty! Straight to the heart but spare the face. Fire!”

Portrait of the Family of Lucien Bonaparte by Ingres, 1815

Portrait of the Family of Lucien Bonaparte by Ingres, 1815

Napoléon’s mother, Letizia Ramolino, retired in Rome, where she died in 1836. His four brothers all survived long into the 19th century. Louis (the former king of Holland) lived in Austria and Switzerland before dying in Livorno in 1846. Joseph (king of Spain) left for the US in 1815, settling briefly in Philadelphia. He, too, died in Italy, in 1844. Jérôme, the former king of Westphalia, spent a period in exile in Württemberg before returning to France in 1847, where he became president of the Senate under the Second Empire. He died in Paris in 1860, aged 75. Lucien, who was behind Napoleon’s election as First Consul in 1799, moved to Italy, where he died in 1840.

Letizia Ramolino and Joachim Murat

Letizia Ramolino and Joachim Murat

Napoléon’s son Napoléon Francis Joseph Charles (Napoléon II) was less lucky. Given the title of Duke of Reichstadt in 1818, he moved to Austria, where he died of tuberculosis in 1832, aged 21. Louis’ son, Louis Napoléon, fared better. After dabbling in the social movement Saint-Simonianism, he returned to France in 1848 to become president of the new Second Republic. He overturned the republic in a coup d’état that saw him crowned emperor Napoléon III under the Second Empire.

Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon II and Prince Napoleon

Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon II and Prince Napoleon

Prince Napoléon was the second son of Jérôme Bonaparte, king of Westphalia, by his wife Princess Catherine of Württemberg. He soon rendered himself popular by playing on his family ties to Napoléon I. After the French revolution of 1848 he was elected to the National Assembly of France as a representative of Corsica.

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