Walewska, Maria

BORN 7 Dec 1786, Kiernozia - DIED 11 Dec 1817, Paris
BIRTH NAME Laczynska, Maria
CAUSE OF DEATH kidney ilness
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 67 (heart in Ornano tomb, body transferred to Kiernozia))

Maria Laczynska was born into a noble family in Kiernozia. Her father was the landowner Mateusz Laczynski. One of her tutors was Nicholas Chopin, the father of Frédéric Chopin. In 1794 her father was killed in the Battle of Maciejowice. To help her mother and her six siblings she married the rich Athenasius, Count Colonna-Walewski in 1805. He was 49 years her senior. They had one son, Antoni Rudolf Bazyli Colonna-Walewski, but he may have been conceived shortly before the marriage.

In 1806 she first met Napoleon in Blonie or in Jablonna. They met again in Warsaw. She was reluctant to become his mistress, but his aide General Géraud Duroc advised her to give in because Napoleon might help Poland against Prussia, Austria and Russia. In her memoirs she claimed that it was a sacrifice. Although the affair was officially a secret, many people knew about it. She followed him to Finckenstein Pallace in East Prussia. In 1809 she also followed him to Vienna where she lived near Schönbrunn Palace. In Vienna she became pregnant and she returned to Walewice to give birth to a son, Alexandre Joseph. He was the son of Napoleon but count Athenasius recognised him. In 1810 she joined Napoleon in Paris, where she lived in the Rue de Montmorency. Her relationship with Napoleon ended since Napoleon was planning to divorce Joséphine and marry Marie-Louise of Austria.

In 1812 she divorced count Colonna-Walewski. In 1816 she married her lover Philippe Antoine d'Ornano. They settled in Liège because of d'Ornano's Napoleontic past. In 1817 their son Rudolph Augustus was born. She died shortly afterwards in Pairs from a kidney illness. She was first buried at Père Lachaise, but her body was exhumed and moved to the family crypt in Kiernozia.

Related persons
• was painted by Gérard, François
• was the lover of Napoleon I Bonaparte

21/5/1809The Austrians defeat the French near Aspern. The battle took place on 21 and 22 May. Karl, Duke of Teschen commanded the Austrians in their biggest succes against the Napoleontic troops. It was said that Napoleon, who stayed at the Lobau Isle in the Donau river, afterwards conceived a son with his mistress Maria Walewska. The Austrians soon lost their advantage during the Battle of Wagram. Karl was hunoured as big hero and received a statue in Vienna. [Karl, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Teschen][Lannes, Jean, Duc de Montebello][Masséna, André, duc de Rivoli, prince d'Essling]
3/5/1814Napoleon embarks at Elba. He thought the island was a bit small. His wish that Marie-Louise would join him wasn't fulfilled and she would enter into an affair with count Neipperg later that year. He was visited by Maria Walewska and their son Alexandre. [Napoleon I Bonaparte]


The mausoleum of Rodolphe d'Ornano at Père Lachaise, Paris. The heart of his mother Maria Waleska is interred here as well.
Picture by Androom (19 Nov 2006)


Die Grosse Dynastien, Südwest Verlag, München, 1978
Historia 377, Tallandier, Paris, 1978
Marie Walewska - Wikipedia

Wallace, William Vincent

Published: 17 Jan 2021
Last update: 26 Jan 2022