The Info List - Napoleon II

--- Advertisement ---

Napoléon François Charles Joseph Bonaparte
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 son of 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
Edmond Rostand
play, L'Aiglon. When 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 Napoleon
II 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 acknowledge Napoleon
II and his brief reign.


1 Biography

1.1 Birth 1.2 Succession rights 1.3 Reign 1.4 Life in Austria

2 Death

2.1 Disposition of his remains

3 Legacy 4 Titles, styles, arms and honours

4.1 Titles and styles 4.2 Honours 4.3 Coat of arms

5 Ancestry 6 Sources 7 References 8 External links


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Empress Marie-Louise and her son Napoleon, King of Rome (by François Gérard, 1813)

Birth[edit] 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 baptism) by Joseph Fesch
Joseph Fesch
with his full name of Napoleon
François Charles Joseph.[1] 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 Dame de Paris
cathedral.[1] 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.[1]

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.[1]

Succession rights[edit] 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, collapsed. Napoleon
saw his second wife and their son for the last time on 24 January 1814.[2] 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. Reign[edit] On 29 March 1814, accompanied by her suite, Marie Louise left the Tuileries Palace
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.[3] 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,[4] awaiting the return of King Louis XVIII, who was in Le Cateau-Cambrésis.[5] 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 Napoleon

Portrait by Moritz Daffinger

Life in Austria[edit] 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. By 1820, 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 with 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.[6] 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".[7]

Portrait on his death bed, engraved by Franz Xaver Stöber

Death[edit] 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 tuberculosis at Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace
in Vienna.[8] 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 empire as Napoleon
III. Disposition of his remains[edit]

Tomb of Napoleon
II at Les Invalides, Paris

On 15 December 1940, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
ordered the remains of Napoleon
II to be transferred from Vienna
to the dome of Les Invalides
Les Invalides
in Paris.[9][10] The remains of Napoleon
I had been returned to France
in December 1840, at the time of the July Monarchy.[11] 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.


II was also known as "The Eaglet" (French: L'Aiglon). In 1900, Edmond Rostand
Edmond Rostand
wrote a play, L'Aiglon, about his life. Serbian composer Petar Stojanović composed the operetta Napoleon
II: Herzog von Reichstadt, which premiered in Vienna
in the 1920s. Victor Tourjansky
Victor Tourjansky
directed a French-language film titled L'Aiglon
in 1931, and he also directed a separate German-language version. Arthur Honegger
Arthur Honegger
and Jacques Ibert
Jacques Ibert
collaborated on an opera, L'Aiglon, which premiered in 1937. The journalist Henri Rochefort
Henri Rochefort
joked that Napoleon
II, having never really governed, was France's best leader, since he brought no war, taxes or tyranny.[12] Neil Tennant
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 Napoleon
II. Dean M. Drinkel and Romain Collier wrote the feature film script "The Tragedy Of The Duke Of Reichstadt", which won two screenplay awards at the 2016 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.[13] 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[edit] Titles and styles[edit]

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 French

22 July 1818 - 22 July 1832: His Serene Highness The Duke of Reichstadt

in pretense: 7 July 1815 - 22 July 1832: His Imperial Majesty Emperor Napoleon


 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[edit]

King of Rome

Emperor of the French
Emperor of the French
(titular ruler)

Duke of Reichstadt [14] (1818–32)


Ancestors of Napoleon

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

2. 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

1. 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

28. Charles III of Spain
Charles III of Spain
(= 26)

14. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies

29. Maria Amalia of Saxony
Maria Amalia of Saxony
(= 27)

7. Maria Teresa of the Two Sicilies

30. Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
(= 24)

15. Marie Caroline of Austria

31. 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. Retrieved 2012-08-28.  ^ 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. p. 279.  ^ "(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