*** Frencvh Royalty: The Bonaparte Children--Caroline and Murat









European Royalty: The Bonaparte Children--Caroline (1782-1839)


Figure 1.--This portrait by François Gérard was done in the royal palace in Naples. It shows Napoleon's youngest sister Caroline, Queen of Naples with her four children. She is holding hands with Achille, her oldest son who is wearing a uniform. Lucien wears a red skeleton suit. Letizia and Louise wear white Empire dresses. The painting was probably done about 1810. Notice Mount Vecuvius in the background. No doubt where this portrit as painmted. It had to be Naples.

Caroline was the youngest of Napoleon's sisters. Caroline was bright and sought to improve her mind in an era that girls were not incouraged to read serious literature or engage in academic pursuits. Napoleon married her to one of his closest military commanders--General Joachim Murat (1800). Unlike the narriages of her sisters, this proved to be a warm and successful marriage, notable for the couple's fidelity. She was ambitious and gelped secure thecposition of governor of Paris, marshal of France for her huband (1804). The couple was given the Duchy of Berg (1806). Caroline became the Grand Duchess of Cleves and Berg. When her brother Joseoh was made King of Spain, Murat and Carlone were given Naples (1808), becoming king and queen. Murat was often away particiapting in her husband's campaigns. Unlike Eliza, Caroline prived both able and popular. Her relations with her brother, however, deteriorated as she got involved in the murky politics at the end of Napoleon's rule. This resulted in Murat's fall and execution (1815). Caroline sought refuge in Trieste, adopting the title comtesse de Lipona. Afyer Napoleon's fall from power, she moved to first Austria, but eventually returned to Italy. She died in Florence (1839). None other than Talleyrand paid her the compliment, "She has Cromwell's head on the shoulders of a pretty woman!" The couple had four children.

Parents


Siblings

Napoleon's parents had 13 children and eight survived to adulthood. Their father died in 1785. Napoleon as the eldest son thus became head of his large and demanding family. He assumed this responsibility with some dedication and soon as First Consul and then ruler and eventually emperor he was in a position to provide not only favors, but titles including royal titles to his family. He appointed his four brothers to important positions, making them kings, dukes, and counts. His sisters he married of to established Europeam royalty. History has not been particularly kind to Napoleon's brothers. Lucian is generally see as intelligent and an able administrator. Louis ruled competently in Holland, although irritating his brother. Basically the family seems to have been rather a hinderance and distraction rather than a help to the Emperor. Had the Emperor succeeded, the Bonaparte family would have been the rulers and govered the destiny of Europe.

Childhood

Caroline was the youngest of Napoleon's sisters. Caroline was bright and sought to improve her mind in an era that girls were not incouraged to read serious literature or engage in academic pursuits.

Joachim Murat (1767-1815)

Joachim Murat was the son of an inn keeoer who groomed him fir the priesthood. Upon the outbreak of the Revolutionm Murat entered the army. He became a dashing cavalry commander and one of the most trusted of Emperor Napoleon's marshalls. Murat joined the cavalry at age of 20. He helped suppress the Vendemaire coup which is wher he first fet Napoleon. He soon attached himself to Napoleon. He fought with Napoleon at Tagliamento in the Italian campaign (1796). Napoleon promoted him to general of brigade during the Egyptian campaign (1799). He is especially noted for handling French cavalry at Marengo. He olayed important roles at Austerlitz (1805) and Jena. His brilliant intervention at Eylau appears to have saved Bonaparte. His harsh sopression of the Madrid insurrection (1808) may have played a part in turning the French people violently against the French. He was recalled from Spain for health reasons and given kingdom of Naples. He joined the Emperor for the Russian campaign (1812). He fought at Ostronovo, Smolensk, Borodino, and Vinkovo. He took command of the latter stage of the retreat from Moscow after Napoleon departed. Murat was given a hopeless situation and the retreat was a disaster. He fought with the Emperor in Germany (1813) at Dresden, Wachau, and Leipzig. Seeing the ineviatable, he negotiated with the Austrians in an attempt to save his own throne. He attempted to aid Napoleon during the 100 Days' Campaign following the escape from Elba by organizing a revolt in northern Italy, but was unsuccessful. After Waterloo he gain attempted to regain his kingdom. He retired to Corsica and attempted to stage a rebellion. He was arrested and shot at Pizzo (1815).

Marriage

Napoleon married Caroline to one of his closest and most trusted military commanders--General Joachim Murat (1800). Unlike the marriages of her sisters, this proved to be a warm and successful marriage, notable for the couple's fidelity.

Children

The couple had four children that we know about.

Achille

Achille was their oldest child, seen here in a uniform (figure 1). Achille would begin the American branch of the Bonapartes when he married George Washington's grand-niece.

Lucien

Lucien named after his uncle is sittiong down on the train of his mother's elegant dress. Licien is wearing a red velvet skeleton suit.

Letizia

Lertizia is the child at right. She is wearing a classic white Empire dress.

Louise

Louise was the baby of the family. She is holding flowers presumably picked from the garden.

Ambitious Wife

She was ambitious and gelped secure the position of governor of Paris, marshal of France for her huband (1804).

Cleves and Berg

The couple was given the Duchy of Berg (1806). Caroline became the Grand Duchess of Cleves and Berg.

Naples

When her brother Joseoh was made King of Spain, Murat and Carlone were given Naples (1808), becoming king and queen. Murat was proclaimed Joaquim I King of the Two Sicilies. Murat and Caroline took possession of Naples. The Bourbons retained Sicily. Murat was often away particiapting in her husband's campaigns. Unlike Eliza, Caroline prived both able and popular.

Collapse of the Empire

Caroline's relations with her brother, however, deteriorated as she got involved in the murky politics at the end of Napoleon's rule. This resulted in Murat's fall and execution (1815). Caroline sought refuge in Trieste, adopting the title comtesse de Lipona.

Final Years

After Napoleon's fall from power, she moved to first Austria, but eventually returned to Italy. She died in Florence (1839). None other than Talleyrand paid her the compliment, "She has Cromwell's head on the shoulders of a pretty woman!"






HBRC








Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site royal pages:
[Return to the Main Bonaparte sibling page]
[Return to the Main royal pages]
[Austria] [Belgium] [Denmark] [France] [Germany] [Italy] [Italian states] [Luxenburg]
[Monaco] [Netherlands] [Norway] [Romania] [Russia] [Spain] [Sweden] [United Kingdom]



Created: April 19, 2004
Last updated: April 19, 2004