Letizia Bonaparte; 'Madame Mère' (1749/50-1837)

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Aug 13, 2004
São Paulo
Marie Laetitia Ramolino -from 18 May 1804 'Madame Mère de l'Empereur', Imperial Highness- (Ajaccio, 24 August 1749/50 - Rome, 2 February 1836); married in Ajaccio on 2 June 1764 Carlo Maria Buonaparte (Ajaccio 29 March 1746 - Montpellier 24 February 1785)

Children: Napoleone and Maria Anna Buonaparte; King Jose of Spain; Emperor Napoleon I of the French; Maria Anna Bonaparte; Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino, Prince of Musignano; Elisa, Duchess of Lucca and Princess of Piombino; King Louis I (Lodewijk) of Holland; Pauline, Duchess of Guastalla; Caroline Murat, Queen of Napels and Sicily; and Jérôme, King of Westphalia

Parents: Giovanni Geronimo Ramolino and Angela Maria Pietra-Santa
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From this wikipedia page:

Nobile Maria Letizia Bonaparte née Ramolino (Marie-Lætitia Ramolino, Madame Mère de l'Empereur) (24 August 1750 – 2 February 1836) was the mother of Napoleon I of France.
She was born in Ajaccio, Corsica, to Nobile Giovanni Geronimo Ramolino (13 April 1723 – 1755), Captain of Corse Regiments of Chivalry and Infantry in the Army of the Republic of Genoa, and wife Nobile Angela Maria Pietrasanta (circa 1725 – 1790). The distant cousins of the Ramolinos were a low rank of nobility in the Republic of Genoa. Letizia was not formally educated.
On 2/7 June 1764, when she was 14, she married at Ajaccio Attorney Carlo Buonaparte. She bore 13 children, eight of whom survived infancy, and most of which survivors were made monarchs by Napoleon:
  • Napoleone Buonaparte (1764/1765 – 17 August 1765)
  • Maria Anna Buonaparte (3 January 1767 – 1 January 1768)
  • Joseph Bonaparte (7 January 1768 – 28 July 1844)
  • Napoleon I of France (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), Emperor of the French and namesake of his deceased older brother
  • Maria Anna Buonaparte (1770), namesake of her deceased older sister
  • Maria Anna Buonaparte (14 July – 23 November 1771), namesake of her deceased older sisters
  • A stillborn son
  • Lucien Bonaparte (21 May 1775 – 29 June 1840), Prince of Canino
  • Elisa Bonaparte (13 January 1777 – 7 August 1820), Grand Duchess of Tuscany
  • Louis Bonaparte (2 September 1778 – 25 July 1846), King of Holland
  • Pauline Bonaparte (20 October 1780 – 9 June 1825), Sovereign Princess and Duchess of Guastalla
  • Caroline Bonaparte (24 March 1782 – 18 May 1839), Grand Duchess of Berg and Cleves, wife of Joachim Murat, later queen consort of Naples
  • Jérôme Bonaparte (15 November 1784 - 24 June 1860), King of Westphalia.
She was a harsh mother, and had a very down-to-earth view of most things. When most European mothers, even those in the upper class, bathed perhaps once a month, she had her children bathed every other day.
When France under the Ancien Régime took control of Corsica, in 1769, French became the national language, but Letizia never learned the tongue. When she was 35, her husband died of cancer. She was decreed "Madam, the Mother of His Majesty the Emperor" (Madame Mère de l'Empereur), Imperial Highness, on 18 May 1804 or 23 March 1805. She died of old age in Rome, in 1836, aged 85. By then she was nearly blind and had outlived her most famous son Napoleon by 15 years.
Some images:

What an admirable woman! Her life is very interesting and he have more courage than some men of the time. I'm surprised that there's no comment about Mme. Mère.

She could not have been born a royal, but for sure she was one by soul and sometimes, much more than some of her children. :rolleyes:

Thanks for that bio, Marengo!

Some images:


Excuse me....I a bit confussed,What is on the table...Is that a Personal Computer????:eek:
Why There is a personal computer in a Portrait that was probably pinted in 1800?
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Yes, it seems to be a PC...
Yes, it seems to be a PC...
No, it's a notebook/laptop. :)
Good pickup Paty! :flowers: I checked the date on Marengo's post to see if it was 1 April, but alas no.
It is just the best proof that Mme Bonaparte was first PC user in the world. :lol:

BTW, I didn't know she was so tough lady. I also wonder how she felt when she outlived her son. Are any known diaries by her?
BTW, I didn't know she was so tough lady. I also wonder how she felt when she outlived her son. Are any known diaries by her?

Her letters and the responses she got are published in several editions. As she was descended of the Italian nobility and her brother was a cardinal, she lived in comfort in Rome till her death, exchanging letters with her family but also with Queen Desideria of Sweden, sister of her daughter-in-law Julie through the ambassadours at the Vatican. So quite a lot of material is still available.:flowers:
In May 1805, Madame Mere (Letizia Bonaparte) received a letter from the Emperor Napoleon I informing her:

Madame, I have purchased the Chateau du Pont for you. Send your Steward to see it and take possession of it. I am going to spend 60,000 francs on furnishing it. It is one of the finest country houses in France, much more beautiful than Brienne. I hope you will see this as fresh proof of my desire to please you. Your loving son, NapoleonLetizia let it be known that she did not intend to be present at Napoleon's coronation as Emperor.
She was determined not to be a witness of a crown being placed upon the head of "la putana".
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Death of Madame Mère de l'Empereur

In Napoleon His Wives and Women, Christopher Hibbert wrote:

Advised to do so by her doctor, she (Madame Mere) went out on most days for a drive, attention drawn to her carriage by the brightly painted coat-of-arms on its doors. This carriage and its pale, black-clothed occupant were by then one of the sights of Rome.

It is nice that Madame Bonaparte was able to go out for several drives.

Madame Mère had her household in the Hotel de Brienne in Paris, France. Letizia had bought the hotel from her son Lucien for six hundred thousand francs.
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When Napoleon was exiled, Madame Letizia wrote to her son on St. Helena, offering to go there to live with him. As well as letters she sent money.

Letizia had a long widowhood,her husband Charles-Marie Bonaparte had died in 1785.
Charles was buried at the Cordeliers church in Montpellier,that church was closed in 1791 and later became the Huguenot Church of Montpellier in 1803.
In 1819 his remains were moved to the Church of Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles in Saint-Leu-la-Forêt where they remained until 1951 when his coffin was again moved to the Imperial family chapel in Ajaccio.
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