Article “The French Foreign Legion in the First and Second World Wars” Louis Blanchard was mentioned, who in 1940 entered the Foreign Legion and fought in its ranks against Germany.
The real name of this man is Louis Jerome Victor Emmanuel Leopold Maria Napoleon. Until his death (which followed in 1997), he called himself Emperor Napoleon VI. He was forced to take a different name because in France there was a law on the expulsion of members of the royal and imperial families, repealed only in 1950. After the surrender of France, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte participated in the Resistance movement. On August 28, 1944, the car in which he was in a serious accident: out of seven people, only one survived - he himself. After recovery, he joined the Alpine division, in which he ended the war.
However, many consider the last officially recognized legal heir to the Bonaparte family to be another person who died in June 1879. He was the son of Napoleon I’s nephew, Charles Louis Napoleon, better known as Napoleon III. This man, who never became Napoleon IV, will be described in the article, but first we will talk about the children of the great emperor of the French.
As you know, the first child of Napoleon I Bonaparte was Charles, born December 13, 1806 from the fleeting romance of the emperor with Eleanor Denuel de la Plenier, who was a friend of Carolina Bonaparte and, according to rumors, the lover of her husband, Joachim Murat.
Unbekannter Künstler. Eleonore Denuelle de La Plaigne (1787-1868)
This boy received the title of Count Leon.
It is believed that it was Charles’s birth that prompted Napoleon to think about a divorce from Josephine: he was convinced that he could have children, and he passionately wanted to become the father of a legitimate offspring who would become the heir to his empire.
Napoleon cooled almost immediately to Eleanor, having bought off from her with an annual maintenance of 22 thousand francs, and allocated another 30 thousand a year to Charles.
With his son, who turned out to be very similar to him both in appearance and temperament (but he didn’t inherit his father’s abilities), he sometimes met in Tuileries, where the boy was specially brought in to meet with him.
In February 1808, Eleanor married Lieutenant Pierre-Philippe Augier, who went missing in Russia during the crossing of the Berezina. Her next husband was the Bavarian Earl Karl-August von Luxburg, who at one time served as ambassador to Paris. This marriage was concluded in 1814 and lasted as long as thirty-five years.
In a will drawn up on the island of St. Helena, Napoleon allocated 300 thousand francs to his first-born. Charles, who was noted for his obsessive behavior, quickly squandered them and in 1838 even ended up in a debt prison. He also did not work out with studies and service: he could not finish his studies at the University of Heidelberg, he was dismissed from the post of commander of the battalion of the National Guard of Saint-Denis for "neglect of duties."
But he became famous for the duel in which in 1832 he killed in the Vincennes forest Karl Hesse - the same illegitimate prince, only English, who was adjutant of Wellington and cousin of the future Queen Victoria. In the meantime, he visited England, where he met with his cousin (future Emperor Napoleon III) and also nearly got into a duel with him. The fight did not take place due to the fact that the rivals could not agree on a choice weapons: Charles insisted on pistols¸ and the seconds of the enemy brought two swords. They argued for so long that they caught the attention of the police. Personally, I have this история recalled the unsuccessful duel between M. Voloshin and N. Gumilyov, who contrived to quarrel over the nonexistent poetess Cherubina de Gabriak, whose mask, as it later turned out, was hiding Elizaveta Dmitrieva. Gumilyov was late because his car was stuck in the snow, but Voloshin came even later, because along the way he lost one of his galoshes and looked for her for a very long time (and earned the nickname “Vax Kaloshin” in St. Petersburg). Gumilyov did not hit the opponent, Voloshin shot in the air.
For Charles Leon, a failed duel with the future emperor ended in deportation to France, where he began to sue his mother, forcing her to pay him a maintenance of 4000 francs a year. He tried to engage in literary activities and even wrote to Pope Pius IX a letter in which he offered himself as a contender for the “position” of the King of Rome.
After the cousin still came to power in France, Charles came to him, demanding for himself some “dust-free” position, but he limited himself to the appointment of a pension of 6000 francs and one-time allocated another 255 francs. Charles quickly squandered the money. Feeling the approach of old age, he married his mistress (daughter of the former gardener of the count), with whom he lived for 000 years (and during this time she managed to give birth to 9 children). He died at the age of 6 on April 75, 14. The family did not have money for his burial, and therefore the first son of the great emperor of France was buried at the expense of the municipality of Pontoise.
