Napoléon François Charles
Joseph Bonaparte (20 March 1811 –
22 July 1832), Prince Imperial, King of Rome, known in the Austrian
court as Franz from 1814 onward, Duke of Reichstadt from 1818, was the
Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, and his second wife,
Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria.
By Title III, article 9 of the French Constitution of the time, he was
Prince Imperial, but he was also known from birth as the King of Rome,
which Napoleon I declared was the courtesy title of the heir
apparent. His nickname of
L'Aiglon ("the Eaglet") was awarded
posthumously and was popularized by the
Edmond Rostand play, L'Aiglon.
Napoleon I abdicated on 4 April 1814, he named his son as
Emperor. However, the coalition partners that had defeated him refused
to acknowledge his son as successor; thus
Napoleon I was forced to
abdicate unconditionally a number of days later. Although
never actually ruled France, he was briefly the titular Emperor of the
French in 1815 after the fall of his father. When his cousin
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte became the next emperor by founding the
Second French Empire
Second French Empire in 1852, he called himself
Napoleon III to
Napoleon II and his brief reign.
1.2 Succession rights
1.4 Life in Austria
2.1 Disposition of his remains
4 Titles, styles, arms and honours
4.1 Titles and styles
4.3 Coat of arms
8 External links
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Empress Marie-Louise and her son Napoleon, King of Rome (by François
Napoleon was born on 20 March 1811 at the Tuileries Palace, son of
Napoleon I and Empress Marie Louise. On the same day he was ondoyed (a
traditional French ceremony which is considered a preliminary, brief
Joseph Fesch with his full name of
Charles Joseph. The baptism, inspired by the baptismal ceremony of
Louis, Grand Dauphin
Louis, Grand Dauphin of France, was held on 9 June 1811 in the Notre
Paris cathedral. Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg,
Austrian ambassador to France, wrote of the baptism:
The baptism ceremony was beautiful and impressive; the scene in which
the emperor took the infant from the arms of his noble mother and
raised him up twice to reveal him to the public [thus breaking from
long tradition, as he did when he crowned himself at his coronation]
was loudly applauded; in the monarch's manner and face could be seen
the great satisfaction that he took from this solemn moment.
He was put in the care of Louise Charlotte Françoise Le Tellier de
Montesquiou, a descendant of François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de
Louvois, who was named Governess of the Children of France.
Affectionate and intelligent, the governess assembled a considerable
collection of books intended to give the infant a strong grounding in
religion, philosophy and military matters.
As the eldest legitimate son of
Napoleon I, he was already
constitutionally the Prince Imperial and heir apparent, but the
Emperor also gave his son the style of King of Rome.
Three years later, the First French Empire, to which he was the heir,
Napoleon saw his second wife and their son for the last
time on 24 January 1814. On 4 April 1814,
Napoleon abdicated in
favour of his three-year-old son after the
Six Days' Campaign
Six Days' Campaign and the
Battle of Paris. The child became
Emperor of the French
Emperor of the French under the
regnal name of
Napoleon II. However, on 6 April 1814,
Napoleon I fully
abdicated and renounced not only his own rights to the French throne,
but also those of his descendants. The Treaty of Fontainebleau in 1814
gave the child the right to use the title of Prince of Parma, of
Placentia, and of Guastalla, and his mother was styled the Duchess of
Parma, of Placentia, and of Guastalla.
On 29 March 1814, accompanied by her suite, Marie Louise left the
Tuileries Palace with her son. Their first stop was the Château de
Rambouillet; then, fearing the advancing enemy troops, they continued
on to the Château de Blois. On 13 April, with her suite much
diminished, Marie Louise and her three-year-old son were back in
Rambouillet, where they met her father, the Emperor Francis I of
Austria, 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,
Napoleon I abdicated for the
second time in favour of his four-year-old son, whom he had not seen
since his exile to Elba. 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, who was in Le
Cateau-Cambrésis. The Commission held power for two weeks, but
never formally summoned
Napoleon II as Emperor or appointed a regent.
