Maria Letizia Ramolino Buonaparte 1750-1836.
Letizia Buonaparte as Mother of the Emperor Maria Letizia Ramolino, married Letizia Buonaparte, called Madame Mère, was the mother of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Maria Letizia was the daughter of the Genoese-Corsican captain Giovanni Geronimo Ramolino (1723-1755) and Angela Maria Pietrasanta (1725-1790). The Ramolino were a patrician family resident in Corsica for 250 years, who had migrated to the island from Tuscany when it became a Genoese colony, similar to the Bonaparte patrician family from Liguria.
She was considered a strict mother; Napoleon later praised her for her energy, drive and sense of order, which he had inherited from her. Throughout her life she retained her Corsican dialect and had difficulty with the French language. Napoleon spoke Italian with her but corresponded in French, always dictating her own letters in Italian and having them translated. As First Consul and eventually Emperor of the French, he disliked the fact that she still called him Nabulione in Corsican (he had been named Napoleone after an uncle who had died early).
Of her 13 children in total, only eight survived. The first two died early after birth. Her second eldest son Napoleon Bonaparte was the first Emperor of the French, and her other children were raised by him to become European rulers.
After Napoleon was exiled to Elba, she immediately went from Rome, where she had taken refuge with her brother Joseph, to stand by him. During the reign of the Hundred Days, she returned to Paris. Painfully she took her leave forever when Napoleon was embarked for St Helena. She returned to Rome, where Pius VII received her kindly. In 1818 she appealed in separate letters to the monarchs of the Aachen Congress to release her son, but received no reply. Her later requests to the coalition powers to be allowed to follow her son to the island were rejected.
After Napoleon’s death in 1821, Lucien, Louis, and Pauline lived near her in addition to her brother Joseph; the latter died in 1825, Elisa had already died in 1820, Joseph emigrated to America in 1815. The last years she was paralysed. When she died in 1836 at the age of 85, of her children only Jérôme and Alexandrine, Lucien’s wife, were at her deathbed.
Source: Life of Napoleon Bonaparte; (1896) by Sloane, William Milligan.