Laetitia Marie Wyse Bonaparte

Laetitia Marie Wyse Bonaparte

Mme. de Solms-Rattazzi-de Rute Lætitia Marie Wyse Bonaparte 1831 - 1902) was a French author, born in Northamptonshire, England. She was the granddaughter of Lucien Bonaparte by his second wife, through the marriage of his daughter Letizia to Sir Thomas Wyse, an Irishman and Member of Parliament. However, she was born after Letizia had been separated from her husband for three years, and it was said that her father was Letizia's paramour, an Irish captain named Hodgson.

In 1848, aged seventeen, Marie married Frédéric de Solms, a rich gentleman from Strasbourg who soon left her to go to America. Marie, known as the Princess de Solms, remained with her mother, who kept a brilliant salon in Paris frequented by Victor Hugo, Eugene Sue, the younger Alexandre Dumas, and other writers.

In the early 1850s Marie had an affair with Count Alexis de Pommereu that produced a son in 1852. In February 1853 the French authorities ordered her expulsion from the Empire, after accusations that she had illegally taken the name Bonaparte and had stirred up "scandalous disorders." There were however reports that the Emperor Napoleon III had secretly paid a number of visits to his beautiful young cousin, that the jealous Empress Eugenie had learned of the visits and told her husband that Marie maintained a salon of subversives, and that he had thereafter ordered her expulsion.

In August 1853 Marie settled at Aix-les-Bains in Savoy, then a part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, where her friend Pommereu built her a chalet that soon became the center of a new literary salon. She went often to Turin, capital of the kingdom, where she established yet another salon at the Hotel Feder. She maintained friendships with Hugo, Sue, Dumas, and others including Lajos Kossuth, Alphonse de Lamartine, Hughes Felicité Robert de Lamennais, Victor Henri Rochefort, Marquis de Rochefort-LuCay, Tony Revillon, and the American minister to the Kingdom of Sardinia, John Moncure Daniel.

In 1859 Napoleon III's profligate cousin, Prince Napoleon, was betrothed to Clotilde, the 15-year-old daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele II. This was done as part of an agreement concluded by the King's prime minister, Count Cavour, to guarantee French support for Sardinia in the oncoming war to free northern Italy from Austrian occupation. Turin society was scandalized when the Princess de Solms flaunted the Emperor by appearing at the betrothal ball on the arm of U.S. Minister Daniel. The King, unhappy with the betrothal, was secretly pleased.

Through Sainte Beuve, Marie contributed to the "Constitutionnel" under the pen name of Baron Stock. After Savoy was annexed to France (1860) as another part of the agreement between Napoleon III and Cavour, Marie went back to Paris where she played a prominent part in the literary and social events of the time. In 1863, her husband having died, she married Italian statesman Urbano Rattazzi, and lived with him in Italy. After he died, she returned to Paris, and a few years later married Señor de Rute, a Spaniard whom she also outlived.

Her writings consists of miscellaneous sketches, verses, plays, and novels, such as "Si j'etais reine" (1868) and "Les marriages de la créole" (1866), reprinted under the title "La chanteuse" (1870). Her 1867 novel "Bicheville," a thinly disguised attack on the society of Florence, capital of the new Kingdom of Italy, caused serious embarrassment to Rattazzi, who was serving as prime minister of the Kingdom.


Bridges, Peter. Pen of Fire: John Moncure Daniel (Kent, Oh.: Kent State University Press, 2002)

Dictionnaire du Second Empire (Paris: Librairie Artheme Fayard, 1995), 1205

Grand Dictionnaire Universel du XIX Siecle (Larouse) (Paris: Slatkine, 1982), 13:730

* Grierson, "Parisian Portraits" (New York, 1913)

External links

* cite book
title=Cara patria
author=Marie Letizia (Bonaparte-Wyse) Rattazzi, Marie Rattazzi
publisher=Librairie des bibliophiles

* cite book
title=Eugène Sue, photographié par lui-même
author=Marie Rattazzi, Eugène Sue, Marie Letizia Bonaparte-Wyse Rattazzi, Mme de Solms puis Mme Urbain Rattazzi puis Mme Luis de Rute, Marie Letizia Bonaparte-Wyse Rattazzi
publisher=C.-L. Sabot

* cite book
title=Les mariages de la créole
author=Marie Letizia Bonaparte-Wyse Rattazzi, Marie Rattazzi

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