Friday, June 22, 2012


Trivia: Jean Baptiste Bernadotte is said to have had a tatoo on his body where one could read:"Mort aux rois", that is to say: "Death to the kings".

Jean Baptiste Bernadotte was the last monarch elected to the throne.

Although some may have died in infancy, how many siblings did Napoleon have?
12. Napoleon's parents Letizia and Carlo had 13 children, however only 8 survived infancy. The survivors were Joseph (nee Guiseppe); Napoleon (nee Napoleone) Lucien (nee Lucciano); Eliza (nee Maria-Anna); Louis (nee Luigi); Pauline (nee Maria-Paola); Caroline (nee Maria-Annunziata); and Jerome (nee Girolamo).

Joseph, the oldest son, was originally destined for what occupation or profession by his father?the Church. When Carlo was offered the chance for a free education for his two eldest children, he felt that the mild mannered Joseph should enter the Church and the more fiery tempered Napoleon should enter the army. After a few years, Joseph requested his father to have him transferred to the army. Carlo, after consulting Napoleon, brought him back to Corsica in order to study law.

One of Napoleon's brothers was unable to obtain a scholarship, so Napoleon educated his brother himself. Napoleon was with his regiment at Auxonne and shared an apartment with his brother. Which brother was this?Louis. Louis was brought to the mainland from Corsica after the death of his father. He was 12 years of age when he arrived in France and was financially supported there by Napoleon. Since Napoleon was a junior officer, funds were tight and Napoleon himself acted as his brother's instructor.

Which of his sisters most resembled Napoleon?Eliza. Unlike her sisters, Eliza was educated and demonstrated the same proud and independent nature as Napoleon. Her sisters considered her something of a prude. She was sent to the girl's school at St Cyr. Hortense was Josephine's daughter and Napoleon's step daughter. 

Napoleon while a young officer had a romantic attachment to a young girl named Desirée Clary. Later she became his sister-in-law when her sister Julie married one of his brothers. Which brother did she marry?Joseph. Julie was the daughter of a rich silk merchant in Marseilles. Her father was not impressed by Napoleon's prospects and frowned upon her relationship with Napoleon. ("One Bonaparte is enough") She married Jean Bernadotte, who became a Marshal in the French army. When the childless Swedish monarch sought a successor, Bernadotte was adopted by the Swedish king, and, in due course, Desirée became Queen of Sweden and the mother of the present dynasty.

The youngest brother of Napoleon also married without Napoleon's consent. However, by this time, Napoleon was First Consul of France and marriage by a member of his family could only be done with his permission. Since French law would not permit a Frenchman under 25 to marry without his father's or mother's consent, (Jerome was 19) the marriage could be considered illegal. Who was the bride?Elizabeth Patterson. Jerome met Elizabeth Patterson while on a visit to Baltimore with the French navy. They married on Christmas Eve 1803 and had a son, Jerome. Napoleon refused to accept the marriage and when Elizabeth attempted to visit France she was denied entry into the country. Jermome's grandson, Bo Patterson Bonaparte, was Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of the Navy in 1905 and became Attorney General of the United States 18 months later. 

After the French Revolution, one of Napoleon's brothers entered French politics and won election to the Council of Five Hundred, one of the legislative bodies under the Directorate. This brother was instumental in the success of Napoleon's coup of 18th Brumaire, 1799. Who was he?Lucien. Lucien fancied himself an intellectual, writer and politician. When elected to the Council of Five Hundred, the lower legislative body under the Directorate, he was successful in adjourning the Council to St Cloud where pressure could be exerted to depose the Directorate and elect a triumvirate of three consuls. Napoleon was elected First Consul and in August 1802 a plebiscite confirmed a change in the constitution to make Napoleon First Consul for life with the right to name his successor. In 1804 he was proclaimed Emperor.