Napoleon’s second son, Alexander-Florian-Joseph Colonna-Walewski, was born on May 4, 1810 from a young Polish countess (a little more than a month after Napoleon’s marriage with Maria-Louise of Austria, daughter of Emperor Franz I).
Robert Lefebvre. Portrait of Countess Maria Valevskaya
J. Rouget. The wedding of Napoleon and the Archduchess Duchess Maria Louise in the Carre salon in the Louvre. 1810
When six months later, Mary and her son arrived in Paris, Napoleon did not spare money and ordered her to be allocated a monthly maintenance of 10 thousand francs. Nevertheless, he did not begin to detain the former mistress in Paris: the countess left for Warsaw, and the next (and last) time Napoleon saw his son only 4 years later - on the island of Elba.
In September 1816, Maria married Philippe-Antoine d'Ornano, a former colonel of the guard of her royal lover, and in December 1817 she died after giving birth.
In 1820, her son Alexander was sent to study at one of Geneva's private schools, returning to Warsaw, he did not accept the offer of Grand Duke Constantine to become his adjutant and lived as a private person under the tacit supervision of the police (after all, everyone remembered who his father was) . But this observation was purely formal, it was very bad, and in 1827 Alexander fled to France, where he contacted emigrants and three years later took part in the Polish uprising of 1830-1831, and after losing the rank of captain, he entered the service to the French army. He turned out to be smarter and more capable of his older brother Charles, and therefore, having retired in 1837, he made a good career in the diplomatic field. His affairs went especially well after the accession of Napoleon III, in which he consistently served as ambassador to Florence, Naples and London, and in May 1855 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was Alexander Walewski who became the chairman at the Paris Congress of 1856, at which the results of the Crimean War were discussed. Then he received the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor. Later, he served as president of the Legislative Corps and was a member of the Academy of Fine Arts.
Bonaparte's second son was married to the Italian countess Maria Anne di Ricci, who also had Polish roots - she was the great-granddaughter of the last king of Poland, Stanislav Augustus Poniatowski.
He died on September 27, 1868, before he reached the time of the war with Prussia and the collapse of the empire, which was unfortunate for France and its influential relative.
But the only legitimate son of Napoleon I was Eaglet - Napoleon Francois Joseph Charles Bonaparte, born March 28, 1811 in Tuileries from the second wife of the emperor - Maria Louise of Austria.
Immediately after birth, he was proclaimed heir to the empire and received the title of Roman king.
"The king of Rome is sleeping on his father’s lap in his study in the Tuileries." Colorized lithograph by Karl von Steiben
George Rouget. "King of Rome at the Tuileries." Ajaccio, Musee Fesch
After his father abdicated, the boy was transported to Vienna, where he was forced to speak only German and was called Franz, Duke of Reichstadt.
He grew up a very painful child, but, as was then customary in noble families, from the age of twelve he was enlisted in military service. By 1830, Bonaparte’s son had already managed to “rise” to the rank of major, by this time he had four orders: the Grand Cross of the Royal Hungarian Order of St. Stephen, the large cross of the Italian Order of the Iron Crown, the Order of the Legion of Honor and the Order of St. George of Constantine (Duchy of Parma) .
Thomas Lawrence. "Napoleon II in childhood"
For some time he was even considered as a candidate for the “post” of the King of Belgium, but this proposal caused a sharp rejection in Paris, London and Vienna.
He died in Schönbrunn on July 22, 1832 at the age of 21, presumably from scarlet fever. In Bonapartist circles, rumors immediately began about possible poisoning: this unfortunate young man was too uncomfortable for everyone, who, during his lifetime, "was guarded as carefully as they guard a desperate criminal."
There was also a legend that Napoleon, who had fled from St. Helena (supposedly managed to be replaced by a double), when he learned of his son’s poor health, tried to enter Schönbrunn on the night of September 4, 1823, but was shot dead by a sentry. Someone really tried to climb over the fence, he didn’t have any documents, his body was buried in an anonymous grave in the castle.
Napoleon III later sought to transfer the ashes of this young man to Paris, wanting to bury him in the House of Invalids, but the emperor Franz Joseph rejected him, saying that the son of the Austrian princess lies where he should be: between the tombs of his mother and grandfather.
