Great Love Napoleon and Josephine before Online Dating
Napoleon and Josephine met prior to online dating. They met at a party given by Director, Paul Barras. Ironically, Marie-Josephe-Rose de Beuharnais was Paul Barras mistress at the time. The truth can be stranger than fiction. Napoleon a young French general and Josephine established in French society met and the rest is history.
Josephine (1763-1814) born Caribbean island Martinique to a wealthy sugar plantation family. In 1779 she was taken to France by her father. That same year she married Alexandre Beauharnais. They had two children a son, Eugene and daughter, Hortense. Hortense would later marry Napoleon’s brother Louis Bonaparte in 1802. Josephine’s first husband was guillotined during the Reign of Terror. Widowed with two small children Josephine became the mistress to several leading political figures. For Josephine to maintain the life style in which she was accustomed she would have to marry well or be a mistress of men of money and influence.
Josephine was the current mistress of Director, Paul Barras. Paul Barras has grown wary of Josephine and wanted a new mistress. Napoleon Bonaparte was his opportunity. Napoleon was a young and brilliant general. He was looking for a wife of status. He had won the battle of Toulon and had saved the Directory from the mob. Paul Barras invited, Napoleon to a party give by the Directory in 1975. Napoleon and Josephine met. Josephine was encouraged by Barras to flatter and entertain Napoleon. Josephine did not realize Paul Barras had alternative motivates. Napoleon was smitten and falling in love with Josephine.
He pursued Josephine’s hand in marriage. Josephine was not impressed with Napoleon as a future lover or husband. Napoleon’s pursue of Josephine was encouraged by Paul Barras. When Josephine refused Napoleon’s marriage proposal Barras informed her that he would not longer financially support her and her children. Without Barras support Josephine could find herself penniless. O.K. her mind was made up Napoleon and Josephine married 1796. Two days after their wedding Napoleon left for a campaign in Italy. He sent her several love letters expressing his love and asked Josephine to join him in Italy. She refused and had several extramarital affairs while he was in Italy. Finally, Josephine did visit Napoleon in Italy. After the Italian Campaign Napoleon returned home still madly in love. Josephine on the other hand still felt him a bore.
During the Egyptian campaign 1978 Napoleon learned about Josephine’s extramarital affairs. Her unfaithfulness destroyed his emotionally and he never loved Josephine in the pure genuine way he once had. During the Egyptian campaign he took a mistress and continued to have mistresses throughout his marriage to Josephine. In 1804 Napoleon said, “Power is my mistress.”
When Napoleon returned from Egypt he was determine to divorce Josephine. Josephine a women of her time had escaped the guillotine and persuaded Napoleon that they should remain husband and wife. The tables had turned, Napoleon was now the unfaithful husband and Josephine was madly in love and became the faithful wife. Napoleon was no longer deeply in love with Josephine but had a deep devotion to her and her children. He recognized her ability has a hostess and her influence in furthering his political ambitions.
On 1804 at Notre Dame de Paris, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of French and Josephine became the Empress. Royals marry to increase power and for male heirs. Napoleon one of the greatest general of all times had conquered most of Europe except for England and Russia. He needed a wife that could bare a male heir. Josephine was six year older than Napoleon and was barren.
A New Marriage for Napoleon could:
- Strengthen alliances with another world power.
- A marriage to nobility legitimize Napoleon’s claim to royalty.
- Provide a young wife that could bare a male heir.
Josephine agreed to divorce Napoleon January 1810 and he married 18 year old Marie-Louise of Austria that same year. Marie-Louise was a member of the House of Habsburg. In 1811 she gave birth to Napoleon’s son, Napoleon II. In 1814 Napoleon Bonaparte was forced to abdicate and was exiled to Elba. Marie Louise with her son returned to Austria and never saw Napoleon again.
Napoleon and Josephine remained in love until both of their deaths. Napoleon no longer had the burning passionate love for Josephine but a respected love. She retained the title of Empress and he provided for her and her children after the divorce. It is rumored that the last words he uttered was Josephine and her last words were Napoleon.
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