History meme - NAPOLEON was one of the greatest military leaders in history and emperor of France, he conquered much of Europe. Napoleon Bonaparte was born on 15 August 1769 in Corsica into a gentry family. Educated at military school, he was rapidly promoted and in 1796, was made commander of the French army in Italy, where he forced Austria and its allies to make peace. In 1798, Napoleon conquered Ottoman-ruled Egypt in an attempt to strike at British trade routes with India. He was stranded when his fleet was destroyed by the British at the Battle of the Nile.
France now faced a new coalition - Austria and Russia had allied with Britain. Napoleon returned to Paris where the government was in crisis. In a coup d’etat in November 1799, Napoleon became first consul. In 1802, he was made consul for life and two years later, emperor. He oversaw the centralisation of government, the creation of the Bank of France, the reinstatement of Roman Catholicism as the state religion and law reform with the Code Napoleon. In 1800, he defeated the Austrians at Marengo. He then negotiated a general European peace which established French power on the continent. In 1803, Britain resumed war with France, later joined by Russia and Austria. Britain inflicted a naval defeat on the French at Trafalgar (1805) so Napoleon abandoned plans to invade England and turned on the Austro-Russian forces, defeating them at Austerlitz later the same year. He gained much new territory, including annexation of Prussian lands which ostensibly gave him control of Europe. In 1810, he had his childless marriage to Josephine de Beauharnais annulled and married the daughter of the Austrian emperor in the hope of having an heir. A son, Napoleon, was born a year later. Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 resulted in a disastrous retreat. The tide started to turn in favour of the allies and in March 1814, Paris fell. Napoleon went into exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba. In March 1815 he escaped and marched on the French capital. The Battle of Waterloo ended his brief second reign. The British imprisoned him on the remote Atlantic island of St Helena, where he died on 5 May 1821.
Detail of a portrait of Empress Josephine in coronation robes, showing her slippers.
The ones depicted in the portrait seem to be quite different than the ones she actually wore, shown below.
→ The coronation of Louis XVI
While traveling from Compiègne to Frismes—where His Majesty spent the night on 8 June–, the King received the most dazzling, the most sincere and already the most deserved proof of love from His Peoples. The King left Frismes on 9 June to go to the City of Reims, and He arrived there in a ceremonial coach, accompanied by Monsieur, Monseigneur the Count of Artois, the Duke of Orléans, the Duke of Chartres, and the Prince of Condé. After the Duke of Bourbon, Governor of Champagne, gave him the keys of the city, the King entered Reims escorted by the troops of the royal household and made his way through a People intoxicated with joy—which did not decrease but rather intensified as the procession moved along. His Majesty entered the metropolitan church, where he was greeted by the Archbishop-Duke of Reims—who was at the head of his Chapter—and listened to the Te Deum. After the Benediction, the King withdrew to the archbishop’s palace where all the Nobles complimented Him. The next day, the King listened to the first Vespers in the Cathedral, and on Sunday, June 11th, around seven o’clock, His Majesty—with the greatest pomp—went back to the same Church and was crowned in the usual ways. The Queen arrived accompanied by Madame [Elizabeth, the King’s sister], and despite the fact that she remained incognito, she was delighted at the most vivid expressions of love the French Nation devoted to her. She attended all the august ceremonies of this sacred feast. A stand had been set up for Her, Madame Clotilde and Madame Elizabeth. At that point some interesting details were removed and will be talked about in a more lengthy Report. The King gave permission to the Marquess of la Tour du Pin to take the name of the Marquess of Gouvernet—who requested it in his Will. His Majesty also allowed the Count of Charce, his son, to take the name of the Marquess of la Tour du Pin. (x)
An 18th century marriage contract between two aristocrats, signed by the following members of the Royal Family on August 10th, 1771:
Louis XV, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, the Comte and Comtesse de Provence, the Comte d’Artois, Madame Adelaide, Madame Sophie, Madame Elisabeth and Madame Clotilde.
The groom is Louis Alexandre Celeste Aumont [1736-1814], descendant of an ancient family whose service to the king can be traced to the Crusades, and himself a decorated member of the royal cavalry. The bride, Antoinette Marguerite Henriette de Mazade, was the young daughter of a rich financier who makes very generous provisions for his daughter and son-in-law in this document.
(Click the signatures to see them enlarged, or you can go to the site. I find it oddly adorable to see Elisabeth’s so big and scrawled across the page, she would only have been seven at the time.
It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she had just begun to move in, glittering like the morning star full of life and splendour and joy.
Oh, what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honour, and of cavaliers! I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.
But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom! The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone. It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.
The ring placed on the finger of Empress Joséphine at her coronation - an immense ruby set in gold.
Emperor Napoleon III and son, Prince Imperial Napoleon Eugene. Mids 1850s
Queen Maria Amalia of the French, with her children Henry of Orleans, Duke of Aumale and Antoine of Orléans, Duke of Montpensier. Louis Hersent, 1835.
Louis Joseph Xavier Francois de France, the second child and first son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, died on June 4th, 1789 due to complications from tuberculosis. He was seven years old.
The long awaited first son, heralded by his father to his mother with the words, “Madame, you have fulfilled our wishes and those of France, you are the mother of a Dauphin,” was succeeded in title by his four year old brother, Louis Charles.
history meme - eight kings/queens (1/9)
• Marie Antoinette
Born on November 2, 1755, in Vienna, Austria, Marie Antoinette helped provoke the popular unrest that led to the French Revolution and to the overthrow of the monarchy in August 1792, in part with her famous quote addressing the starving French populace: “Let them eat cake.” As a 20-year consort to Louis XVI, she was beheaded nine months after he was, on October 16, 1793, by order of the Revolutionary tribunal.
However: The phrase “Let them eat cake” is often attributed to Marie Antoinette, but there is no evidence she ever uttered it, and it is now generally regarded as a “journalistic cliché”. It may have been a rumor started by angry French peasants as a form of libel. This phrase originally appeared in Book VI of the first part (finished in 1767, published in 1782) of Rousseau’s putative autobiographical work, Les Confessions.