Napoleon III Bonaparte

BORN 20 Apr 1808, Paris: Hôtel de la reine Hortense, 8 Rue Cerruti (now: 17 Rue Laffitte) - DIED 9 Jan 1873, Chislehurst, Kent: Camden Place
BIRTH NAME Bonaparte, Charles Louis Napoleon
CAUSE OF DEATH bladder stone (consequences of operation)
GRAVE LOCATION Farnborough, Hampshire: Abbey Church of St. Michael

Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was the son of Louis Bonaparte (the King of Holland) and Hortense the Beauhanais. Napoleon I was his uncle. After the death of his elder brothers he inherited the Bonaparte claim to the throne of France. He tried a coup d'état in 1836 but it failed miserably and he was put on the ship Andromède that took him to Norfolk. He enjoyed himself for a while in New York, but when his friend Dr. Conneau sent him message that his mother Hortense was dying ('Venez, venez!') he took the ship George Washington to London. Using a Swiss passport he travelled incognito to Arenenberg. The French agents that were put on his track failed to stop him and he reached Hortense in time on August 4th, 1837. She died two months later.

In 1840 his second coup d'état failed as well and this time Louis Napoleon was imprisoned for life at the Ham fortress. There he taught his parlourmaid Alexandrine orthography and she gave him two children in return. On May 20th, 1846 he sent her away and six days later he escaped by walking out of the fortress in a disguise. By the time it was noticed he was already on a ship to London. After the revolution of 1848 he came to Paris and the National Assembly granted him permission to stay. Soon he was elected in parliament and in December he was elected president with a huge majority over Cavaignac. When he visited his old prison at Ham in 1849 it was inhabited by Bou-Maza, an Arabian who had fought against the French. Louis ordered his release.

On December 2nd of 1851 he imprisoned many of his opponents and this third coup d'état succeeded. 'His' senate invited him to become emperor and a in a referendum his plan was approved by the French people with an enormous majority. On December 2nd of 1852 the empire was restored and he took the name Napoleon III, with due respect to the first Napoleon's son who never ruled France at all. On January 30th of 1853 he married Eugénie de Montijo, who provided him with an heir in 1856.

Although he was by no means a brilliant military strategist like his famous uncle, he enjoyed some military successes in the Crimean War as well as against the Austrians. Under his reign France was modernized in many ways. In 1862 Maximilian of Austria became emperor of Austria under protection of French troops. When Louis Napoleon wouldn't continue the French military presence in Mexico in 1867, Maximilian refused to give up his throne. Soon afterwards he was captured and executed by his rebellious opponents.

For Louis Napoleon this was the beginning of the end. His health started to fail and he tried to liberalize his empire in order to preserve it for his son. But in 1870 he was outwitted by Bismarck's secret diplomacy and under pressure of the public opinion he felt forced to declare war on Germany. It soon became clear that he was completely misinformed about the strenght of his army by his military staff and defeat became inevitable. Louis Napoleon decided to join the troops himself, but his personal courage was to no avail. He surrendered at Sédan on September 1st, 1870 and was taken to Germany as a prisoner of war. The French refused to accept his capitulation and overthrew his empire. This eventually resulted in the disastrous defeat of 1871 and the loss of Elsace-Lorraine.

As a prisoner of war, Louis Napoleon lived for a while at Wilhelmshöhe near Kassel. Ater his release in March 1871 he spent his last few years in England. He died after a gall-stone operation and was buried at St Mary's Catholic Church in Chislehurst. Later, Eugénie decided to build a monastery and a chapel in Farnborough and in 1888 his remains were were taken there as well as those of his son who had been killed by the Zulus in 1879 in South Africa.

• Mother: Beauharnais, Hortense de
• Brother: Morny, Charles Auguste Louis Joseph, Duc de