In order to become King of Spain, Joseph had to surrender a kingdom. What kingdom did he relinquish?Naples. Berg was a duchy created by Napoleon for his sister Caroline and her husband Joachim Murat. Holland went to brother Louis. Bavaria was a state allied with France. Napoleon did raise it to the status of kingdom. Maximilian I became the first King of Bavaria. Joseph was convinced that his subjects in Naples adored him. He informed visiting French senators that, "The Neapolitans thought of him in the same way as the French thought of Napoleon." He felt that he had the support of all the citizens from the most notorious bandit to the haughtiest duke. Joseph overestimated his support.

Who succeeded Joseph in the kingdom he had to relinquish?Joachim Murat. Joachim Murat was a successful leader of French cavalry and the husband of Napoleon's sister Caroline. They had previously been given Berg as a duchy. Caroline was ambitious and pressured her brother for a throne for her husband. Murat was to prove as ambitious as his wife. He changed sides just before Napoleon's defeat in 1814 in order to save his throne. (Caroline had carried on secret negotiations with Metternich. Murat had visions of uniting Italy under his banner, and returned to Napoleon's side when he returned from Elba. Acting precipitously and in an attempt to unite Italy behind him he invaded the Papal States and was defeated. He fled to France and offered his sword to Napoleon. Napoleon refused the offer. Murat attempted to re-invade his former kingdom. Captured, he was executed by firing squad. He was noted, among other things, for his flamboyant uniforms.

Louis, the brother that Napoleon had supported and educated when he was a child, married Napoleon's step-daughter thus becoming his son-in-law as well as his brother. Who was the lucky girl?Hortense. The theory that Louis was a suppressed homosexual is probably well founded. As an adult he became morose and embittered. He suffered from an undiagnosed disease which induced rheumatic attacks which would eventually cripple him. Mentally, he was a disturbed individual and was afflicted with fits of jealousy and a persecution complex. Hortense wrote the unofficial anthem of the second empire, "Partant pour Syrie."

Eliza was Napoleon's eldest sister. She was most like him in intellect and ambition, as a result, Napoleon disliked her. Nevertheless, she was created an Imperial Princess and later Princess of Lucca and Piombino and even later Grand Duchess of Tuscany. t. Initially a "postage stamp principality" ("An army of 4 privates and a corporal, said Caroline Murat) Eliza had the work ethic of her brother. She reorganized the judicial system, police and prisons, drained swamps, built roads and established a silk industry. She reopened marble quarries at Carrara and swamped Europe with marble busts of Napoleon (she had a personal financial interest in the quarries). In 1809 she became Grand Duchess of Tuscany. In January 1814 in an agreement with Murat who had defected to the allies, she betrayed Napoleon. Her betrayal was intended to guarantee her throne. However the action was not successful and she was deposed. She had one daughter, Napoleone who schemed to kidnap the Duke of Reichstadt (Napoleon's son) and take him to France to restore the Bonapartist regime. 

When the other members of Napoleon's family were given titles at the time of his coronation as Emperor, what title was invented by Napoleon to bestow upon his mother? Madame Mere. Letizia was unimpressed by all of the trappings of empire but she was disappointed in receiving only the title Madame Mere. She continued to call Napoleon, Napoleone. Although wealthy, she continued to practice the thrift she had learned as a widow raising 8 children in Corsica. After Waterloo, she was one of the few Bonapartes with considerable financial assets, a fact that her children learned to appreciate. She did not attend Napoleon's coronation due to a dispute about the exiling of Lucien but Napoleon had her painted in by David in the official coronation portrait. She was never comfortable in France because of her poor knowledge of the language. She preferred to reside in Italy. Eliza was allowed to add Tuscany to her territory. Queen of Corsica and Empress Mother are made up titles.

Louis, like two of his brothers, was given a throne. He became king of what country?The Netherlands. Louis, although ill and suffering from a persecution complex, made a cardinal error in Napoleon's eyes. He believed that as King of the Netherlands he had a responsibility to his subjects that might not coincide with Napoleon's wishes. Napoleon intended him to be merely a French viceroy but he attempted to follow an independent path. This resulted in political and military pressure and his abdication in 1810.


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