Napoleon II, Duke of Reichstadt

NOBLEMAN (FRANCE)
BORN 20 Mar 1811, Paris - DIED 22 Jul 1832, Schönbrunn
REAL NAME Bonaparte, Napoléon François Charles Joseph
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Dôme des Invalides

Son of Napoleon I Bonaparte and Maria Louise of Austria. As heir-apparent he had the courtesy title King of Rome. He was also known as "L'Aiglon" ("The Baby Eagle")

In 1814, when he was only three years old, his father abdicated in his favour. His mother took him to the Château de Blois, until Napoleon I regained power. Buy after 100 days he was forced to abdicate again in favour of his son. He was recognized by the parliament as emperor on 22 Jun 1815, but the Allies ended this situation as soon as they entered Paris on 7 Jul 1815 and the Bourbons were restored on the throne of France.

His mother took little interest in him and on 30 Jun 1815 she gave him over to Count Dietrichstein, who was to take care of his education. This task was assigned to Matthaeus von Collin during the same year. He was taken to Austria where he was called Franz and lived like a prince as well as like a hostage. In 1818 he was appointed Duke of Reichstadt.

He was lonely and unhappy at the Austrian court. There he knew Sophia of Bavaria, who was married to the weak archduke Franz Karl. On 21 May 1832 she wrote in a letter to her mother that Franz was sick of tuberculosis and that she was afraid he might die before she would return from giving birth to her child. At the time there was talk that Franz might be the father of the child (Maximilian, who would be the luckless emperor of Mexico one day). She met him again on 4 Jul 1832, two days before Maximilan was born and unfortunately her fears were justified: Franz died on 22 Jul 1832. There was talk that he was poisoned, but this was never proven.

In 1940 Adolf Hitler transferred his remains from Vienna to Paris, where he was buried in the lower church of the Dôme des Invalides, not far from his father. His heart and intestines are still at the Ducal Crypt in Vienna. In 1852 Napoleon I's nephew Louis Napoleon came to power in France. He decided that he would be Napoleon III himself and that Reichstadt should be called Napoleon II.

Family
• Father: Napoleon I Bonaparte
• Mother: Marie Louise d'Autriche, Impératrice des français

Related persons
• was a friend of Prokesch von Osten, Anton, Graf von

Sources
• Haslip, Joan, Imperial Adventurer: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, and his Empress, Cardinal, London, 1974
• Thompson, J.M., Louis Napoleon and the Second Empire, Norton, New York, 1967

Images

Napoleon II was buried at the Dôme des Invalides, Paris.
Picture by Androom (17 Nov 2006)

 


Napoleon III Bonaparte, Empereur des Français

Published: 17 Dec 2006
Last update: 17 Dec 2006