Louis Bonaparte (1778-1846) and Hortense de Beauharnais, King and Queen of Holland

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Aug 13, 2004
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King Lodewijk Napoleon (1778-1846), Queen Hortense (1783-1837) and family

This thread is about King Lodewijk Napoleon of Holland, born Louis Bonaparte Prince français (Imperial Highness) 18 May 1804, King of Holland 5 Jun 1806-1 Jul 1810, when he abdicated in favour of his son, assumed the title Count de Saint-Leu (Ajaccio 2 Sep 1778-Leghorn 25 Jul 1846) and Queen Hortense of Holland, born Hortense de Beauharnais cr. Duchess de Saint-Leu 30 May 1814 (Paris 10 Apr 1783-Château de Arenenberg, Switzerland 5 Oct 1837)

Parents of Lodewijk: Carlo Maria Buonaparte and Marie Laetitia Ramolino (from 18 May 1804 "Madame Mère de l'Empereur", Imperial Highness)

Parents of Hortense: Alexandre François Marie de Beauharnais, Viscount de Beauharnais and Marie Rose Josèphe Tascher de la Pagerie, Empress of the French

Children: 1 Napoléon Louis Charles, Pr français, 18 May 1804, Pr Royal of Holland 5 Jun 1806
2 Napoléon Louis, Pr français, Pr Royal of Holland 5 May 1807, Grand Duke of Berg and Cleves 3 Mar 1809-1 Dec 1813, nominal King of Holland 1-9 Jul 1810
3 Charles Louis Napoléon, Pr français and Pr of Holland, President of France 10 Dec 1848, became NAPOLÉON III, Emperor of the French
4 Charles de Morny (son of Hortense and Count Charles Auguste Joseph de Flahault de Billardrie)

Siblings Lodewijk: Joseph, Napoleon, Elise, Lucien, Pauline, Carolina and Jerome

Sibling Hortense: Eugene de Beauharnais

painting left: Louis Napoleon as King of Holland:
painting right: Hortense and her eldest son dressed for Napoleons coronation.


Note 1: All the pictures posted from post 1-20 are free of copyrights, unless stated differently.

Note 2: The main source I used is Thera Coppens' 'Koningin Hortense' (2006). I also used some genealogical tables and some online encyclopedia articles. The articles form internet are only partly shown here due to copyright violation laws.
Short biography Hortense (I)


Alexandre the Beauharnais had never seen his bride Rose Tascher de la Pagerie (later: Josephine). The wedding contract had already been signed by the two families when in the port of Brest their first meeting took place. The little girl Rose was raised in the French colonies (Martinique) by her french parents of impoverished nobility and thus was considered as ' Creole' . Creoles were known, in the Parisian salons under the régime van Louis XVI, for their lack of ambulatory forms and backwardness. The marriage, not surprisingly, seemed to become a failure from the beginning, Alexandre never really warmed up to his wife and seemed even somewhat emberrased by her. After the birth of their son Eugène the young marchioness , Rose the Beauharnais, became pregnant by a brief and loveless second 'embrace'. Her husband refused to believe that he was the father of the small Hortense and wanted a divorce. The ex-wife was required to withdraw herself in a female convent, where she would be surrounded by women who suffered from the same fate. Rose however took rapid measures to evade such a life . She decided to go back to Martinique, to visit her mother. With er she took her daughter Hortense but she had to leave her son Eugene in the care of his grandparents and father. This must have been aa traumatising experience for the two children as they were eah others best friends. Thus Hortense spent much of her childhood the plantation of her grandmother on Martinique. With her curly blonde hair and blue eyes she received the admiration of the black slaves, who brought her in delight with their rythmic dancing and songs. Here Hortense developed the talent to enjoy music and dancing in a free manner. Her stephfather Napoleon would later admirely describe her as 'Notre Terpsichore'.

Painting left: an idealised portrait of the Beauharnais family, painted in later years.
Painting right: Hortense de Beauharnais as a toddler.