The entrance of the Allies into
Paris on 7 July brought a rapid end to
his supporters' wishes.
Napoleon II was residing in Austria with his
mother and was probably not aware at the time that he had been
proclaimed Emperor on his father's abdication.
The next Bonaparte to ascend the throne of
France would be
Louis-Napoleon, the son of Napoleon's brother Louis I, King of
Holland, in 1852. He took the regnal name of
Portrait by Moritz Daffinger
Life in Austria
From the spring of 1814 onwards,
Napoleon lived in Austria and was
known as "Franz", his second given name. In 1818, he was awarded the
title of Duke of Reichstadt by his maternal grandfather, Emperor
Francis. He was educated by a staff of military tutors and developed a
passion for soldiering, dressing in a miniature uniform like his
father's and performing maneuvers in the palace. At the age of 8, it
was apparent to his tutors that he had chosen his career.
Napoleon had completed his elementary studies and begun his
military training, learning German, Italian and mathematics as well as
receiving advanced physical training. His official army career began
at age 12, in 1823, when he was made a cadet in the Austrian Army.
Accounts from his tutors describe
Napoleon as intelligent, serious and
focused. Additionally, he was a very tall young man: he had grown to
nearly 6 feet by the time he was 17.
His budding military career gave some concern and fascination to the
monarchies of Europe and French leaders over his possible return to
France. However, he was allowed to play no political role and instead
was used by Austrian Chancellor
Klemens von Metternich
Klemens von Metternich in bargaining
France to gain advantage for Austria. Fearful of anyone in the
Bonaparte family regaining political power, Metternich even rejected a
request for Franz to move to a warmer climate in Italy. He received
another rejection when his grandfather refused to allow him to be part
of the army traveling to
Italy to put down a rebellion.
Upon the death of his stepfather, Adam Albert von Neipperg, and the
revelation that his mother had borne two illegitimate children to him
prior to their marriage, Franz grew distant from his mother and felt
that his Austrian family were holding him back to avoid political
controversy. He said to his friend, Anton von Prokesch-Osten, "If
Josephine had been my mother, my father would not have been buried at
Saint Helena, and I should not be at Vienna. My mother is kind but
weak; she was not the wife my father deserved".
Portrait on his death bed, engraved by Franz Xaver Stöber
In 1831, Franz was given command of an Austrian battalion, but he
never got the chance to serve in any meaningful capacity. In 1832, he
caught pneumonia and was bedridden for several months. His poor health
eventually overtook him and on July 22, 1832, Franz died of
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. He left no issue;
thus the Napoleonic claim to the throne of
France passed to his
cousin, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, who later successfully restored the
Disposition of his remains
Napoleon II at Les Invalides, Paris
On 15 December 1940,
Adolf Hitler ordered the remains of
to be transferred from
Vienna to the dome of
Les Invalides in
Paris. The remains of
Napoleon I had been returned to
December 1840, at the time of the July Monarchy. For some time,
the remains of the young prince who had briefly been an emperor rested
beside those of his father. Later, the prince's remains were moved to
the lower church.
While most of his remains were transferred to Paris, his heart and
intestines remained in Vienna, which is traditional for members of the
Habsburg house. They are in Urn 42 in the "Heart Crypt" (Herzgruft)
and his viscera are in Urn 76 of the Ducal Crypt.
Napoleon II was also known as "The Eaglet" (French: L'Aiglon). In
Edmond Rostand wrote a play, L'Aiglon, about his life.
Serbian composer Petar Stojanović composed the operetta
Herzog von Reichstadt, which premiered in
Vienna in the 1920s.
Victor Tourjansky directed a French-language film titled
1931, and he also directed a separate German-language version.
Arthur Honegger and
Jacques Ibert collaborated on an opera, L'Aiglon,
which premiered in 1937.
Henri Rochefort joked that
Napoleon II, having never
really governed, was France's best leader, since he brought no war,
taxes or tyranny.
