Joséphine de Beauharnais - Empresses, Facts and Personal Life

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Joséphine de Beauharnais's Personal Details

Joséphine de Beauharnais is known in history as the first wife of the French emperor Napoleon I

InformationDetail
BirthdayJune 23, 1763
Died onMay 29, 1814
NationalityFrench
FamousEmpresses, First Empress of the French, Queens, Left Handed, Historical Personalities, Empresses & Queens
SpousesNapoleon Bonaparte
Known asEmpress Joséphine
Childrens Eugène de Beauharnais, Hortense de Beauharnais
Birth PlaceLes Trois-Îlets, Martinique
ReligionCatholicism
GenderFemale
FatherJoseph-Gaspard de Tascher
MotherRose-Claire des Vergers de Sanois
Sun SignCancer
Born inLes Trois-Îlets, Martinique
Famous asFirst Empress of the French
Died at Age50

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Joséphine de Beauharnais's photo

Who is Joséphine de Beauharnais?

Joséphine de Beauharnais is known in history as the first wife of the French emperor Napoleon I and in turn, the first empress of the French. Her first husband was Alexandre de Beauharnais, with whom she bore a son, Eugene and a daughter, Hortense. She was the maternal grandmother of Napoleon III by her daughter and by her son, she became linked with the future Danish and Sweden royal families. She was also one of the ancestors of the royal houses of Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg. During the Reign of Terror, her first husband was executed and she was locked up in the Carmes prison. Since she did not bear Napoleon any children, he divorced her in 1810. The famous love letters written by Napoelon to her, bear testimony of their passionate love affair. She was also known for her Château de Malmaison, the extraordinary rose garden full of uncommon species collected from all over the world. She looked after the garden with great interest. She was recognized as a kind and generous lady and an engaging hostess to her guests. Her elegance and beauty were highly praised. Joséphine died in Rueil-Malmaison on 29 May 1814.

// Famous First Empress of the French

Childhood & Early Life

Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie was born on June 23, 1763 in Les Trois-Îlets in Martinique. However, there is a dispute regarding her birthplace. Henry H. Bree in his ‘The History of St. Lucia’ states that she was born in the island of St.Lucia.

Her father was Joseph-Gaspard Tascher, chevalier, Seigneur de la Pagerie, lieutenant of ‘Troupes de Marine’ and mother was Rose-Claire des Vergers de Sannois. They were a wealthy Creole family and the owner of a sugar plantation.

A marriage alliance was arranged between Joséphine’s younger sister Catherine- Désirée and Alexandre, the son of the French aristocrat, François, Vicomte de Beauharnais. But because Catherine died when she was 12 years old, it was decided that Joséphine would marry him.

The First Marriage

Joséphine married Alexandre on 13th December, 1779, in Noisy-le-Grand. Two years later, she bore him a son, Eugène de Beauharnais. A daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais was born next.

Their marital life was not a peaceful one. It led to a court ordered separation soon after. During this time, she along with her children stayed in the Pentemont Abbey.

On 18th April, 1794, Joséphine was arrested by the Committee of Public Safety as she was thought to be close to the anti-revolutionary circles during the Reign of Terror. She was kept imprisoned in the Carmes prison.

Alexandre was accused of having failed to defend Mainz and guillotined on 23rd July 1794. After the fall of Robespierre, Joséphine was released on July 28th, 1794.

Marriage to Napoleon

Before her marriage to Napoleon, Joséphine de Beauharnais had brief affairs with famous political figures like Paul François Jean Nicolas Barras.

She met Napoleon in 1795 and a year later, he proposed marriage to her. They got married on March 9, 1796. However, this marriage was not well received by Napoleon’s family.

Soon after the marriage, Napoleon had to leave for Italy. During the period of separation, he sent her many love letters which speak of his passionate love. The marriage went downhill when the lonely Joséphine became involved with Hippolyte Charles, a Hussar lieutenant. Napoleon was enraged when he heard about his wife’s affair and lost all interest in maintaining fidelity from his side as well.

On December 24th, 1800, Joséphine escaped death very narrowly when the carriage she was supposed to be in, exploded on its way to Opéra.

Empress of the French

Joséphine de Beauharnais was officiated as the Empress of France at Notre Dame de Paris, on December 2, 1804.

Napoléon Charles Bonaparte, Joséphine’s grandson was declared as the future heir of Napoleon because the couple did not have a son of their own. However, when he died, Napoleon decided to remarry so that France would have an heir.

Joséphine agreed to the divorce and the divorce ceremony took place on 10th January 1810. It was a somber affair in which they both read out a statement of devotion to each other. Following the divorce, Napoleon married Marie-Louise of Austria.

Patroness of Roses

In 1799, Joséphine bought the Chateau de Malmaison and appointed horticulturalists, gardeners and botanists, in order to fashion it in on ‘English’ style.

Andre Dupont, the horticulturist started the rose garden and soon Joséphine took personal interest in it.