Short biography Hortense (II)

Adolescent years

At the start of a slave insurrection Rose and her daughter hastely escaped Martinique and sailed to Paris, where the French revolution had made an end to the reign of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette (both ended up on the scaffold). In the hell of the 'terror' Hortense's noble father and mother were taken prisoner. Hortense and her brother Eugène only wondering through Paris alone, aided by their governess a Belgian Countess de Lannoy. Alexandre de Beauharnais was one of many thousands who found their death under the guillotine. But just before her way to the scaffold Rose the Beauharnais was released from prison and set free. Now she a widow with two small children, penniless and alone on the street.
To forget the horrors of the revolution and to still enjoy as much as possibler from her young life, the widow threw herself in Parisian society and quickly befriended some influential people. Hortense was send of to a boarding school for girls, run by Madame Campan, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where she received an excellent education. She learned to make music there,and beside the usual professions also dancing and acting. She received paint and draw-lessons from the famous Jean Baptiste Isabey. Hortense excelled in everything and was loved by everyone at that school. An important event for her in this stage of her life was that she was chosen as the sweetest child of the school and as a reward she was allowed to wear an artificial rose. But her mother had no time to admire her daughter. Rose used all her charms to get in the grace of the new establishment. She dressed herself extravagantly, arranged her rented house in an expensive way and looked for rich lovers who could pay off her debts. On a day she presented her daughter during a dinerparty to an intensely pale general: Napoleon Bonaparte. Hortense could not stand him and only showed her dislike.

The 28 y/o general changed the name of his 32 y/o bride from Rose to Josephine, and from now on decided over the rest of their existence. Without the knowledge of Hortense and Eugene, the couple quickly married. While Napoleon was on a militairy expedition to Italy, where he gained one victory after another, he tried to get into his stephdaughters favour by presenting her with one present after another: parfums, watches, jewels and letters. But Hortense was still angry because Napoleon had stolen the heart of her mother and answered him on a cold tone. Napoléon wrote back: ` I you have received your friendly note (..) you are a naughty, a very naughty little girl! (..) and then, something which you know perfectly well, your mother can not be compared to any other woman in the world (..) when it would be allowed to lenarge her happiness, I would consider it as one of my sweet duties, which I have now towards you. I will feel for you like a father and you me will love like your best friend. After these words Hortense slowly softened towards the Corsican general.

left: a snuffbox with the portraits of Napoleon, his wife Josephine and his stephchildren Eugene and Hortense.
right: a miniature portrait of a young Hortense.

Short biography Hortense (III)


Napoléons star was rising quickly. Triumphantly he retuned from Italy and soon left again with his troops and accompanied by a procession of scientists and artists, to Egypt.On his return in Paris he started a coup, overthrew the rule of the dictoriate and raised himself to be a consul and later to first consul of the French Republic. In this role he almost had royal powers. Joséphine moved with Napoléon from their house on the Rue de la Victoire to the palace ode Luxembourg and later to the Tuileries. Much against her own will, Hortense was askd to come home from her school frequently, in order to take part in lavish banquets, balls and receptions. She became part of the sparkling company around Napoléon, which quickly got the character got of a royal court.

The weekends were spent by the family of the first consul at Chateau Malmaison. Mother and daughter became inseperable there and were always discussion interior decorations, garden lay-out and purchases of art, to enhance Malmaison. Josephine was insatiable in buying paintings of, among others, Girodet, Gérard, David, Isabey and Gros. From the Italian sculptor Canova she bought elegant sculptures. She had fairy-like gardens made with glasshouses, in which they grew exotic flowers. To give Hortense the chance to develop her pasion for the stage, Joséphine had a theatre built, in which Hortense received applause for its ballets and acting. She played the pianoforte and the harp and later arranged large ourt ballets at the Tuileries, which brought complete Parisian society in delight.

