Napoleon II of France

Napoleon II of France

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Napoléon II 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
Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma
Marie Louise of Austria was the second wife of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French and later Duchess of Parma...

. By Title III, article 9 of the French Constitution
Constitution of the Year XII
The Constitution of the Year XII was a national constitution of France adopted during the Year XII of the French Revolutionary Calendar ....

 of the time, he was Prince Imperial, but he was also known from birth as the King of Rome
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

 which Napoleon I declared was the courtesy title
Courtesy title
A courtesy title is a form of address in systems of nobility used for children, former wives and other close relatives of a peer. These styles are used 'by courtesy' in the sense that the relatives do not themselves hold substantive titles...

 of the heir-apparent. When his father abdicated in April 1814, he named his son Emperor, but the coalition partners that had defeated Napoleon refused to acknowledge his son as successor and Napoleon II never actually reigned. Although he never actually ruled France, he was the titular Emperor and he is still generally referred to by historians as Napoleon II.

Biography



Napoléon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte was born at the Tuileries Palace
Tuileries Palace
The Tuileries Palace was a royal palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine until 1871, when it was destroyed in the upheaval during the suppression of the Paris Commune...

 in Paris to Emperor Napoleon I and his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria
Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma
Marie Louise of Austria was the second wife of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French and later Duchess of Parma...

 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
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

". Three years later, the First French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

, to which he was heir, collapsed. Napoleon abdicated the throne in favour of his toddler son, but the Allied Powers, at the insistence of the Emperor Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

, refused to recognise the three-year-old as monarch.

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
Château de Rambouillet
The château de Rambouillet is a castle in the town of Rambouillet, Yvelines department, in the Île-de-France region in northern France, southwest of Paris...

; then, fearing the advancing enemy troops, they continued on to the Château de Blois
Château de Blois
The Royal Château de Blois is located in the Loir-et-Cher département in the Loire Valley, in France, in the center of the city of Blois. The residence of several French kings, it is also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her...

. 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
Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Francis II was the last Holy Roman Emperor, ruling from 1792 until 6 August 1806, when he dissolved the Empire after the disastrous defeat of the Third Coalition by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz...

, 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.

In 1815, after his defeat at Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, Napoleon abdicated in favour of his son, whom he had not seen since his exile to Elba
Elba
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino. The largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba is also part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia...

, for a second time.

The day after Napoleon's abdication, a Commission of Government of five members took the rule of France, awaiting the return of King Louis XVIII
Louis XVIII of France
Louis XVIII , known as "the Unavoidable", was King of France and of Navarre from 1814 to 1824, omitting the Hundred Days in 1815...

, who was in Le Cateau-Cambrésis
Le Cateau-Cambrésis
Le Cateau-Cambrésis is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.The term Cambrésis indicates that it lies in the county of that name which fell to the Prince-Bishop of Cambrai.-History:...

. 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 four, 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
Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Francis II was the last Holy Roman Emperor, ruling from 1792 until 6 August 1806, when he dissolved the Empire after the disastrous defeat of the Third Coalition by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz...

), lived in Austria. He was awarded the title of Duke of Reichstadt
Zákupy
Zákupy is a town in the Česká Lípa District, Liberec Region of the Czech Republic. The number of inhabitants is 2,642.-History:The earliest preserved document where the city appears is from 1306....

in 1818.

Upon the death of his stepfather, Neipperg
Adam Albert von Neipperg
Adam Albert, Count von Neipperg was an Austrian general and statesman. The son of a diplomat, famous for inventing a letter-copying machine, and a French mother, he was the grandson of Wilhelm Reinhard von 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
Joséphine de Beauharnais
Joséphine de Beauharnais was the first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, and thus the first Empress of the French. Her first husband Alexandre de Beauharnais had been guillotined during the Reign of Terror, and she had been imprisoned in the Carmes prison until her release five days after Alexandre's...

 had been my mother, my father would not have been buried at Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Saint Helena , named after St Helena of Constantinople, is an island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha...

, and I should not be at Vienna. My mother is kind but weak; she was not the wife my father deserved".