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5/11/1810Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is baptised at the Palace of Fontainebleau. Napoleon I served as his godfather and empress Marie Louise as his godmother. His father, who lived separated from his mother Hortense, stayed away. [Marie Louise, Empress of France, Duchess of Parma][Napoleon I Bonaparte]
19/7/1815Hortense de Beauharnais and her sons leave Paris for Geneva. Napoleon had surrendered himself to the English four days before. They stopped at Aix-les-Bains. [Beauharnais, Hortense de]
7/12/1815Hortense de Beauharnais settles near Lake Constance in Switzerland. Her son Louis-Napoleon was with her. [Beauharnais, Hortense de]
11/11/1832Louis Napoleon Bonaparte visites his uncle Joseph in London. His visit lasted until May 1833. Apart from enjoying high society in London he studied the British industrialisation by visiting many factories in Birmingham. [Bonaparte, Joseph]
0/7/1835Persigny meets Louis Napoleon Bonaparte in Arenenberg 
30/10/1836The first Coup d'État by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte fails. He tried to seize power in Strasbourg but a regiment surrounded the mutineers and they surrendered. Louis fled to Switzerland. The French wanted his extradition to French, but he was a Swiss citizen and the request was refused. He left Switserland voluntarily and after a short time in prison he was put on a ship to the USA. 
9/11/1836Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is put on the stage coach to Lorient. There he would be brought on board of the Andromède. The captain received sealed orders that he was only allowed to open far on the Atlantic Ocean. The orders told him to sail to Rio de Janeiro, wait there for a month and then continue to Norfolk in the USA. It was clear that Louis should be out of the way during the trial of the other conspirators. The French people didn't consider it fair that the leader was freed and the others were tried. This led to their acquittal. 
30/3/1837Louis Napoleon Bonaparte disembarks at Norfolk, Virginia 
12/6/1837Louis Napoleon Bonaparte leaves the USA. He had a good time in New York, but he received a letter from Switzerland from his dying mother Hortense. On the back Dr. Conneau had written 'Venez, venez!'. He decided to return to Europe and boarded on the ship George Washington for London. [Beauharnais, Hortense de]
10/7/1837Louis Napoleon Bonaparte disembarks in London. He had returned from the USA because his mother Hortense was dying in Switzerland. He travelled incognito to Switzerland where he reached Hortense two month before her death. [Beauharnais, Hortense de]
4/8/1837Louis Napoleon Bonaparte reaches his dying mother Hortense. The French government had tried to prevent him from travelling from London to the continent. His friend Persigny helped him to a Swiss travelling permitted for 'Mr. Robinson'. After shaking off French agents he travelled to Rotterdam and then to Arenenberg, where his mother was living. [Beauharnais, Hortense de]
14/10/1838Louis Napoleon Bonaparte leaves Gottlieben in Switzerland voluntarily. After the death of his mother Hortense he had lived there. The French government had asked the Swiss government to expel him, but he was popular in Switzerland and an answer to the request was delayed. After the French sent troops to the Swiss border and the Swiss started a mobilisation, Louis Napoleon declared that he would go to London voluntarily. This added to his popularity in Europe and many thought that King Louis Philippe of France had made a fool of himself. 
25/10/1838Louis Napoleon Bonaparte reaches London. He had voluntarily left Switzerland after pressure from France to expel him. 
4/8/1840Louis Napoleon leaves England for a second coup d'etat in France. He left with the ship Edinburgh Castle. His intention was to start a milkitary putsch that would result in a resurrection against the government of King Louis Philippe. 
6/8/1840The second coup d'etat of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte fails. He came ashore with 50 men but instead of seizing military objects they were driven back to the sea. Most of his men were killed and he was taken prisoner. 
28/9/1840Start of the trial against Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. Because of his failed coup d'etat. He was sentenced to imprisonment for life in a fortress within the French borders. 
6/10/1840Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is sentenced to imprisonment for life. the reason was his second failed coup d'État. His jail would be the fort at Ham near Reims. 
20/5/1846Mistress Alexandrine leaves Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. She was his maid as well as his lover during his imprisonment at the fortress Ham. Because he was planning to escape he sent her and their two children away. At eight in the morning she left the fortress crying, together with the children. [Vergeot, Eléonore]
26/5/1846Louis Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from his prison. A disguise was smuggled into the fortress of Ham and Louis simply walked out of the fortress. The pipe that he had in his mouth fell to pieces and he collected the pieces to avoid being discovered. His escape wasn't noticed until twelve hours later. 
27/5/1846Louis Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in London. He had escaped at 6 AM the previous day from the fortress of Ham and had crossed the Channel under the name of Comte d'Arenenberg. The same day he met his friend Lord Malmesbury in London. They dined together and when Malmesbury noticed Louis de Noailles from the French embassy he asked him 'Do you know who this is? Louis Napoleon, he has just escaped'. De Noailles ran away because he wasn't yet aware of the fact. Malmesbury claimed that he had never seen a man looking so scared. [Malmesbury, James Howard Harris, 3rd Earl of]
25/2/1848Louis Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in Paris. He wanted to join the revolution in France but when he arrived the revolution was already over. 
12/6/1848The French government threatens to arrest Louis Napoleon. He was elected into the National Assembly but the government threatened to arrest him if he would come from England to France. The government referred to the banning of the entire Bonaparte familiy, but Jules Favre wondered how this was possible since Prince Napoleon, Pierre Bonaparte and Lucien Murat had been elected before and were admitted. Louis Blanc and Pierre Joseph Proudhon supported Louis Napoleon as well. After a fake story by Lamartine that the Bonapartists had fired at the National Guard the government received more support, but two days later it became clear that Lamartine had lied. [Bonaparte, Pierre Napoleon][Favre, Jules][Murat, Lucien, 3e Prince Murat]