When Hortense reached the mariageble age, Joséphine suggested her to marry with Louis Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon. In their children the blood of Napoleon and Beauharnais would be united. Joséphine hoped to save her own positionthis way, as she was unable to give her huisband any children of himself and was afraid that Napoleon might divorce her for that. Hortense was shocked, she was in love with somebody else and she had a dislike for the sobre Louis, who annoyed her with his eternal complaining. But Hortense would be the good girl that she always wanted to be at school, and against her better judgement married Louis Bonaparte. Louis did not feel himself attracted to Hortense but also did what his elder brother wanted him to do. In January 1802 the inescapable and unfortunate marriage was closed. Exact nine months later Hortense brought her first child in the world. It was a son and his stephgrandfather decided that he would be named Napoleon Charles Bonaparte. Joséphine rejoiced; her position on the side of the first consul seemed saved.

left & middle: simular portraits of Hortense
right: a drawing showing Hortense playing the harp

Short biography Hortense (IV)

A crown for Hortense

With an unstopable hunger for glory, Napoleon planned to get all of Europe under Bonaparte-rule. In December 1804 he and Joséphine were crowned emperor and empress in the Notre Dame de Paris. Princess Hortense was present, wearing an empire dress strewn with diamands. In her hand she held her son Napoleon Charles, heir to his uncles throne. Almost all brothers and sisters of the emperor got a crown somewhere in Europe. His younger brother Louis Bonaparte became King of Holland, and thus Hortense Queen of Holland. After the birth of their second son Napoleon Louis in October 1803, Hortense became desperate from the news she heard: `Do you really believe that he wants send us to the Netherlands? ` she wroten to her brother Eugène, ` I cannot think about this without water in my eyes. , I will be unhappy, my God, so unhappy that I would die!'

Did she have to abandon her mother, who could live no day without her? But Napoléon ignored her complaints. In June 1806 the new queen had a first sight of The Hague, that was lavishly decorated for the occassion. Her husband was next to her in the carriage with the two princes on his lap, he called himself Lodewijk Napoleon from that moment on. Newspaper ' De Haagsche Courant' reported: `the queen wore a brownish silk robe, her hair was decorated with diamonds and pearls.

above: famous painting of the coronatiopn of Napoleon and Josephine
2nd row: two portraits of Hortense
below: drawing of Hortense in a court dress


Short biography Hortense (V)

Queen of Holland

With an unstopable hunger for glory, Napoleon planned to get all of Europe under Bonaparte-rule. In December 1804 he and Joséphine were crowned emperor and empress in the Notre Dame de Paris. Princess Hortense was present, wearing an empire dress strewn with diamands. In her hand she held her son Napoleon Charles, heir to his uncles throne. Almost all brothers and sisters of the emperor got a crown somewhere in Europe. His younger brother Louis Bonaparte became King of Holland, and thus Hortense Queen of Holland. After the birth of their second son Napoleon Louis in October 1803, Hortense became desperate from the news she heard: `Do you really believe that he wants send us to the Netherlands? ` she wroten to her brother Eugène, ` I cannot think about this without water in my eyes. , I will be unhappy, my God, so unhappy that I would die!'

Did she have to abandon her mother, who could live no day without her? But Napoléon ignored her complaints. In June 1806 the new queen had a first sight of The Hague, that was lavishly decorated with erebogen for the occassion. Her husband was next to her in the carriage with the two princes on his lap, he called himself Lodewijk Napoleon from that moment on. Newspaper ' De Haagsche Courant' reported: `the queen wore a brownish silk robe, her hair was decorated with diamonds and pearls.

Now she was a quen, Hortense decided to make the most of it. She told the pleasant Dutch admiral VerHuell that she desired to be loved by the Dutchmen, so that they would make up for all that she had to leave in France.
Huis ten Bosch, where the family decided to live, was rather neglected. The interior reminded Hortense of the House of Orange, who lived in the palace untill 1795. The last stadholder Willem V now lived in exile in Germany. The wall paintings in the ballroom still told stories about acts of heroism by his anscestors.