Neil Tennant of the
Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys wrote the lyrics of the song King of
Rome, on their album Yes, referring to
Dean M. Drinkel and Romain Collier wrote the feature film script "The
Tragedy Of The Duke Of Reichstadt", which won two screenplay awards at
Monaco International Film Festival and which goes into
production in 2018.
He was noted for his friendship with Sophie, a Bavarian princess of
the House of Wittelsbach. Intelligent, ambitious and
strong-willed, Sophie had little in common with her husband Franz
Karl. There were rumors of a relationship between Sophie and Franz, as
well as the possibility that Sophie's second son, Maximilian I of
Mexico (born 1832), was the result of their reciprocal involvement.
Titles, styles, arms and honours
Titles and styles
20 March 1811 - 6 April 1814: His Imperial Highness The King of Rome
6 April 1814 - 22 July 1818: His Serene Highness The Prince of Parma,
of Placentia, and of Guastalla
20 March 1815 - 22 June 1815: His Imperial Highness The Prince
Imperial of France
22 June 1815 - 7 July 1815: His Imperial Majesty The Emperor of the
22 July 1818 - 22 July 1832: His Serene Highness The Duke of
in pretense: 7 July 1815 - 22 July 1832: His Imperial Majesty Emperor
Austrian Empire: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint
Stephen of Hungary
France: Grand Eagle of the Legion of Honour
Kingdom of Italy: Order of the Iron Crown, 1st Class
Duchy of Parma: Knight Grand Cross of the Sacred Military
Constantinian Order of Saint George
Coat of arms
King of Rome
Emperor of the French
Emperor of the French (titular ruler)
Duke of Reichstadt  (1818–32)
16. Sebastiano Nicolo Buonaparte
8. Giuseppe Maria Buonaparte
17. Maria-Anna Tusilo di Bocognano
4. Carlo Buonaparte
18. Giuseppe Maria Paravicini
9. Maria Saveria Paravicini
19. Maria-Angela Salineri
Napoleon I, Emperor of the French
20. Giovanni-Agostino Ramolino
10. Giovanni Geronimo Ramolino
21. Angela-Maria Peri
5. Letizia Ramolino
22. Giuseppe Pietrasanta
11. Angela Maria Pietrasanta
23. Maria Giuseppa Malerba
Napoleon II, Emperor of the French
24. Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
12. Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
25. Maria Theresa of Austria
6. Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
26. Charles III of Spain
13. Maria Louisa of Spain
27. Maria Amalia of Saxony
3. Marie Louise of Austria
Charles III of Spain
Charles III of Spain (= 26)
14. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Maria Amalia of Saxony
Maria Amalia of Saxony (= 27)
7. Maria Teresa of the Two Sicilies
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor (= 24)
15. Marie Caroline of Austria
Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa of Austria (= 25)
Welschinger, Le roi de Rome, 1811–32, (Paris, 1897)
Wertheimer, The Duke of Reichstadt, (London, 1905)
^ a b c d "
Napoleon II: King of Rome, French Emperor, Prince of Parma,
Duke of Reichstadt". The
Napoleon Foundation. napoleon.org. March
2011. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
^ "Château de Fontainebleau". Musee-chateau-fontainebleau.fr.
^ G. Lenotre, le Château de Rambouillet, six siècles d'histoire, ch.
L'empereur, Éditions Denoël, Paris, 1984 (1930 reedition), pp.
126–133, ISBN 2-207-23023-6.
^ "(N.275.) Arrete par lequel la Commission du Gouvernement se
constitue sous la présidence M. le Duc d'Otrante". Bulletin des lois
de la République française (in French). 23 June 1815.
^ "(N. 1.) Proclamation du Roi". Bulletin des lois de la République
française (in French). 25 June 1815. p. 1.
Napoleon II Biography
^ Markham, Felix, Napoleon, p. 249
^ Altman, Gail S. Fatal Links: The Curious Deaths of