Hortense de Beauharnais

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Hortense de Beauharnais
Duchess of Saint-Leu
Hortense de beauharnais.jpg
Queen consort of Holland
Tenure5 June 1806 – 1 July 1810
Born10 April 1783
Paris, France
Died5 October 1837 (aged 54)
Arenenberg, Thurgau, Switzerland
Burial
St Pierre-St Paul Church,
Rueil-Malmaison, France
Spouse Louis I of Holland
Issue Napoléon Charles, Prince Royal of Holland
Louis II of Holland
Napoléon III
The 1st Duc de Morny (illegitimate)
House Beauharnais
Father Alexandre de Beauharnais
Mother Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie
Religion Roman Catholicism
Royal styles of
Queen Hortense of Holland
Blason d'Hortense de Beauharnais, reine de Hollande.svg
Reference style Her Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty

Hortense Eugénie Cécile Bonaparte (French pronunciation:  [ɔʁtɑ̃s øʒeni sesil bɔnɑpaʁt] ; née de Beauharnais, pronounced  [də boaʁnɛ] ; 10 April 1783 – 5 October 1837), Queen consort of Holland, was the stepdaughter of Emperor Napoléon I, being the daughter of his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais. She later became the wife of the former's brother, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, and the mother of Napoléon III, Emperor of the French. She had also an illegitimate son, The 1st Duc de Morny, by her lover, the Comte de Flahaut.

Emperor of the French title used by the House of Bonaparte

Emperor of the French was the monarch of the First French Empire and the Second French Empire.

Louis Bonaparte King of Holland, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, member of the House of Buonaparte

Louis Napoléon Bonaparte was a younger brother of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. He was a monarch in his own right from 1806 to 1810, ruling over the Kingdom of Holland. In that capacity he was known as Louis I.

Charles de Morny, Duke of Morny French statesman

Charles Auguste Louis Joseph Demorny de Morny, 1er Duc de Morny[ʃaʁl oɡyst lwi ʒɔzɛf dəmɔʁni] was a French statesman.

Contents

Early life

Hortense was born in Paris, France, on 10 April 1783, the daughter of Alexandre de Beauharnais and Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie. Her parents separated shortly after her birth. Her father was executed on 23 July 1794, at the time of the French Revolution, a few days before the end of the Reign of Terror. Her mother was imprisoned in the Carmelites prison, from which she was released on 6 August 1794, thanks to the intervention of her best friend Thérèse Tallien. Two years later, her mother married Napoléon Bonaparte.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris is one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Alexandre de Beauharnais French general; president of the National Constituent Assembly in 1791

Alexandre François Marie, Viscount of Beauharnais was a French political figure and general during the French Revolution. He was the first husband of Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, who later married Napoleon Bonaparte and became Empress of the First Empire.

Hortense was described as having been an amusing and pretty child with long, pale golden-blonde hair and blue eyes. [1] She received her education at the school of Madame Jeanne Campan in St-Germain-en-Laye together with Napoléon's youngest sister Caroline Bonaparte, who later married Joachim Murat. [1] She had an elder brother, Eugène de Beauharnais. Hortense was an accomplished amateur musical composer and supplied the army of her stepfather with rousing marches, including Partant pour la Syrie . She also enjoyed playing games and particularly excelled at billiards. [2] In 1802, at Napoléon's request, Hortense married his brother Louis Bonaparte. Hortense was somewhat cool toward the marriage at first, but her mother persuaded her to accept for the good of the family.

Caroline Bonaparte Queen of Naples and Sicily

Maria Annunziata Carolina Murat, better known as Caroline Bonaparte, was the seventh surviving child and third surviving daughter of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino, and a younger sister of Napoleon I of France. She was queen of Naples during the reign of her spouse there, and regent of Naples during his absence four times: in 1812-13, 1813, 1814 and 1815.

Joachim Murat Grand Duke of Berg and King of Naples

Joachim-Napoléon Murat was a Marshal of France and Admiral of France under the reign of Napoleon. He was also the 1st Prince Murat, Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808, and King of Naples from 1808 to 1815. Murat received his titles in part by being Napoleon's brother-in-law through marriage to his younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte, as well as personal merit. He was noted as a daring, brave, and charismatic cavalry officer as well as a flamboyant dresser, for which he was known as "the Dandy King".

Eugène de Beauharnais French general and adoptive son of Napoleon I

Eugène Rose de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg was the first child and only son of Alexandre de Beauharnais and Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, first wife of Napoleon I.

Queen of Holland (1806–1810)

In 1806 Napoléon appointed his brother Louis as King of Holland, and Hortense accompanied her husband to The Hague. Hortense's negativity towards being appointed Queen of Holland was twofold. First, it was necessary for her to move there with Louis, with whom she did not get along, and second, she had to leave her life as a celebrated member of Parisian society. She had hoped to be "a Queen of Holland in Paris", but Napoléon did not agree. She was therefore forced to depart with Louis to the Netherlands, where she arrived on 18 June 1806.