14/6/1848The National Assembly votes in favour of admitting Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. De Lamartine had stopped his admission by telling lies about the Bonapartes. After he was found out a large majority of the National Assembly voted in favour of Louis Napoleon. Lamartine's next step was to spread a rumour that Louis Napoleon planned a coup d'état. 
15/6/1848Louis Napoleon gives up his seat at the National Assembly. After much discussions in France whether he was allowed to take his seat he declined it himself. He did this after consternation over his letter from 14 June in which he hadn't used the word republic. The Times had also written that there were strong rumours that a Bonaparte coup would take place. Favre, who had spoken in favour of Louis Napoleon a few days before, now wanted to ask the Minister of Justice if the letter should lead to the prosecution of Louis Napoleon. After he gave up his seat no prosecution took place. [Favre, Jules]
20/6/1848Teresa Gamba writes Lady Blessington about Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. She was now Marquise de Bloissy and she wrote that Louis Napoleon's party was now very strong and especially in the country the name of Bonaparte had an enormous prestige. The fact that the communists supported him made the 'honest folk' a bit conspicious. She stated that he would be welcome if he could save 'this poor France'. [Blessington, Margaret Gardiner, countess of]
21/9/1848Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is elected again into the National Assembly. The candicated of the dictator Cavaignac were the favourites for the eleven seats, but in Paris they were swept away by Louis Napoloeon. Louis obtained 111,752 votes, Achille Fould 78,891 votes and Raspail 66,693 votes. After his election became known the National Guard sang the Bonaparte song 'Veillons au salut d'empire' and the people shouted 'Vive Napoléon! Vive L'empereur!'. After the news reached London, Louis Napoleon packed his bags and left for Paris. [Cavaignac, Eugène Louis]
26/9/1848Louis Napoleon Bonaparte takes his seat in the National Assembly. He was elected by five departments and had received 300,000 votes. He travelled from London to Paris, where he arrived on 24 September. There were rumours that he would be arrested, but dictator Cavaignac declared that Louis was allowed to take his seat. [Cavaignac, Eugène Louis]
3/11/1848Thouvet tries to stop Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as presidential candidate. He proposed to the National Assembly that members of the Bonaparte family should be excluded from the presidential elections that would take place in December. Cavaignac was of the opinion that this was no longer possible. It was already decided that a candidate should obtain the absolute majority of the voters and at least two million votes. Otherwise the president would be chosen by the National Assembly, where Louis Napoleon was less popular than with the people in France. [Cavaignac, Eugène Louis]
10/12/1848Louis Napoleon Bonaparte wins the presidential elections in France. He received 5,434,226 votes. The other votes: Cavaignac 1,448,107; Ledru Rollin 370,119; Raspail 36,900; Lamartine 17,190; Changarnier 4,790. [Cavaignac, Eugène Louis][Ledru-Rollin, Alexandre Auguste]
17/12/1848Louis Napoleon triumphantly rides to the Élysée Palace. He had been elected president the week before. 
20/12/1848Louis Napoleon Bonaparte starts his presidency 
0/0/1849Louis Napoleon praises Henry IV at Chartres. Henry IV had been crowned in Chartres in 1594. Louis Napoleon praised him for appeasing catholics and protestants after thirty years of war. He visited more cities during the summer nad his speeches included references to the places where he was. At Amiens, where a treaty with England had been signed in 1802, he spoke of the peaceful intentions of France towards other nations. 
0/0/1849Louis Napoleon visits cholera patients. In the summer of 1849 a chorera epidemic swept over Paris. Louis Napoleon visited hospitals and spoke with victims. The people of Paris were very impressed because they were used to sovereigns that fled the city as soon as there was danger. 
0/0/1849Louis Napoleon dines with Maria Manuele de Montijo and her daughter Eugénie. Maria Manuela and Eugénie were staying in Paris and they had been introduced to him. He ordered his secretary Bacciochi to invite them for a diner at Saint-Cloud. Apart from Bacciochi nobody was present. After the diner he offered his arm to Eugénie who responded that her mother should receive that honour. He walked armed with Maria Manuela and Eugénie received the arm of Bacciochi. [Kirkpatrick, Maria Manuela, countess of Montijo]
0/0/1849Louis Napoleon visits his former prison in Ham. He had been imprisoned here from 1840 to 1846. His old cell was now inhabited by the Arabian Bou-Maza, who had fought against the French. Louis ordered his release and was freed on 22 July 1849. 
27/1/1849An article of Proudhon against Louis Napoleon is published in "Le Peuple". Proudhon agitated against the possibility that Louis Napoleon would send the National Assembly home and suggested that the National Assembly should send Louis away. Louis didn't send the National Assembly away and Proudhon was prosecuted for libel by the government. 
14/3/1849Louis Napoleon gives a ball at the Elysée. The ball was organised in two large galleries at the Élysée and apart from Cavaignac all generals of the French army were there. The widow of Marshall Ney was under the guests as well. 
19/3/1849Proudhon attacks Louis Napoleon again in his newspaper. He condemned the executions of the rebels who had shot the negotiator general Bréa in June 1848. After much hesitation Louis Napoleon had allowed that two of the five executions took place on 17 March 1849. For the second time Proudhon was prosecuted for libel and this time he disappeared to hide somewhere in France. In absence he was convicted to three years of imprisonment. 