The king started directly with expensive redecorations. He worked with unfatigable zeal for the restauratiion of his kingdom. Within limited time that he ruled, he made large improvements in all kinds of areas. The people started love their king. And Lodewijk loved Holland, which became his only love. His marriage also was regarded by him as a disaster. With his morbid jealous nature he let people spy on his wife, opened her letters and forbade her to dance during court balls. She was no longer allowed to play the piano in public either and lived as a prisoner in her apartments. Shortly before their official visit to the city of Rotterdam they had a fierce fight at home. In this mood they had to travel to Rotterdam together on July 2nd 1806, where a festive reception had been prepared. The newspaper reported: `in fornt of the 'Regthuis' was a crown with four guirlandes; everywhere was the flag out, and every resident showed his joy about this event. Hortense showed her surprise about the festive welome she received: `it was the same everywhere', she wrote in hermémoires, `the change makes people joy-full, they expect good fortune from of the new.

During the stormy night of May 4th and 5th of the year 1807, Hortense would suffer her greatest blow: her eldest son died from an illness at Huis ten Bosch palace. Hortense was in shock and left to France, where she suffered from depressions and grief.

left: Hortense and her son Napoleon Charles
right: Hortense on a Dutch coin

Short biography Hortense (VI)

Return to Holland

In a spa in the french pyrenees Hortense tried regain some of her strengths. There she made exhausting mountainwalks and climbed on the highest gletchers and mountaintops to be closer to her child in the sky. King Lodewijk Napoleon only found consolation in the Netherlands. Willem Bilderdijk (a dutch poet) made a compasionate poem:

`Sink, yes, in tears! Yes! Your King-self, sink,
and melt in dispair; he, for another suffered so tenderly!
So help -, so full of compassion! Him, he needs help and consolation,
and motionless his eye rests on the small corps of his child.'

The king undertook a last attempt to save his marriage. He went to France and met his wife in Toulon. There a short reconsiliation took place in a logement. and Hortense became pregnant for a third time. Lodewijk never believed that this child was his. And in Holland, where everybody was informed about the bad marriage, the rumour spread that admiral VerHuell had fathered the child. Although VerHuell hadn't left The Hague for a year, Lodewijk started to believe theme rumours himself. He returned alone to his kingdom.
The Hague no longer pleased him he decided to settle in Utrecht where he demolished a large number of houses to build a new royal palace. The expensive project was hardly finished or he changed his mind again decided to make Amsterdam the capital of the Netherlands and to make her townhall on Dam square his palace. Many people tried to discourage the King with reasonable arguments: the building from the Dutch golden age was ice-cold, due to its enormous marble halls, and totally unfit to live. The head-strong King Lodewijk however refused to listen and ordered masons, carpenters, furniture makers etc. to start working.

Meanwhile Napoleon had decided that he had to seperate from Josephine, for the interest of France. The ceremony took place in December 1809 in Paris, to great rejoice of the Bonapartes. The Emperor quickly remarried with the eldest daughter of the emperor of Austria: Archduchess Marie Louise, who quickly gave him a son.
Napoleon, who still considered and treated Hortense as his daughter, ordered her to return to the Netherlands and to reconsile herself with her husband. Unhappily, she travelled to Utrecht with her second sonl Napoleon Louis. Her youngest son Louis Napoleon was left behind with his grandmother in Paris.

In her apartments along river 'Drift' in Utrecht, Hortense led an isolated and sickly life. During a militairy parade on the inner-court of the palace she showed herself to the public, which was responded by the public with shouts of joy (a reason for Lodewijk to keep his wife even more away from the public). During the holy mass in the court chappel with its brand-new churchsilver and its superb choirs Hortense was touched deeply and she often went there to pray for her son. After the Easter days of 1810 however, the King decided to move Utrecht with his family and to go to the new capital. During the ceremonial entrance of Amsterdam, the queen was so weak that citizens who looked at her in the coach callen her ` queen misérable! Notre pauvre reine! Its appearance astonished everyone. People had heard that the queen led a frivolous life in Paris. But her looks did not answer to the picture of a frivolous woman.

