Napoleon II


Napoleon II
Napoleon II
Emperor of the French
Reign 22 June 1815 – 7 July 1815
(15 days)
Predecessor Napoleon I
as Emperor of the French; Napoleon II's succession was not officially proclaimed as the Bourbon Restoration was proclaimed immediately after the abdication of Napoleon I.
Successor Louis XVIII
as Bourbon king of France
Duke of Reichstadt
Reign 1818-1821
Predecessor Ferdinand, Duke of Parma
Successor Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès
Full name
Napoléon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte
Father Napoleon I
Mother Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma
Born 20 March 1811(1811-03-20)[1]
Tuileries Palace, Paris, France Flag of France.svg
Died 22 July 1832(1832-07-22) (aged 21)
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg

Napoléon II (20 March 1811 – 22 July 1832), after 1818 known as Franz, Duke of Reichstadt, was the son of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, and his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria. By Title III, article 9 of the French Constitution of the time, he was Prince Imperial, but he was also known from birth as the King of Rome which Napoleon I declared was the courtesy title of the heir-apparent. His father abdicated in his favour after the Battle of Waterloo, thereby transferring to him the title of Emperor of the French, in 1815. Although he never actually ruled France, he was the titular Emperor and he is still generally referred to by historians as Napoleon II.

Contents

Biography

Napoleon, as Duke of Reichstadt in Austrian military uniform (Painting by Moritz Daffinger)

Napoléon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte was born at the Tuileries Palace in Paris to Emperor Napoleon I and his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria in 1811. As Napoleon I's eldest legitimate son, he was already constitutionally Prince Imperial and heir-apparent, but the Emperor also gave his son the style "His Majesty the King of Rome". Three years later, the First French Empire, to which he was heir, collapsed. Napoleon wanted to abdicate the throne in favour of his toddler son, but the Allied Powers, at the insistence of the Emperor Alexander I of Russia, refused.

On 29 March 1814, accompanied by her suite, the empress left the Tuileries Palace with her son. Their first stop was the Château de Rambouillet; then, fearing the advancing enemy troops, they continued on to the Château de Blois. On 13 April, with her suite much diminished, Marie-Louise and the three-year-old King of Rome were back in Rambouillet where they met her father, the Emperor Francis II of Austria, and the Emperor Alexander I of Russia. On 23 April, escorted by an Austrian regiment, mother and son left Rambouillet and France forever, for their exile in Austria.[2]

In 1815, after his defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon abdicated in favour of his son, whom he had not seen since his exile to Elba.

The day after Napoleon's abdication, a Commission of Government of five members took the rule of France,[3] awaiting the return of King Louis XVIII, who was in Le Cateau-Cambrésis.[4] The Commission held the power for two weeks, and it never summoned Napoleon II as emperor, and no regent was ever appointed. The entrance of the Allies into Paris on 7 July brought a rapid end to his supporters' wishes. Napoleon II, aged 4, was residing in Austria with his mother and was probably never aware at the time that he had been proclaimed Emperor on his father's abdication. The next Bonaparte to come to the throne of France (in 1852) took the name Napoleon III in deference to his cousin's titular reign.

After 1815, the young prince, now known as "Franz" (after his maternal grandfather, Emperor Francis of Austria), lived in Austria. He was awarded the title of Duke of Reichstadt in 1818.

Upon the death of his stepfather, Neipperg, and the revelation that his mother had borne two illegitimate children to him prior to her marriage, Franz said to his friend, Prokesch von Osten, "'If Josephine had been my mother, my father would not have been buried at Saint Helena, and I should not be at Vienna. My mother is kind but weak; she was not the wife my father deserved".[5]

He died of tuberculosis at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna on 22 July 1832.[6]

Disposition of his remains

Tomb of Napoleon II in Les Invalides, Paris

On 15 December 1940, the remains of Napoléon II were transferred from Vienna to the dome of Les Invalides in Paris. This was done as a gift to France by the German dictator Adolf Hitler.[7][8] The remains of Napoleon I had been returned to France in December 1840, at the time of the July Monarchy.[9] For some time, the young prince who had briefly been an Emperor rested beside his father. Later the remains of the prince were moved to the lower church. While most of his remains were transferred to Paris, his heart and intestines remained in Vienna. They are in Urn 42 in the "Heart Crypt" (Herzgruft) and his viscera are in Urn 76 of the Ducal Crypt.

Legacy

Napoléon II was also known as "The Eaglet" (L'Aiglon). Edmond Rostand wrote a play, L'Aiglon, about his life. Serbian composer Petar Stojanović composed the operetta Napoleon II: Herzog von Reichstadt, which premiered in Vienna in the 1920s. Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert collaborated on an opera, L'aiglon, which premiered in 1937. Pet Shop Boys used him as an emblem of loneliness amid wealth in their 2009 track "King of Rome," on their album Yes. The journalist Henri Rochefort joked Napoleon II, having never really governed, was France's best leader, since he brought no war, taxes or tyranny.[10]

Ancestry

Sources

  • Welschinger, Le roi de Rome, 1811-32, (Paris, 1897)
  • Wertheimer, The Duke of Reichstadt, (London, 1905)

References

Coat of arms of the Duke of Reichstadt
  1. ^ http://www.nndb.com/people/345/000086087
  2. ^ G. Lenotre, le Château de Rambouillet, six siècles d'histoire, ch. L'empereur, Éditions Denoël, Paris, 1984 (1930 reedition), pp. 126-133, ISBN 2-207-23023-6.
  3. ^ Act of settlement of the Commission, June 23. (French)
  4. ^ Proclamation of the king, June 25. (French)
  5. ^ Markham, Felix, Napoleon, p. 249
  6. ^ Altman, Gail S. Fatal Links: The Curious Deaths of Beethoven and the Two Napoleons (Paperback). Anubian Press (September 1999). ISBN 1-888071-02-8
  7. ^ Poisson, Georges, (Robert L. Miller, translator), Hitler's Gift to France: The Return of the Ashes of Napoleon II, Enigma Books, ISBN 9781929631674, ISBN 1929631677 (Synopsis & Review by Maria C. Bagshaw).
  8. ^ Poisson, Georges, Le retour des cendres de l'Aiglon, Édition Nouveau Monde, Paris, 2006, ISBN : 2-847361847 (French)
  9. ^ Driskel, Paul (1993). As Befits a Legend. Kent State University Press. p. 168 ISBN 0873384849
  10. ^ Leo A. Loubere, Nineteenth-Century Europe: The Revolution of Life, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, p. 154.

External links

Media related to Napoleon II of France at Wikimedia Commons

Napoleon II
Born: 20 March 1811 Died: 22 July 1832
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
— TITULAR —
Emperor of the French
22 June 1815 – 22 July 1832
Succeeded by
Joseph Bonaparte
French royalty
Preceded by
Joseph Bonaparte
Heir to the Throne
as Heir apparent
20 March 1811 — 11 April 1814
Succeeded by
Charles, Count of Artois
Preceded by
Charles, Count of Artois
Heir to the Throne
as Heir apparent
20 March 1815 — 22 June 1815
Succeeded by
Joseph Bonaparte



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