3/6/1849French troops fight Garibaldi before the gates of Rome. The French had ended the armistice on 1 June 1849. General Oudinot had said that he wouldn't attack 'the place' before the fourth of June. When he occupied the Villa Corsini outside the gates of Rome he was accused of breaking his word. Garibaldi's troops tried to drive the French troops away but they failed. Garibaldi lost 1,000 of his 6,000 men during the attempt. the radical fractions in Italy, France and other European countries never forgave president Louis Napoleon that he had allowed this to happen. [Oudinot, Charles, 2nd Duc de Reggio]
3/7/1849The French troops conquer Rome. Pope Pio IX was expelled by revolutionary Italians and Rome was occupied by an army led by Garibaldi afterwards. France sent troops to help the pope, but they were surprised by the army of 8,000 Italians and driven back. In Paris the parliament protested against the interventions and riots broke out. Eventually Garibaldi wasn't able to defend the city after Oudinot started using heavy artillery and they entered Rome in the night of 29 to 30 June. Mazzini was forced to flee to England and on 3 July Rome surrendered to Oudinot. [Mazzini, Giuseppe][Oudinot, Charles, 2nd Duc de Reggio]
7/8/1849Louis Napoleon orders Oudinot to return to France. Oudinot had taken Rome earlier that year. Louis Napoleon wasn't entirely happy with the return of Pope Pio IX. Apart from that, th French had liberated Rome without the Austrians or the Spaniards, but the cardinals thanked 'the Catholic States of Europe' for the crusade in favour of the Pope. [Oudinot, Charles, 2nd Duc de Reggio]
18/9/1849Pope Pio IX refuses a constitution and a liberal government. He published his motu proprio in which he promised to allow a certain amount of decentralisation, but he didn't meet the wish of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte to allow a liberal government. Pio IX explicity praised 'the armies of the Catholic nations' instead of explicitly mentioning France that had recovered Rome for him without the help of other nations. 
0/10/1849Louis Napoleon Bonaparte visits the army and meets workers. Louis spent much time in meeting the people. He inspected the troops during a huge miltary parade at Satory, near Versailles. He spoke with workers in the workplace Faubourg Saint-Antoine. 
31/10/1849Louis Napoleon Bonaparte suddenly dismisses the government. there had been several arguments between him and the government but his decision was unexpected. He stated that the government should cooperate with the president that was chosen by the people and that it should accept his leadership. He nominated no successor for prime minister Odilin Barrot. General d'Hautpoul became Minister of War, Ferdinand Barrot became Minister of Internal Affairs and Achille Fould was the new Minister of Finance. Most of the press criticized his action, but Le Constitutionel stated that he hadn't the support of the press but he did have the support of the people. 
15/8/1850Lpuis Napoleon Bonapartist visits the socialist stronghold Lyon. He did this on the birthday of Napoleon I and he arrived on a steamer. On a white horse he rode to the town hall. He was applauded by the crowd. The authorities considered it unwise to enter the leftish district Croix-Rousse, but he did so with only a small escort. In Lyon he held speeches and attended banquets. 
1/6/1851Louis Napoleon Bonaparte criticizes the National Assembly. It was between Tonnerre and Dijon where he was to open a new part of the Paris-Lyon railway. 30,000 people had come to the station of Tonnerre t osee him and women threw flowers at him from their windows when he passed. In a speech he criticised the National assembly because they did supported him in case of repression of rebellions but they never did when he wanted to do something for the people. His speech increased speculation of a future coup d'état. 
14/7/1851Victor Hugo protests against a proposal to change the constitution in favour of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. He was a member of parliament and he was opposed to the changed proposal that would enable Louis Bonaparte to be reelected as president. He stated: "Because we had Napoleon the Great, should we have Napoleon the Small?". Subsequently he was interrupted by protests. 
19/7/1851The National Assembly rejects a change to the French constitution. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to change to constitution so that he could be reelected as president. The vote was 446 against 278 in favour of his proposal, but a two-third majority was required. He also wanted the command over troops and he wanted his salary to be increased. Both proposals turned down. 
1/12/1851Louis Napoleon Bonaparte gives a ball at the Élysée. He was charming and relaxed, allthough he had planned a coup d'État for the next day. One of the guests was Caroline Norton, who was accompanied by the marquis of Douglas. As one of the few, she perceived that Louis Napoleon looked a bit exited. Persigny, Saint-Arnaud, Maupas and Mocquard were all involved in the coup and were all present. Morny had visited the theatre but afterwards he came to the Élysée as well. [Morny, Charles Auguste Louis Joseph, Duc de][Norton, Caroline]
2/12/1851Coup d'État of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. 76 persons were arrested at night and brought to the prison at the Rue Mazas. Among them were Thiers, Cavaignac, Changarnier, Bedeau and Lamoricière. The army was positioned at strategic locations in Paris. Louis Napoleon was declared president for 10 years and in 1852 he would become emperor of France. [Cavaignac, Eugène Louis][Thiers, Adolphe]
4/12/1851Riots are knocked down in Paris. In the republican suburbs barricades were erected against Louis Napoleon Bonaparte's Coup d'Etat. The army destroyed the barricades with canons and chased away the rioteers. The army passes though the city center to the East. At the Boulevard des Italiens a shot is fired. The soldier think that they're shot at and fire away. This time wealthy citizens are killed instead of workers. By the end of the day 400 civilians and 27 soldiers have been killed. 
20/12/1851Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is elected president for 10 years. He received 7,5 million votes. 
14/1/1852Louis Napoleon Bonaparte issues a new constitution. The 'sovereign people' obtain the right to reject or accept laws by referendum. The Senate and the legislative body can discuss the laws and the head of state obtains more executive power. 