`The palace in Amsterdam is a former townhall had been and had a very beautiful interior, ` wrote Hortense in her mémoires, `The king had done everything possible to beautify it but still, one could not imagine a sadder place to live (..) my Dutch court ladies seemed very nice but I hardly knew them; most of them were new. Therefore I spent my days reading alone in my apartments. One usually warned me late in the afternoon that the king expected at his table; I came. During the meal he didn't speak a word against me. After the meal the king let his fingers wander over the opened piano. He drew his son on his lap, cuddled him, took him along on the balcony which looked out on the square. Whenever the people saw them, cheers would arouse. Then the king came back in, and seated himself behind the piano where he recited some French songs or hummed a melody. I was seated on a chair, only looking at the things that happened in the room, without saying a word. I withdrew myself at 9 o'clock after I had wished him a good night. That was the only words we saidd to eachother. Thus my days in Amsterdam were spent. After some weeks queen Hortense became even more ill, so ill that people feared she was dying. In the summer of 1810 she carefully asked the king permission to leave for Palace het Loo. He agreed reluctantly but kept its son in Amsterdam. After a short stay at het Loo, she left to take the waters in Plombières. She would never see The Netherlands back again. Her husband man abdicated a month later at Pavillion Welgelegen in Haarlem and appointed his eldest surviving son as the next king: Lodewijk Napoleon II. The five-year-old child was on the throne for two weeks. TAfter that period his uncle emperor Napoleon had him brought to Paris and incorperated the Kingdon in the French Empire.

below: three portraits of a bejewelled Hortense

Short biography Hortense (VII)


Napoleon who had been shot upward as a comet, now experienced his first defeats. The battle in Russia in 1812 ended in a humanitarian catasrophe and during a battle near Leipzig his troops suffered a crushing defeat. The emperor was exciled to the island of Elba. But after 10 months he could escape and reconquered is imperial throne. On his return in Paris nothing was the same anymore: empress Marie Louise had left France with their son, the King of Rome. Joséphine had died in Chateau Malmaison. In the hundred days of his return Hortense assisted its stephfather as an 'empress'. She continued to support him, as one of the few, untill the last moment. When he wanted to escape to America after the battle at Waterloo, he was captured by the english and taken to the island of St. Helena, where he died in 1821. Hortense had to leave Paris after the fall of Napoleon within two hours. She escaped with both her sons to the border with Switzerland and eventually ended up near the Bodensee close to Konstanz. There she bought a small castle on a rock to water: Schloss Arenenberg

left and middle: two portraits of Hortense
right: Josephine with on the background the Hortense (the pink flowers)

Short biography Hortense (VIII)

Persona non-grata

The settlement in Switzerland was not an easy thing to achiueve. Hortense was teated rather kindly after Napoleons first defeat. She was in the graces of Emperor Alexander I of Russia and even the new Bourbon King seemed to like her. However they could not forgive Hortense for sticking by her stephfather upon his return and consequently she had to leave.

To complicate matters even further, by the time of her excile she was pregnant. As she hadn't seen her husband for some years this pregnancy would cause scandal. So Hortense was happy to leave the country as soon as possible. The father of the illegitemate child was Charles de Flahaut, a dashing officer and an illegitemate son of French statesman Talleyrand. The child wasd born in Switzerland and was named Charles, after his father.

The child was taken to France where he was raised by his father and paternal grandmother. This Charles de Morny would later be created a duke by his half brother Napoleon III and would become one of France's most important statesmen during the second empire.

left:drawing of the first meeting of Hortense and Charles
right: painting of Charles de Flahaut

Short biography Hortense (IX)

Last years

In exile she started to write extensive mémoires. Her house became a center of French culture. She composed music and published her romances. She made drawings and painted. Established artists were fascinated by her and paid a visit to the exciled queen in Switzerland. Franz Liszt played there on her piano, the young writer Alexandre Dumas lay to her feet when she sang his favourite romance and the poet Lord Byron came and stay with her to. In 1837, the legendary Reine de Hollande died when she was 54 years old. The Dutch newspapers dedicated only three snetences to her death and funeral. According to her last wish her remains were transported from Arenenberg to the church of Rueil near Malmaison where she found an eternal peace on the side of her beloved mother Josephine.

