Saturday, September 25, 2010

Napoleon II François / Franz

Cradle especially made for the son of Napoleon by the city of Paris
(Imperial Treasury Vienna) (photo by RfA)

Napoleon’s first marriage didn’t produce an heir. When his Polish mistress became pregnant he decided to divorce and remarry. Only the Russian and the Austrian imperial families were considered suitable to marry the French emperor. He tried to marry the young sister of the Tsar, Anna Paulowna, but this proposal was refused.

Image of Napoleon II on a glass (Wien Museum)

He then succeeded in marrying Marie Louise, daughter of the Austrian emperor. In 1811 their son Napoleon François Bonaparte was born. In 1814, when Napoleon was exiled, Marie Louise and her son fled to Vienna. In 1816 Marie Louise went to live in Parma, leaving her son (renamed Franz) in the hands of his grandfather in Vienna.

He grew up lonely at the Schönbrunn palace, one of his few friends was a crested lark. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 21 in 1832 (obituary). He is laid to rest near his father in Paris.


  1. That's a sad story for Napoleon II. Sometimes fame (or infamy?) can be the strongest cage of all.

  2. Or it is used as a way of existence by otherwise talentless people (like this Kimmy Kardashian girl I recently heard of).


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