22/1/1852Louis Napoleon Bonaparte declares the Orléans property forfeited. The former king Louis Philippe was a member of the house of Orléans. The duc de Morny and Princess Mathilde had advised strongly against this decree, but according to Persigny it was the only way to break the power of the Orléans family. The decree stated that the Orléans family should sell all its property in France within a year. Some posessions became the property of the state. [Morny, Charles Auguste Louis Joseph, Duc de]
31/1/1852Louis Napoleon Bonaparte changes the Legion d'Honneur. The order was introduced by Napoleon I in 1802. His successors had changed the appearance of the medal. By decree he declared that the picture of Napoleon I would return the medal with the text "Napoléon empereur des Français" on the front and the text "Honneur et Patrie" on the back. 
17/2/1852President Louis Napoleon declares August 15 a national day for France. It was the birthday of Napoleon I and it became the only national day off in France. [Napoleon I Bonaparte]
19/9/1852Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is received enthousiastically at Lyons 
27/9/1852Louis Napoleon Bonaparte visits Toulon 
7/10/1852Louis Napoleon Bonaparte visits Bordeaux and refers to an empire. During his speech at the Bourse he spoke the famous words "L'empire c'est la paix". 
16/10/1852Napoleon III releases Abd-el-Kader. Abd-el-Kader first swore on the Koran that he would never fight against the French anymore in Africa. He and Napoleon remained on very good terms afterwards and after his release he visited France several times. 
25/10/1852The Count of Chambord protests against the planned empire. Louis Napoléon Bonaparte wanted to restore the empire of his uncle Napoleon I. As the Bourbon pretender to the throne, the Duke of Chambord protested. [Henri, Duke of Bordeaux and Count of Chambord]
4/11/1852Louis Napoleon Bonaparte request a referendum for the restoration of the empire. He told the Senate that he wanted to restore the empire and that he wanted the people to be consulted on this change. 
7/11/1852The Senata of France nominates Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor 
7/11/1852The Duke of Reichstadt is to be called Napoleon II. This was decided by the future Napoleon III beause Napoleon I had abdicated in favour of his son, who had therefore been emperor for a few days. [Napoleon II, Duke of Reichstadt]
22/11/1852The French people vote in favour of the empire. 7.824,189 votes were in favour of appoinint Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor, 253.145 were against it and 63,326 votes were invalid. 
2/12/1852The French Senate restores the empire with Napoleon III as emperor 
24/12/1852Napoleon III declares Jerôme Bonaparte heir to the throne. Jerôme was his uncle and a brother of Napoleon I. [Bonaparte, Jérôme]
12/1/1853Napoleon III asks for the hand of Eugénie de Montijo. He did this during a ball at the Tuilleries. Eugénie had turned down many rich people and Napoleon had corresponded with her for some time. He invited her for the hinting season at Compiègne and during horse rides they got to know each other better. The wives of the official guests complained of the attention that the emperor paid to this Spanish 'adventuress'. Eugénie asked him to declare himself or to let her go and he asked her to marry him. 
22/1/1853Napoleon III officially announces his marriage. He presented it as a love match, but it is unlikely that Eugénie loved him. At this day his mistress Harriet Howard left for England. He had asked her to go to London to pay someone who blackmailed him. Because of a storm she couldn´t make the passage. In the morning she read in Le Moniteur about his engagement. She understood that she was meant to be in London at the time the engagement was made public. She returned to Paris to make a scene but Persigny managed to calm her down. [Howard, Harriet, Comtesse de Beauregard]
30/1/1853Napoleon III marries Eugénie de Montijo in Paris. The ceremony took place in the Nôtre Dame. They used the same carriage as Napoleon when he was crowned (1804) and when he married Marie Louise (1810). The golden crown on top of the carriage fell on the ground like in 1810. After the dinner they went to Villeneuve-l'Etang where the guests held endless speeches. This irritated Napoleon who told Eugénie that they should go away. She told him to walk to the door. He did so and she followed him, wishing good night to the guests. 
5/7/1853An attack on Napoleon III is prevented. Napoleon and Eugénie would attend a performance at the Opéra Comique. The secret police recognized a man in the crowd who was wanted. He was arrested with fifteen other, all Italians. They turned out to carry daggers and they admitted that it was their intention to kill the emperor. 
0/10/1853Napoleon III and empress Eugénie visit the Provence. At the occasion many political prisoners were released. 
16/4/1855Napoleon III and Eugénie arrive in Dover to visit England. Supported by the French government, the English government had invited Napoleon for a visit to England to prevent him from visiting the war front at the Krim. Napoleon and Eugénie were cheered and he pointed out the house to her in King Street where he had lived in 1847. 
28/4/1855Pianori tries to assasinate Napoleon III at the Champs-Élysées. He tried to shoot the emperor with a double-barreled pistol when Napoleon passed on horseback on his way to the Bois de Boulogne. His two shots missed the emperor. He was arrested, sentenced to death on 7 May 1855 and executed on 14 May 1855. 
18/8/1855Victoria and Albert visit Napoleon III in France. They arrived in Boulogne and took the train to Paris. They received a splendid reception. Napoleon III wanted to impress them and show how prosperous France had become under his reign. He knew all about Victoria's life and he sang German duets with Albert, who still didn't trust him. He too Bertie (the future Edward VII) on a ride through the streets. Bertie said he wished Napoleon III was his father. Eugénie was pregnant at the time and wasn't seen much in public. 
27/8/1855Victoria and Albert say goodbye to Napoleon III. Victoria had enjoyed their state visit and Albert was satisfied as well, although he had mostly visited museum and exhibitions on his own while Napoleon was flattering his wife. The French were shocked by Victoria's length and her bad taste in dressing. Eugénie had even shortened the legs of a table for Victoria. The only thing Victoria didn't like was meeting the emperor's nephew Plon-Plon, whom she described as 'rude and disagreeable in the highest degree'. 
