A Favorite Occupation of Joséphine de Beauharnais.
French first empire. (England: Regency, Georgian period)
Joséphine de Beauharnais (born Marie Josephe Rose de Tascher de la Pagerie; 1763-1814) was the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress of the French.
Joséphine de Beauharnais met General Napoleon Bonaparte, whom she married on 9 March 1796. She decided on this marriage at the urging of her friend Paul de Barras. Napoleon was passionately in love with Joséphine, who was six years older. It was partly thanks to her – and the relationships she maintained with senior politicians of the Republic – that Napoleon became Commanding General of the Army of Italy.
In fact, through her contacts with representatives of the Ancien Régime, the Revolution as well as members of the Directory, she proved to be a valuable support during Napoleon’s coup d’état of the 18th Brumaire (9 November 1799).
Joséphine did not actively influence her husband’s politics beyond the consulate period. Napoleon crowned her empress in 1804 in the Church of Notre-Dame in Paris, much to the displeasure of his family, especially his mother Laetitia, who stayed away from the ceremony.
When it became clear that Joséphine would not bear the emperor any children, she agreed to the divorce. On 15 December 1809, the Emperor had invited to a reception where he announced his divorce – Joséphine then fainted. The divorce of 10 January 1810 was the first to be pronounced under the Code civil.
Source: Life of Napoleon Bonaparte; (1896) by Sloane, William Milligan.