Beauharnais, Joséphine de

ROYAL CONSORT (FRANCE)
BORN 23 Jun 1763, Fort de France, Martinique - DIED 29 May 1814, Malmaison (near Rueil)
REAL NAME Tascher de la Pagerie, Marie-Josèphe-Rose de
GRAVE LOCATION Rueil-Malmaison: St. Pierre - St. Paul

Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie came from Martinique to France to marry general Alexandre de Beauharnais in 1779. They had a son and a daughter, Eugène and Hortense. In 1788 she visited Martinique with Hortense. In 1790 she returned to France and she would set foot on Martinique afterwards.

Her husband was accused of cowardness and executed in 1794. She was imprisoned at the former Carmelite Monastery and almost met the same fate, but just before she was executed the terror came to an end and she was released in August, 1794. She went to live at the rue de l'Université and probably general Hoche became her lover. In August 1795 she moved to the rue Chantereine.

In 1796 she married Napoleon Bonaparte, who adopted her children and treated them as if they were his own. During their marriage she had many affairs with other men, among them Joachim Murat and Hippolyte Charles, an army officer. Charles followed her to Milan in 1797 and visited her when Bonaparte was away. When Napoleon wanted to take her to Egypt in 1798 she cried all the way to Toulon and Napoleon finally decided to leave her behind. Soon her lover Charles was with her again.

She became empress of France at the side of her husband in 1804, but Napoleon divorced her in 1810 because she couldn't bear him any children and he needed an heir. After the divorce she lived at Malmaison (near Paris). When she died in 1814 she was buried not far from there, at the St. Pierre and St. Paul church in Rueil.

Family
• Daughter: Beauharnais, Hortense de
• Son: Beauharnais, Eugène Rose de, Duke of Leuchtenberg
• Husband: Napoleon I Bonaparte (1796-1809, Paris: Mairie of the 2nd Arrondissement) (divorce)

Related persons
• was sculpted by Cartellier, Pierre
• was visited by Denon, Dominique Vivant, Baron de
• was written about by Ducrest, Georgette
• knew Ducrest, Georgette
• was painted by Gérard, François Pascal Simon, baron
• was painted by Gros, Antoine-Jean
• was the lover of Murat, Joachim, king of Naples
• was painted by Prud'hon, Pierre-Paul

Events
1779/11/10: Joséphine de Beauharnais arrives in Paris
At that time her name was still Tascher de Pagerie. She was sixteen years old and came from Martinique, where she grew up on her father's plantation.
1788/7/2: Joséphine de Beauharnais leaves for Martinique
She had her daughter Hortense with her and left on the ship Sultan. The ship was almost wrecked when it was still on the river Seine.
1788/8/11: Joséphine de Beauharnais reaches Martinique
She visited the island where she was born with her daughter Hortense. It was the last time that she would set foot on Martinique.
1790/11/0: Joséphine de Beauharnais returns in France
She had visited Martinique and missed the French Revolution.
1794/4/19: Arrest warrant issued against Joséphine de Beauharnais
It was issued by the Committee for National Safety that had received an anonymous letter containing accusements.
1794/4/21: Joséphine de Beauharnais is imprisoned
She was locked up in the former Carmelite monastery, that now served as a prison. A few weeks before her husband Alexandre was also imprisoned. She was living seperately from Alexandre at the time.
1794/8/6: Order for release issued for Joséphine de Beauharnais
It was signed by Jean Tallien, whom she had met the year before. It was the fall of Robespierre on 27 Jul 1794 that saved her from the guillotine.
1796/2/9: The engagement of Napoleon Bonaparte and Joséphine de Beauharnais is made public
1796/3/9: Napoleon Bonaparte marries Joséphine de Beauharnais
1798/5/4: Napoleon leaves Paris for the Middle East
His wife Joséphine accompanied him.
1798/5/9: Napoleon embarks on the admiral's ship L'Orient
He embarked for Egypt. His wife Joséphine cried all the way to Toulon because she didn't want to go and finally Bonaparte decided to leave her in France.
1798/9/0: Napoleon sees Pauline Fourès and is impressed
He gave order to find out who she was and managed to make her his mistress. For this purpose he sent her husband to Paris without her. The affair comes at a good moment because his prestige has suffered from the infidelity of his own wife Joséphine.
1809/12/14: Napoleon divorces Joséphine de Beauharnais
On this date they both agreed to the annulment of their civil marriage. The Roman Catholic marriage was annulled on 9 Jan 1810.

Sources
• Breton, Guy, Histoires d'Amour de L'Histoire de France 7, Presses Pocket, Paris, 1965
• Orlandi, Enzo en Mario Rivoire (ed.), Onsterfelijke Vrouwen (deel 1), Spaarnestad, Haarlem, 1969
• Knapton, Ernest John, Empress Josephine, Penguin books, Harmondsworth, 1974

Images

Malmaison, where Joséphine de Beauharnais lived after Napoleon had divorced her.
Picture by Androom (09 Mar 1995)

 

Joséphine de Beauharnais' bedroom at Malmaison, also the room where she died.
Picture by Androom (09 Mar 1995)

 

The monument in marmer for Joséphine de Beauharnais by Pierre Cartellier at the St. Pierre-St. Paul church, Rueil.
Picture by Androom (09 Mar 1995)

 

Close up of the monument for Joséphine de Beauharnais at the St. Pierre-St. Paul church, Rueil. It was sculpted in marmer by Pierre Cartellier.
Picture by Androom (09 Mar 1995)

 

The St. Pierre-St. Paul church at Rueil-Malmaison, where Joséphine de Beauharnais and her daughter Hortense were buried.
Picture by Androom (09 Mar 1995)

 

"Límpératrice Joséphine" by Antoine-Jean Gros.
(1808)

 

"The Empress Joséphine" by Robert Lefèbvre.
(1806)

 


Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 26 Nov 2016