Napoleon Charles Bonaparte was born December 10, 1802. He is the boy on the portrait here with his mother (figure 1). His title was Prince Royal of Holland. He wears a classic red velvet skeleton suit--the height of fashion in the early 19th century. The short sleeves were rather unusual. The two here make such a charming pair that it is sad to report that the boy died not too long after the portrait was painted. He was a sickly child and died at age 4 in his mother's arms at the Hague (May 5, 1807). His untimely death was a great tragedy for his parents, especially his mother, and the Bopnaparte family. When he died at 4½ years of age in 1807 of diphtheria. His parents reigned in Holand. The boy's body lay in state at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris--an indication of the importance given to the tragedy. and is buried at Saint-Leu-La-Foret, Ile-de-France. As was the custom in France unrtil recent years, Louis and Hortense named their third child born after Napoleon Charles' death, Charles-- Charles Louis Napoleon. He would become the third Bonaparte emperor of France.
A French reader tells us about the practice of nameing children after a brother or sister who passed away. "It was a common practice amoung French families to give the following child the same name as a dead brother or sister. So later our brother or sister who becomes an Angel has the responsibility to protect us. This was how I goy my name. Each Sunday I had to pray for him and I took this responsibility very seriously. I never forget to pray during the mass for my litlle brother whose my disappearance was a drama for my Mother. My Parents told me a long time later that he was dressed in a white satin tunic in his casket. It was during World War II and white child caskets were not vailable."
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