Her youngest son inherited the ambition and strength of the Bonapartes and returned to Paris after the rule of the Bourbons(-Orleans) where he was elevated to emperor Napoleon III. As a national hymne he chose of the most popular romances which its mother Hortense the Beauharnais composed: 'Partir pour la Syrie'

left:painting of Hortense later in life
right: drawing of Hortense

Napoleon Charles and Napoleon Louis

More information on Napoleon Louis (from wikipedia)

Napoleon Louis Bonaparte (October 11, 1804 - March 17, 1831) was the middle son of Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland (aka Louis I of Holland), and Hortense de Beauharnais. His father was the younger brother of Emperor Napoleon I and king of Holland, while his mother was the daughter of Josephine de Beauharnais, Napoleon's first wife. Napoleon Louis's elder brother, Napoleon Charles, died in 1807, when he was only four years old. On his death, Napoleon Louis became Prince Royal of the Kingdom of Holland. It also made Napoleon Louis the eldest nephew of the Emperor, who that time had no children, and his heir apparent, a status he lost in 1811.

Read more on Napoleon Louis in this wikipedia article and read a very short biography of Napleon Charles in this wikipedia article

left: Napoleon Charles at the time of Napoleons coronation
right: Napoleon Louis as a young adult

Empress Eugenie

Empress Eugenie (from wikipedia)

Dona María Eugenia Ignacia Agustina de Palafox y Kirkpatrick, Countess de Teba, who became Empress Eugénie(May 5, 1826 - July 11, 1920) was Empress Consort of France (1853-1871), the wife of Napoleon III, emperor of the French.

The last Empress of the French was born in Granada, Spain to Don Cipriano de Palafox y Portocarrero 1785-1839, Count de Teba, Count de Montijo, marquis de Algava and duke of Peñaranda, a grandee of Spain, and his half-Scottish, half-Spanish wife, Maria Manuela Kirkpatrick, a daughter of the Scots-born William Kirckpatrick of Closeburn, who became U.S. Consul to Malaga and later was a wholesale wine merchant. Eugenia's older sister, María Francisca de Sales, also known as Paca (1825-1860), who inherited most of the family honours, married the Duke of Alba in 1849. Until her own marriage in 1853, Eugénie variously used the titles of countess of Teba or countess of Montijo, but some family titles were legally inherited by her elder sister, through which they passed to the House of Alba. After the death of her father Eugenia became 9th Countess of Teba, and is named as such in the Almanach de Gotha (1901 edition). After Eugenia's demise all titles of the Montijo family came to the Fitz-James's (the Dukes of Alba and Berwick). Eugénie de Montijo, as she became known in France, was educated in Paris, at the fashionable convent of the Sacre Coeur, where she received an indelibly Catholic training. When Prince Louis Napoleon became president of the Second Republic she appeared with her mother at the several balls given by the "prince-president" at the Elysee Palace, and it was there that she met the future emperor, whom she wed on January 30, 1853, not long after he had been rebuffed in his attempts to marry first Princess Carola of Vasa (later Queen of Saxony), a granddaughter of the deposed King of Swedeb and then Queen Victoria's teenage niece, Princess Adelheid of Hohenlohe-Langeburg.

Read more about Empress Eugenie of the French in this wikipedia article

above, left: Eugenie and her son Napoleon Eugene, by Winterhaller.
above, right: Eugenie by Winterhaller
below: Eugenie and her ladies, by Winterhaller. Eugenie is the lady in hwite and with a purple bowwho holds the flowers in her hand.