However, Hitler, after the surrender of France, wanted to like his new subjects so much that he ordered the remains of Napoleon II to be returned to Paris, leaving only his heart in Vienna.
It is curious that Marshal Peten, whom Hitler personally invited to the ceremony of the reburial (held December 15, 1940), refused to come, suspecting that the Fuhrer wanted to lure him out of Vichy in order to arrest him. It was said that the offended and wounded Hitler shouted in anger then: “This is insulting - so do not trust me when I have such good intentions!”
Well, what can you do, Adolf? You had such a reputation.
"A little prince"
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. Napoleon Eugene, Prince of the Empire, with a dog. Orsay Museum, Paris
After the death of Napoleon III (January 9, 1873), his son Napoleon IV Eugene Louis Jean Bonaparte, the granddaughter of the first of Bonaparte, became the heir to the vacant imperial throne of France. The mother of this prince was Maria Eugenia Ignacia de Montijo de Teba - a beauty of "complex origin", whose family was Spaniards, French and Scots, but her contemporaries called her Spanish.
F.K. Wintergalter. Napoleon IV in childhood with his mother, Empress Eugenia
Our hero’s grandmother was credited with an affair with Prosper Merime, and some even considered the future Empress Eugene the daughter of this writer.
It is interesting that by the standards of that time, the beauty of Eugenia Montijo could not be called a reference: more magnificent forms were appreciated. But it was she who, becoming the Empress, set a new trend: since then, much more attention has been paid to the slimness of the female figure. In addition, she introduced fashion for relaxing on the coasts and ice skating.
Many associate the appearance of modern Paris with the activities of the prefect of the city - Baron Osman and Napoleon III, but there is evidence that the empress was a real ally and even co-author of Osman - the emperor limited himself to putting his signature on the documents.
Marriage to the newly made emperor Maria Eugenia entered on January 30, 1853. The only child of this couple was born on March 16, 1856, before that Napoleon I’s younger brother Jerome (Girolamo) was considered the official heir to the throne, who in Westphalia (whom he had been a monarch for some time) was called the “merry king” and was called "King Yeryomoy."
Pope Pius IX became (in absentia) the godfather of the new heir, and J. Strauss wrote the quadrille Prince Imperial on this occasion.
Napoleon IV 1855
The boy, who was often called Lulu at court, received a good education, showed a special inclination for mathematics, in addition to the French language, he knew English and Latin well.
Eugene Louis Napoleon at the age of 8, 1864
It seemed that nothing could prevent the new Napoleon in the future to become emperor.
The Four Napoleons. Empire II era poster
After the Crimean War, France claimed to be the leading power in Europe, and Paris was the capital of world fashion and a center of attraction for wealthy lovers of a “beautiful life” of all nationalities.
However, Napoleon III allowed France to be drawn into a conflict with Prussia, the cause of which was the dynastic crisis in Spain and the desire to prevent the election of Leopold Hohenzollern as king of this country. The matter was complicated by the warlike mood of the emperor’s inner circle, who, not realizing that the balance of power in Europe had irreversibly changed not in France’s favor, stubbornly wished to organize a new victorious war. The phrase of Minister of War Leboeuf: “We are ready, we are completely ready, everything is in order in the army, right up to the last button on the leggings of the last soldier” went down in history as an example of egregious arrogance and incompetence.
Edmond Leboeuf, 1809-1888, Marschall of France and minister of war, illustrated war history, German
The story about this war is beyond the scope of this article, let’s just say that the 14-year-old “prince of the empire” went to the front with his father and on August 2 even fired a symbolic shot from a gun in the direction of the Prussian positions near Saarbrücken.
Eugene Louis Napoleon at the age of 14, 1870
But everything ended, as you know, with the catastrophic defeat of France, the surrender of troops at Sedan (September 1, 1870) and Metz (October 29), the capture of the emperor, the revolution and the siege of Paris.
As a result, the Second Empire ceased to exist, and the failed heir was forced through Belgium to go to Britain, where he settled in Camden House (now this area is already within London).
