Morny, Charles Auguste Louis Joseph, Duc de

STATESMAN, ROYAL BASTARD (FRANCE)
BORN 15 Sep 1811, Saint-Maurice, Valais - DIED 10 Mar 1865, Paris: 7e
BIRTH NAME Demorny, Charles Auguste Louis Joseph
CAUSE OF DEATH pancreatic cancer
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 54, ligne 01, R, 19)

Morny was born in an inn near lake Geneva as the natural son of Hortense de Beauharnais and Charles Joseph, comte de Flahaut. To avoid a scandal, he was falsely given the name of a Prussian officer, Demorny and his birth certificate gives Paris as his birthplace.

After Morny did well at school he entered the army. He distinguished himself in Algeria by saving the life of General Trezel. After his return in Paris he went into business. He was assisted in his speculations by Françoise Mosselman (1808-1880), the wife of the Belgian ambassador (Charles le Hon). Fanny Mosselman was his mistress for almost twenty years. Her third child, Louise le Hon (1838-1931), was fathered by Morny.

In 1842 Morny became a deputy for Clermont-Ferrand. He supported king Louis-Philippe and had little interest in politics. But after the events of 1848 he became a member of the circle around his half brother Louis Napoleon and he supported his coup d'état in December, 1852. Morny became Minister of the Interior, but after six months he resigned. Officially because he disapproved of the confiscation of the Orléans property, but in reality because Napoleon III refused him a more important place in the government as a member of the Bonaparte family.

He went back to financial speculations and in 1854 he became president of the Corps Législatif until his death in 1865. In 1856 he attended the coronation of Alexander II in Russia and he returned with a wife. He had married Princess Sofia Sergeyevna Trubetskaya in St. Petersburg in 1857. This finally put an end to his affair with Fanny Mosselman (she was devastated). Morny and his princess had four children.

In 1862 Napoleon III created him Duc de Morny. Morny held influence on the emperor and his liberal views also made him acceptable to the opposition. He was instrumental in the preparations of a liberal empire that was to ensure the future position of the emperor's son, but his health gave way. Napoleon III and empress Eugénie visited him in Paris just before his death on March 10, 1865.

Family
• Mother: Beauharnais, Hortense de
• Father: Flahault de la Billarderie, Charles de
• Brother: Napoleon III Bonaparte

Related persons
• was a friend of Halévy, Ludovic
• cooperated with Napoleon III Bonaparte
• was the lover of Rachel

Events
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. [Napoleon III Bonaparte][Norton, Caroline]
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. [Napoleon III Bonaparte]
10/8/1862Sarah Bernhardt debuts at the Comédie-Française in Racine's "Iphigénie". She had the Duc de Morny to thank for an engagement with the Comédie-Française as a pensionnaire at a minimum salary. The drama critic Sarcey had recommended her for the role. She played the title part, but she suffered from stage fright and didn't perform well. [Bernhardt, Sarah][Sarcey, Francisque]

Images

The mausoleum of Auguste, Duc de Morny at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (06 Mar 1995)

 

Sources
• Dufresne, Claude, Morny, Perrin, 2002
• Orlandi, Enzo en Mario Rivoire (ed.), Onsterfelijke Vrouwen (deel 1), Spaarnestad, Haarlem, 1969
• Ridley, Jasper, Napoleon III and Eugénie, Constable, London, 1979
Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
Wikipedia (EN): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Auguste_Louis_Joseph


Morren, Charles

Published: 11 May 2008
Last update: 19 Dec 2023