8/9/1855Edmond Bellemare attempts to kill Napoleon III in Paris fails. He was mentally disordered. When the emperor and empress had visited a performance at the Comédie-Italinenne he drew two pistols in the Rue du Marsollier and aimed at their carriage. But he missed and nobody was hurt. He was arrested and treated as a lunatic in the Hôpital Bicêtre before being deported to Tahiti. The emperor wasn't hurt. 
15/11/1855Ingres receives a honourable medal from Napoleon III in person. Ingres was disappointed that he had to share the medal of the Exposition Universelle with nine others. Because it was feared that he wouldn't show up at the ceremony he was made grand officer of the Légion d'Honneur on 14 Nov 1855. The next day he received the medal from the emperor himself. [Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique]
16/3/1856Birthof the Prince Impérial at the Tuileries Palace in Paris. The son of emperor Napoleon III and empress Eugénie was born at three o'clock in the morning after a delivery of 22 hours. The emperor was there and Prince Napoléon-Jerôme Bonaparte was present as well. 
0/6/1856William Bouguereau receives a commission to paint Emperor Napoleon III. The result was 'Napoléon III visitant les inondés de Tarasco'. It was shown as number 319 at the Salon in Paris in 1859. [Bouguereau, William]
14/6/1856The Prince Imperial is baptised at the Nôtre Dame in Paris. Napoleon III was involved in a love affair with 'la Castiglione', but he was present together with empress Eugénie. It was a sunny day and the theatres in Pairs opened their doors for free. There was dancing in the streets and there were fireworks at the Place de la Concorde. [Castiglione, Virginia Oldoini, countess Verasis de]
12/3/1857Empress Eugénie 'meets' her deceased father through Daniel D. Home. She communicated via handshakes with her father who had died exactly 18 years earlier. Empreror Napoleon III was present as well. His half brother thought Home was an imposter and threatened to resign as Minister of Foreign Affairs if the seances at the Tuilleries wouldn't stop. [Home, Daniel Dunglas][Montijo, Cipriano Palafox y Portocarrero, count of]
12/8/1857Le Moniteur announces the Médaille de sainte-Hélène. The newspaper published a decree that was issued by Napoleon III. The medal served to memorize the heroes from 1792 until 1815. 
14/8/1857Alexandre Dumas fils is decorated by Napoleon III. Princess Mathilde wanted to introduce him to the emperor before the ceremony, but he refused, claiming to be too shy. [Dumas, Alexandre (fils)]
16/8/1857Napoleon III awards the first Médailles de Sainte-Hélène. He gave the medals to his uncle Jérome Bonaparte, Comte Vaillant (Minister of War), admiral Hamelin (Minister of Marine), Duc the Plaisance (chancellor of the Légion d'Honneur), General de Flahaut, Comte Ornano (governor of the Invalides), Admiral Perceval-Deschênes and others. [Bonaparte, Jérôme][Flahault de la Billarderie, Charles de]
14/1/1858Felice Orsini's attempt to kill Napoleon III fails. With his three accomplices he threw three bombs at the imperial carriage in Paris. Eight people died and 150 people were injured, but the emperor and the empress weren't hurt. Shortly afterwards they appeared before the public in their box in the theatre. Eugénie wrote to her mother that there was a hole in the emperor's hat. Orsini was wounded and arrested the next day. He was sentenced to death and executed on 13 March 1858. 
21/7/1858Secret meeting between Napoleon III and Cavour. It took place at Plombières. Napoleon was there for curing and Cavour had entered the country incognito at Strasbourg. They agreed there would be an uprising in Modena and after Austria would threaten the regio with violence, France would send troops. Their meeting wasn't a secret for long and many guessed what they were up to. 
4/8/1858Napoleon III inaugurates the railroad between Cherbourg and Paris. He had arrived at Cherbourg that day accompanied by empress Eugénie. 
7/8/1858Napoleon III dock inaugurated at the harbour of Cherbourg. Napoleon III and empress Eugénie were there. Queen Victoria and prince Albert had arrived on August 5th as well, but they had left early because they didn't want to witness the unveiling of a statue of Napoleon I that took place on the same day. This statue by Armand de Veel is still there. 
20/5/1859The French defeat the Austrians near Montebello. It was the first clash of Napoleon III's Italian campaign. The Austrian troops were commanded by Karl von Urban and the troops from Piedmonte and France were under command of Elie Foray. 
31/5/1859The French defeat the Austrians during the Battle of Palestro. The Battle was fought on 30 and 31 Mat. The French troops and the troops of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont fought against the Austrians and were victorious. King victor Emmanuell II was directly involved in the battle, Napoleon III and Francis Joseph weren't. [Franz Joseph von Habsburg, Emperor of Austria]
8/6/1859Victor Emanuel II and Napoleon III enter Milan. Since the beginning of the war Milan had opposed itself to Austria. It was a great triumph for Napoleon III because he did what his famous uncle Napoleon I had done: remove the Austrians from Lombardia. 
24/6/1859Napoleon III defeats Franz Joseph near Solferino. The French armies were commande by Napoleon III and the Austrian armies by Franz Joseph. Napoleon III was watching a chaotic fight from the church tower of Castiglione. He was smoking cigarettes continuously. The fighting took place at Campo di Medole, Solferino and San Martino. The Austrians were defeated by the French and Franz Joseph would never again take direct command of the Austrian troops. In a short time Napoleon III had driven Austria out of a large part of Italy. But the French troops had suffered heavy losses and this affected Napoleon. He decided to end the war and the Armistice of Villafranca was signed on 11 July 1859. Lombardia would be added to Piedmonte, but Veneto remained under Austrian rule. Jean-Henri Dunant saw the battlefield afterwards. He was horrified and published "Un souvenir de Solférino". His actions started a process that led to the Geneva Conventions and to the foundation of the International Red Cross. [Dunant, Henry][Franz Joseph von Habsburg, Emperor of Austria]