The Hague City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is also the seat of government of the Netherlands.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

Royal Monogram of Queen Hortense of Holland Royal Monogram of Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland.svg
Royal Monogram of Queen Hortense of Holland

Queen Hortense was pleasantly surprised [3] when the Dutch public welcomed her warmly. She quickly became accustomed to life in the Netherlands and came to like the country. She attended official celebrations and ceremonies, visited the market-places where she made large purchases, and was much liked by the public, which annoyed her husband. She learned water-colour painting and made trips around the countryside. Nevertheless, she hated her stay there because of her bad relationship with King Louis. The couple lived in different parts of the palace and avoided each other at every opportunity, with Hortense describing herself as a prisoner. [3] She also refused to give up her French citizenship and declare herself Dutch rather than French, as Louis had done.

In 1807 her first son died; she was subsequently allowed to visit France, as the climate there was considered[ by whom? ] better for her other son Louis-Napoléon. She remained in France, again pleased by her status as a queen at the French court, until 1810, when Napoléon forced her to return to the Netherlands. (Napoleon married Marie Louise of Austria in April 1810, and did not consider it suitable to have the daughter of his former spouse at court.) Hortense returned temporarily to the Netherlands, but on 1 June 1810, she was allowed to leave again on the pretext of her health.

Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma Empress of France

Marie Louise was an Austrian archduchess who reigned as Duchess of Parma from 1814 until her death. She was Napoleon's second wife and, as such, Empress of the French from 1810 to 1814.

After Louis abdicated (1 July 1810) he went into exile in Austria and turned to writing and poetry. Louis wrote to Napoléon after the latter's 1812 defeat in Russia to request that the Dutch throne be restored to him. However, Napoléon refused. Louis finally returned to France in 1813. He spent much of his later life in Italy.

Personal life

Portrait of Hortense painted by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, 1808 Hortense de Beauharnais.jpg
Portrait of Hortense painted by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, 1808

Hortense was now free to respond to the romantic overtures of the man whom she had long admired, Colonel Charles Joseph, Comte de Flahaut, a sophisticated, handsome man rumoured to be the illegitimate son of Talleyrand. [4] They soon became lovers. In 1811, at an unspecified inn in Switzerland, close to Lake Geneva, Hortense secretly gave birth to a son by de Flahaut,

Only her brother Eugène, Adélaïde Filleul de Souza, de Flahaut's mother, and her closest companions were aware of her pregnancy and the subsequent birth. She had used poor health to explain her prolonged visit to Switzerland, the journey having been arranged by Adélaïde. Hortense cleverly disguised her pregnancy (she was, by then, in her sixth month) during the baptism of Napoléon's son, Napoléon II, when she was chosen to be one of the child's godmothers, an honour she shared with Madame Mère, mother of the Emperor.

Later years

Arenenberg Labhardt2.JPG
Arenenberg

At the Bourbon Restoration in 1814, Hortense received the protection of Alexander I of Russia. At his instigation, she was granted the title of Duchess of Saint-Leu (duchesse de Saint-Leu) by King Louis XVIII on 30 May 1814. [6] [7] During the Hundred Days, however, Hortense supported her stepfather and brother-in-law Napoléon. This led to her banishment from France after his final defeat. She traveled in Germany and Italy before purchasing the Château of Arenenberg in the Swiss canton of Thurgau in 1817. She lived there until her death on 5 October 1837, at the age of fifty-four. She is buried next to her mother Joséphine in the Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul church in Rueil-Malmaison.

A portrait of Hortense hangs at Ash Lawn-Highland, the Virginia plantation home of James Monroe, fifth President of the United States. It was one of three portraits given by Hortense to Monroe's daughter Eliza, who went to school with Hortense in France. (The other two portraits are of Hortense's brother Eugène de Beauharnais and of Jeanne-Louise-Henriette Campan, the headmistress of the school attended by Hortense and Eliza.) Eliza's daughter, Hortensia Monroe Hay, was named in honour of Hortense.

Issue

With Louis Bonaparte she had three sons:

With Charles Joseph, Comte de Flahaut, she had one son:

Ancestry

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 Epton, Nina (1975). Josephine: The Empress and Her Children. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. p.51
  2. Epton, pp.99-100
  3. 1 2 "Hortense Eugénie de Beauharnais (1783-1837)" (in Dutch). Inghist.nl. 2013-10-16. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  4. Mossiker, Frances (1964). Napoleon and Josephine: The Biography of a Marriage. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 347.
  5. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Morny, Charles Auguste Louis Joseph, Duc de"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 849.
  6. Bonnet, Jules (1864). Mes souvenirs du barreau depuis 1804 (in French). Paris: Durand. p. 22.
  7. van Scheelten, W. F. (1833). Mémoires sur la Reine Hortense, aujourd'hui Duchesse de Saint-Leu. Canel. p. 230.

Further reading

Hortense de Beauharnais
Born: 10 April 1783 Died: 5 October 1837
Dutch royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily
as Consort of the Austrian Netherlands
Queen consort of Holland
5 June 1806 – 1 July 1810
Vacant
Title next held by
Wilhelmine of Prussia
as Queen of the Netherlands