She wanted to collect every species of rose and at Napoleon’s orders specimens were brought from England and China. It is assumed that when she died in 1814, there were about 250 roses in her garden.

She came up with the first written record of the cultivation of roses. In 1810, she hosted the first rose exhibition in history.

Personal Life & Legacy

Joséphine continued to live at the Château de Malmaison after the divorce. She and Napoleon were on cordial terms.

On 29th May, 1814, Joséphine de Beauharnais died. She was walking in the gardens of Rueil-Malmaison with Tsar Alexander.

She was laid to rest in the church of Saint Pierre-Saint in Rueil.

When Napoleon came to know of her death during his exile in Elba, he locked himself in his room and refused to meet anyone for two days.

Her descendants founded the Russian, Brazilian and Scandinavian lines of the Beauharnais family.

Trivia

Joséphine was known for her spendthrift ways. Napoleon had once said that the only thing that came between them were her debts.

A number of precious jewels possessed by the Swedish and the Norwegian royal families are said to belong to Joséphine’s personal collection.

Nathalie Alexandria Kotchoubey de Beauharnais, the famous ‘Time’ journalist was a direct successor of Joséphine through the Russian line of Beauharnais family.

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Joséphine de Beauharnais biography timelines

  • // 23rd Jun 1763
    Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie was born on June 23, 1763 in Les Trois-Îlets in Martinique. However, there is a dispute regarding her birthplace. Henry H. Bree in his ‘The History of St. Lucia’ states that she was born in the island of St.Lucia.
  • // 13th Dec 1779
    Joséphine married Alexandre on 13th December, 1779, in Noisy-le-Grand. Two years later, she bore him a son, Eugène de Beauharnais. A daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais was born next.
  • // 18th Apr 1794
    On 18th April, 1794, Joséphine was arrested by the Committee of Public Safety as she was thought to be close to the anti-revolutionary circles during the Reign of Terror. She was kept imprisoned in the Carmes prison.
  • // 23rd Jul 1794 To 28th Jul 1794
    Alexandre was accused of having failed to defend Mainz and guillotined on 23rd July 1794. After the fall of Robespierre, Joséphine was released on July 28th, 1794.
  • // 9th Mar 1796
    She met Napoleon in 1795 and a year later, he proposed marriage to her. They got married on March 9, 1796. However, this marriage was not well received by Napoleon’s family.
  • // 1799
    In 1799, Joséphine bought the Chateau de Malmaison and appointed horticulturalists, gardeners and botanists, in order to fashion it in on ‘English’ style.
  • // 24th Dec 1800
    On December 24th, 1800, Joséphine escaped death very narrowly when the carriage she was supposed to be in, exploded on its way to Opéra.
  • // 2nd Dec 1804
    Joséphine de Beauharnais was officiated as the Empress of France at Notre Dame de Paris, on December 2, 1804.
  • // 1810
    She came up with the first written record of the cultivation of roses. In 1810, she hosted the first rose exhibition in history.
  • // 10th Jan 1810
    Joséphine agreed to the divorce and the divorce ceremony took place on 10th January 1810. It was a somber affair in which they both read out a statement of devotion to each other. Following the divorce, Napoleon married Marie-Louise of Austria.
  • // 1814
    She wanted to collect every species of rose and at Napoleon’s orders specimens were brought from England and China. It is assumed that when she died in 1814, there were about 250 roses in her garden.
  • // 29th May 1814
    On 29th May, 1814, Joséphine de Beauharnais died. She was walking in the gardens of Rueil-Malmaison with Tsar Alexander.

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Joséphine de Beauharnais's FAQ

  • What is Joséphine de Beauharnais birthday?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais was born at 1763-06-23

  • When was Joséphine de Beauharnais died?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais was died at 1814-05-29

  • Where was Joséphine de Beauharnais died?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais was died in Rueil-Malmaison

  • Which age was Joséphine de Beauharnais died?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais was died at age 50

  • Where is Joséphine de Beauharnais's birth place?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais was born in Les Trois-Îlets, Martinique

  • What is Joséphine de Beauharnais nationalities?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais's nationalities is French

  • Who is Joséphine de Beauharnais spouses?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais's spouses is Napoleon Bonaparte

  • Who is Joséphine de Beauharnais childrens?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais's childrens is Eugène de Beauharnais, Hortense de Beauharnais

  • What is Joséphine de Beauharnais's religion?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais's religion is Catholicism

  • Who is Joséphine de Beauharnais's father?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais's father is Joseph-Gaspard de Tascher

  • Who is Joséphine de Beauharnais's mother?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais's mother is Rose-Claire des Vergers de Sanois

  • What is Joséphine de Beauharnais's sun sign?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais is Cancer

  • How famous is Joséphine de Beauharnais?

    Joséphine de Beauharnais is famouse as First Empress of the French