7/7/1859Napoleon III and Franz Joseph declare an armastice. Napoleon III had won several battles but it wasn't easy to proceed because tha Austrians had the larger army. He was also concerned about Prussia that might attack France at the Rhine border. [Franz Joseph von Habsburg, Emperor of Austria]
11/7/1859Conference of Villafranca between France and Austria. Napoleon III and Franz Joseph met personally for peace talks. Their conversation wasn't recorded. The result was that Franz Joseph lost Lombardia to France but he was able to keep Venice on the condition that reforms would take place. The agreement would be formalised by Peace of Zürich. The Italians weren't consulted and were angry that Napoleon left Venice in the hands of the Austrians. It was suggested that Napoleon wanted to go home because it was hot and because he was sick of the futility of it all. [Franz Joseph von Habsburg, Emperor of Austria]
17/7/1859Napoleon III returns to Paris. He had defeated the Austrians in Italy and on 19 July he spoke to the senate. 
13/3/1861Premiere of Richard Wagner's revised "Tannhäuser" at the Salle Le Pelletier in Paris. The performance was requested by Emperor Napoleon III after a suggestion by Pauline von Metternich. Urged by the members of the Jockey Club, Wagner had added a ballet to his opera. However, Wagner let the ballet start immediately after the ouverture, while it was known that the gentlemen were only present from the second act because they first finished their diners. The performance was disturbed by booing. Hector Berlioz was in the audience. After three performances "Tannhäuser" was over in Paris. [Berlioz, Hector][Niemann, Albert][Wagner, Richard]
2/4/1861Napoleon I's remains are transferred to the crypt at the Dôme des Invalides in Paris. Before that he was buried at the chapel of Saint-Jérôme at Les Invalides after his remains were returned from St. Helena in 1840. Napoleon III and empress Eugénie looked over the balcony from above. [Napoleon I Bonaparte]
25/5/1862Ingres is awarded a seat in the Senate by Napoleon III. Art critics praised the government because this was a sign that art was a matter of national interest. [Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique]
28/4/1865Premiere of Meyerbeer's opera "L'Afrcaine" at the Salle Pelletier in Paris. The libretto was written by Eugène Scribe and its working title was "Vasco de Game". The full score score was copied on the day before Meyerbeer died in 1864. It was staged by François-Joseph Fétis. The conductor was François George-Hainl. The singers included Marie Sasse, Emilio Laudin, Marie Battu, Jean-Baptiste Faure. Emperor Napoleon III and empress Eugénie were attended the premire. [Meyerbeer, Giacomo][Scribe, Eugène]
15/5/1865Inauguration of the statue of Napoleon I in Ajaccio. Prince Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte gave a careless speech that was censured afterwards by Napoleon III on 23 May 1865. [Napoleon I Bonaparte]
24/4/1867Napoleon III attends Offenbach's "La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein". It was performed at the Théâtre des Variétés in Paris and Hortense Schneider was the Grand Duchess. [Schneider, Hortense]
30/6/1867Napoleon III bursts out in tears after hearing of Maximilian's death. Maximilian of Austria, emperor of Mexico, was executed on 19 June 1867. The news reached France by telegram from Washington. The young Count of Gontaut-Biron received the message and gave it to Napoleon, who burst out in tears. Eugénie had seen it coming but took it badly as well, because she felt responsible. The news was kept silent for the moment because the closing ceremony for the Exhibition Universelle was planned for the next day and Paris was full of festivities. [Maximilian of Austria, emperor of Mexico]
19/5/1869Malmesbury dines with Napoleon III at the Tuilleries. They had a private conversation in which Louis Napoleon told Malmesbury that 50,000 members of the military had voted against him and 300,000 in faovur of him. Malmesbury reacted surprised because he had thought that the French army was twice as big. [Malmesbury, James Howard Harris, 3rd Earl of]
2/1/1870Émile Ollivier presents his government. On 27/12/1869 he was asked to form a new government and he effectively became prime minister on 02/01/1870. The liberal party saw him as a marionet and dropped him. 
25/5/1870Premiere of the ballet "Coppélia" by Léo Delibes at the Théâtre Impérial l'Opéra in Paris. The choreographer was Arthur Saint-Léon. The very young Giuseppina Bozzacchi was Swanhilda. Frantz was played by Eugénie Fiocre. Emperor Napoleon III attended the performance. [Delibes, Léo]
2/9/1870Napoleon III is taken prisoner of war. At night the French had decided to accept the German conditions for surrender. The French commander-in-chief, Wimpffen, didn't want to continue the negotiations. In the morning Napoleon tried to get better conditions from Bismarck at Donchéry, but Bismarck didn't give them. At 9 AM the armistice ended. The French were given until 10 AM to accept the conditions. At 11 AM the capitulation was signed at castle Bellevue near Frénois. Subsequently Napoleon III met Wilhelm I and was taken away as a prisoner of war. [Wilhelm I, emperor of Germany]
3/9/1870Napoleon III is brought to Bouillon. He was now a prisoner of the Germans. 
31/10/1870Eugénie arrives at Wilhemshöhe where Napoleon III is imprisoned. She had travelled incognito to Germany to visit him. At the same day Bazaine spoke with Napoleon III. [Bazaine, François Achille]
21/3/1871Malmesbury visits the former Napoleon III at Chislehurst. Napoleon III had been freed from imprisonment in Germany two days before. [Malmesbury, James Howard Harris, 3rd Earl of]
14/1/187317,000 people visit the deceased Napoleon III. He was laid out in the hall of his last house Camden Place in Chislehurst. Many of the visitors had come from France. 
15/1/1873Funeral of Napoleon III in Chislehurst. He was buried in the catholic chuch St. Mary's. The Prince Imperial and Prince Napoléon were present. His widow Eugénie stayed behind in their house in Camden Place. 
9/1/1888The remains of Napoleon III and the Prince Imperial are transferred to Farnborough. Former Empress Eugénie had built a new abbey in Farnborough between 1883 and 1888. Part of it was a chapel in which the emperor and his son were reburied. A few weeks later Queen Victoria visited the place. The Norbertines care for the imperial mausoleum until 1895. In that year the empress replaced them by the Benedictines. 
5/6/1888King Oscar II of Sweden visits the mausoleum of Napoleon III in Farnborough 