Charles de Morny

Charles de Morny (from wikipedia)

Charles Auguste Louis Joseph, duc de Morny (October 21, 1811 - March 10, 1865) was the natural son of Hortense and Charles Joseph, comte de Flahaut

He was born in Paris, and his birth was duly registered in a misleading certificate which made him the legitimate son of Auguste Jean Hyacinthe Demorny, described as a landowner of St. Domingo. M. Demorny was in fact an officer in the Prussian army and a native of St Domingo, though he owned no land there or elsewhere.
After a brilliant school and college career he received a commission in the army, and next year entered the staff college and became lieutenant. The comte de Morny, as he was called by a polite fiction, served in Algeria in 1834-35 as aide-de-camp to General Camille Alphonse Trezel, whose life he saved under the walls of Constantine.
When he returned to Paris in 1838 he secured a solid position in the business world by the establishment of a great beetroot-sugar industry at Clermont in Auvergne, and by writing a pamphlet Sur la question des sucres in 1838. In these and other lucrative speculations he was helped by the beautiful and wealthy wife of the Belgian ambassador, Charles Joseph, comte Lehon, until there were few great commercial enterprises in Paris in which he had not an interest.
Although he sat as deputy for Clermont-Ferrand from 1842 onwards he took at first no important part in party politics, but he was heard with respect on industrial and financial questions. He supported the government of Louis Philippe, because revolution threatened his commercial interests, but before the catastrophe of 1848, by which he was temporarily ruined, he meditated conversion to the legitimist cause represented by the comte de Chambord. His attitude was expressed by the mot with which he is said to have replied to a lady who asked what he would do if the Chamber were "swept out." "Range myself on the side of the broom handle," was his answer. Presently he was admitted to the intimate circle of Louis Napoleon, and he helped to engineer the coup d'état of December 2, 1851 on the morrow of which he received the ministry of the interior.

Read more about Charles de Morny in this wikipedia article


Main information of Lodewijk Napoleon

King Lodewijk Napoleon (from wikipedia)

Louis I Napoleon Bonaparte, King of Holland, Count of Saint-Leu (Lodewijk Napoleon in Dutch) (September 2, 1778July 25, 1846) was the fifth surviving child and fourth surviving son of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino.
Louis was born in Ajaccio, Corsica. He was a younger brother of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon I of France, Lucien Bonaparte and Elisa Bonaparte. He was an older brother of Pauline Bonaparte, Caroline Bonaparte and Jérôme Bonaparte.
His early career was spent in the army and he served with Napoleon in Egypt. Thanks to Napoleon he was a General by the age of 25, though he himself felt that he had been risen too far and too fast.

Read more about King Lodewijk Napoleon in this wikipedia article

below: some portraits of King Lodewijk I of Holland


Schloss Arenenberg

Schloss Arenenberg

Some paintings and pictures of Schloss Arenenberg, Switzerland where Hortense spent the last years of her life:


More information on Schloss Arenenberg and the Napoleontic museum can be found here.
Partant pour la Syrie

As said above, Hortense composed many songs and romances. Among them 'Partant pour la Syrie', which would become the national anthem of the second Empire. The melody, sheet music and more information can be found here.

Partant pour la Syrie

Le jeune et beau Dunois
Venait prier Marie
De bénir ses exploits.
Faites, Reine Immortelle,
Lui dit-il en partant,
Que j'aime la plus belle
Et sois le plus vaillant
Que j'aime la plus belle
Et sois le plus vaillant

Il écrit sur la pierre
Le serment de l'honneur
Et va suivre à la guerre
Le comte, son seigneur.
Au noble voeu fidèle,
Il dit en combattant :
Amour à la plus belle
Honneur au plus vaillant
Amour à la plus belle
Honneur au plus vaillant

On te doit la victoire
Vraiment ! dit le Seigneur,
Puisque tu fais ma gloire
Je ferai ton bonheur !
De ma fille Isabelle,
Sois l'époux à l'instant,
Car elle est la plus belle
Et toi le plus vaillant
Car elle est la plus belle
Et toi le plus vaillant

A l'autel de Marie,
Ils contractent tous deux
Cette union chérie
Qui seule rend heureux.
Chacun dans la chapelle
Disait en les voyant :
Amour à la plus belle
Honneur au plus vaillant
Amour à la plus belle
Honneur au plus vaillant.
Family portraits

Some more paintings of family members




Napoleon I:



Madame Mere:



Eugene de Beauharnais:



Auguste-Amalia (sister-in-law):

List of descendants

List of descendants of Louis and Hortense

Louis BONAPARTE, King of Holland 1806/1810, Count of St. Leu (Ajaccio 2/9/1778 - Leghorn 25/7/1846), m. Paris 4/1/1802 Hortense de BEAUHARNAIS (10/4/1783 - 5/10/1837)

1. Prince Napoleon Charles BONAPARTE, Crownprince of Holland (Paris 10/10/1802 - The Hague 5/5/1807)

2. Prince Napoléon Louis BONAPARTE, King of Holland, Grand-Duke of BERG and CLEVES, (Paris 11/10/1804 - Rome 17/3/1831), m. Brussels 23/7/1826 Charlotte
BONAPARTE (1802-1839)

3. Napoléon III BONAPARTE, (Paris 20/4/1808 - Chislehurt 9/1/1873), m. Paris 29/1/1853 Eugénie PALAFOX de GUZMAN PORTOCARRERO, Countess de TEBA, named
Eugénie de MONTIJO (5/5/1826 - 11/7/1920) - 1 enfant et 2 illégitimes:
  1. Louis Napoléon BONAPARTE, Prince Impérial - (Paris 16/3/1856 - 1/6/1879, dsp.)
  2. Eugène Alexandre Louis BURE, Count d'ORX - Ill. by Eleonore VEUGEOT-CAMUS, (Paris 25/2/1843 - 1910 dsp.)
  3. Louis Ernest Alexandre BURE, Count de LABENNE - Ill. by Eleonore VEUGEOT-CAMUS - (Paris 19/3/1845 - 1882 dsp.)
The descendants of Hortense and Charles de Flahaut can be found here.
As posted by Lucas on the Benelux Royals MB:

How King Lodewijk Napoleon left Holland in 1810
After just four years having been Holland's first king, during which Louis Napoleon Bonaparte tried to do as much as possible for his country - and was much respected by the Dutch for that -, he was forced by his brother Napoleon to abdicate.
Holland then was incorporated in the French empire and suffered heavily until the fall of the emperor himself.
The country, that had been the world's banker throughout the 18th century and had partly financed the Amnerican revolution, was now virtually bankrupt and it took the "tradesman" king Willem I, the first and last king of the united Netherlands (Holland and Belgium) to start building-up its fortunes again.

An interesting account of the contacts and correspondence of king Louis Napoleon with his brother, the emperor, as well as the text of his last intervention "Farewell to the people of Holland" can be found through the following link:
A very famous diamond has been named after Hortense, follow this link for more info.

And here a painting that was painted by Hortense:

A painting of Napoleon, Josephine and Hortense who seem to give an audience to a widow and her child. Maybe others have more information on this the story behind it?

A larger version of this portrait of Queen Hortense

And here a picture of Napoleon-Charles, found at the Alexanderpalace forums, originally posted by britt.

Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland

by Marengo

When on April 10 1783 Hortense Eugénie Cécile de Beauharnais was born, nothing indicated the tumultuous future that lay ahead. This girl would become stepdaughter of the Emperor of France, Queen of Holland, and mother of Emperor Napoleon III. Her name would be slandered, and she would end up exiled from France. She spent her final years living in relative obscurity, far from the seats of power, where she could indulge her artistic talents. Who was this unknown first Queen of Holland?

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to lucien: I was wondering where the Kings eldest son, the Emperor Napoleon III was burried? In England maybe?


And on another note, according to 'Rites of Piece' of Adam Zamoyski, Queen Hortense had an affair with Fuerst Metternich! Curious that in the Thera Coppens biography this is not mentioned. Note that Metternich certainly got his share as he also was involved with Caroline and Pauline Bonaparte, the Duchess of Sagan and Princess Catherine de Bagration.
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Yes,he and the Empress Eugenie are both buried in the St.Michel church,Farnborough as is their son Prince Eugène.
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Queen Hortense was an artistic woman being she wrote music and drew paintings and she was pretty too.
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