He died of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 at Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial 1,441-room Rococo summer residence in Vienna, Austria. One of the most important cultural monuments in the country, since the 1960s it has been one of the major tourist attractions in Vienna...

 in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 on 22 July 1832.

Disposition of his remains



On 15 December 1940, the remains of Napoléon II were transferred from Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 to the dome of Les Invalides
Les Invalides
Les Invalides , officially known as L'Hôtel national des Invalides , is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's...

 in Paris. This was done as a gift to France by the German dictator Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. The remains of Napoleon I had been returned to France in December 1840, at the time of the July Monarchy
July Monarchy
The July Monarchy , officially the Kingdom of France , was a period of liberal constitutional monarchy in France under King Louis-Philippe starting with the July Revolution of 1830 and ending with the Revolution of 1848...

. 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
Ducal Crypt (Vienna)
The Ducal Crypt is a mausoleum under the chancel of the Stephansdom in Vienna, Austria. It holds 78 containers with the bodies, hearts, or viscera of 72 members of the Habsburg dynasty.-History:...

.

Legacy


Napoléon II was also known as "The Eaglet" (L'Aiglon). Edmond Rostand
Edmond Rostand
Edmond Eugène Alexis Rostand was a French poet and dramatist. He is associated with neo-romanticism, and is best known for his play Cyrano de Bergerac. Rostand's romantic plays provided an alternative to the naturalistic theatre popular during the late nineteenth century...

 wrote a play, L'Aiglon
L'Aiglon
L'Aiglon is a play in six acts by Edmond Rostand based on the life of Napoleon's son, Napoleon II of France, Duke of Reichstadt. The title comes from a nickname for Napoleon II, the French word for "eaglet" . The title role was created by Sarah Bernhardt in the play's premiere on 15 March 1900 at...

, about his life. Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

n composer Petar Stojanović
Petar Stojanovic
Petar Stojanović was a Serbian violinist and composer of operettas, ballets and orchestral music....

 composed the operetta Napoleon II: Herzog von Reichstadt, which premiered in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 in the 1920s. Arthur Honegger
Arthur Honegger
Arthur Honegger was a Swiss composer, who was born in France and lived a large part of his life in Paris. He was a member of Les six. His most frequently performed work is probably the orchestral work Pacific 231, which is interpreted as imitating the sound of a steam locomotive.-Biography:Born...

 and Jacques Ibert
Jacques Ibert
Jacques François Antoine Ibert was a French composer. Having studied music from an early age, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire and won its top prize, the Prix de Rome at his first attempt, despite studies interrupted by his service in World War I.Ibert pursued a successful composing career,...

 collaborated
Classical music written in collaboration
In classical music, it is relatively rare for a work to be written in collaboration by multiple composers. This contrasts with popular music, where it is common for more than one person to contribute to the music for a song...

 on an opera, L'aiglon, which premiered in 1937. Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys are an English electronic dance music duo, consisting of Neil Tennant, who provides main vocals, keyboards and occasional guitar, and Chris Lowe on keyboards....

 used him as an emblem of loneliness amid wealth in their 2009
2009 in music
The following is a list of notable events and releases in 2009 in music. Susan Boyle's album I Dreamed a Dream became the biggest selling album in the world for 2009, selling 8.3 million copies in five weeks; more than any other artist's in the whole year...

 track "King of Rome," on their album Yes
Yes (Pet Shop Boys album)
Yes is the tenth studio album by English electronic duo Pet Shop Boys. The album was recorded throughout 2008 and is produced by Brian Higgins and his production team Xenomania. Xenomania also co-wrote three of the tracks. Guitarist Johnny Marr and string arranger Owen Pallett appear as well...

. The journalist Henri Rochefort joked Napoleon II, having never really governed, was France's best leader, since he brought no war, taxes or tyranny.

Ancestry





Sources

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

External links


  • Spencer Napoleonica Collection at Newberry Library
    Newberry Library
    The Newberry Library is a privately endowed, independent research library for the humanities and social sciences in Chicago, Illinois. Although it is private, non-circulating library, the Newberry Library is free and open to the public...


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