'Napoléon III' by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (Musée National du Château de Compiégne, Compiégne).

Bust of Napoleon III at the Musée Masséna, Nice.
Picture by Androom (03 Dec 2008)


Plaque for Napoleon III at 1c King Street, St James's, Westminster, London.
Picture by Androom (26 Mar 2016)


Plaque for Napoleon III at 1c King Street, St James's, Westminster, London.
Picture by Androom (26 Mar 2016)


The Abbey Church of St. Michael, Farnborough.
Picture by Androom (26 Mar 2016)


The tomb of Napoleon III in the Abbey Church of St. Michael, Farnborough.

Bust of Napoleon III by Henri Iselin at the Palais de Compiègne.
Picture by Androom (05 Nov 2016)


Bust of Napoleon III at the Musée d'Aquitaine, Bordeaux.
Picture by Androom (14 May 2017)


Plaque for Napoleon III at Camden Place in Chislehurst, Greater London.
Picture by Androom (17 Jun 2022)


Camden Place in Chislehurst, Greater London.
Picture by Androom (17 Jun 2022)


The former gravesite of Napoleon III at St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Chislehurst, Greater London.
Picture by Androom (17 Jun 2022)


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The Catalogue Raisonné, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Borghi Publications, Internet, 1997
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Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909 - Le site d'histoire de la Fondation Napoléon
Battle of Montebello (1859) - Wikipedia
Wikipedia (EN):
La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein - Wikipedia
Wikipedia (EN):
Harris - Wikisource, the free online library
Eugénie de Montijo — Wikipédia
Wikipedia (FR)
Napoléon III — Wikipédia
Final burial of the mortal remains of Emperor Napoleon I at the Eglise des Invalides, 2 April 1861 -
Life and Reign of Napoleon III -

Nasse, Erwin

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 29 Mar 2024