In January 1873 Napoleon III, expelled from France, died, after which the Bonapartists of this country began to consider his son to be the legitimate candidate for the throne. Upon reaching 18 years, he was officially declared the head of the Bonaparte's house. In addition to the Bonapartists, representatives of the Legitimist party, who nominated Count Heinrich de Chambord, the grandson of Charles X, wanted to see his candidate on the French throne, but the latter lost all chances, abandoning the “revolutionary” three-color banner in 1873. After his death, the opinions of the Legitimists were divided: the majority wanted to see Louis Philippe Albert of Orleans on the throne, the Count of Paris - the grandson of Louis Philippe I. Others fantasized about the accession to the throne of the Spanish prince Juan Monteson (who also claimed the Spanish throne).
But it was precisely the chances of the “Prince Lulu” that were rated the highest in Europe: they even negotiated his marriage with Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria's youngest daughter.
Eugene Louis Napoleon, 1878
In the meantime, the prince graduated from a military college in Woolwich (1878) and enlisted in the British army as an artillery officer. \
The point, of course, was not in obtaining a livelihood: from a candidate for the French throne and a descendant of the great Bonaparte, they expected some military feat. This would contribute to the growth of his popularity at home and facilitate the path to election to the throne. Therefore, Napoleon Eugene Louis Bonaparte went to the very first war, which turned out to be the Anglo-Zulu war (started in 1879). Nobody expected any feats from the “wild natives”, besides, the British commander-in-chief Lord Chelmsford received a strict order from this prince and not to let him near the front line, but he was sure to present some military award before he returned to Europe.
The Zulus, however, were not so simple: in the first major battle near the Isandlwan hill, they defeated Colonel Dernford's detachment on January 22, destroying about 1300 Englishmen (although they themselves lost about 3 thousand). Then they defeated the British twice in March (12th and 28th), but on the 29th they were defeated at Kambula, on April 2 at Gingindlovu, and after that they only suffered defeats.
The war was already ending, a little more than a month before the fall of the “capital” of the Zulus - the royal kraal (type of settlement) of Ulundi.
In general, it was time for the prince to at least symbolically participate in the hostilities. And therefore, he was allowed to "walk" with a detachment of scouts lieutenant Carey (8 people) through the territory on which Zulu warriors had never met before and therefore was considered militarily safe.
On June 1, 1879, this detachment entered the borders of Zululand and, not finding anything interesting, settled down on a halt near an abandoned kraal on the banks of the Itotosi River. This kraal could look something like this:
The British were so careless that they did not even put up military guard. And they were attacked by the suddenly appearing Zulus, of whom there were about 40 people. The attackers were armed with traditional spears, which the Zulu called “ilkva”, and the Europeans - Assegay (that’s why the Zulu warriors were often called “spearmen”): longer spears were used to throw at the enemy, short ones were used for hand-to-hand fighting.
Having jumped on their horses, the British tried to break through, but the prince was not lucky: his horse jumped before he managed to get into the saddle, and he had to hang on it like a circus, clinging to a truncated holster. But it was still not a circus, and the leather belt was torn, unable to bear the weight of his body. He managed to shoot a pistol he had only once, and then the running Zulus threw spears at him: later, 18 wounds were counted on his body, and a wound in his right eye was fatal.
The corpse was so disfigured that the prince's mother, Eugene Montijo, identified her son only by the old scar on her hip.
Together with the prince, two British soldiers were killed in this unexpected skirmish. Lieutenant Carey and the four remaining soldiers with him could not help or (given the balance of power) did not want to.
The death of the head of the Bonaparte house made a great impression in Europe. His body was delivered to England, Queen Victoria, her son Edward, Prince of Wales, all representatives of the Bonaparte imperial house and several thousand Bonapartists, for whom the death of the prince actually meant the collapse of all hopes and expectations, attended the funeral.
In memory of the "little prince" was dedicated to one of his poems Oscar Wilde, who for some reason decided that the "heir to the imperial family" was not killed by a spear, but "fell from a bullet of a dark enemy." Hint of Zulus skin color?
Eugene Montijo survived her son for almost 50 years. Forgotten by everyone, she died in 1920. In 1881, she founded St. Michael's Abbey in Farnborough, Hampshire, where her husband and son were reburied in one of the crypts, and then she herself.
Sarcophagus of Napoleon, Prince Imperia
Now the heirs of the imperial house of Bonaparte are the descendants of the younger brother of Napoleon I - Jerome. However, they have not claimed power in France for a long time.