Her Real Name Was Rose


Rose’s first husband was killed in the “reign of terror.” She had also been imprisoned for being too close to the counter-revolutionary financial circles, but was miraculously was freed with the fall of the dreaded Robespierre.  Her second husband was Napoléon Bonaparte, who insisted that she would be forever called Joséphine.

Napoléon needed a rich wife and Joséphine saw him as a possible patron even though she knew him to be silent and awkward around women.  Their marriage took place in March 1796.  Napoléon’s gift to his beloved was a gold medallion inscribed with the words “To Destiny.”

Destiny would indeed be with them, even though their fates led them in separate directions.   Napoléon required an heir.  Even during the divorce ceremony, their love was unmistakable.

“Far from ever finding cause for complaint, I can to the contrary only congratulate myself on the devotion and tenderness of my beloved wife.  She has adorned thirteen years of my life; the memory will always remain engraved on my heart.”

Napoléon Bonaparte

“With the permission of our august and dear husband, I must declare that, having no hope of bearing children who would fulfill the needs of his policies and the interests of France, I am pleased to offer him the greatest proof of attachment and devotion ever offered on this earth.”

Joséphine Bonaparte

There is a postscript. History has given Joséphine a prominent position through her two children from her first marriage.  Joséphine was the maternal grandmother of Napoléon III, through her daughter Hortense. And through her son, Eugène, she was the great-grandmother of later Swedish and Danish kings and queens. The reigning houses of Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg are also her descendents.

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

24 thoughts on “Her Real Name Was Rose

  1. my favorite story, although I can’t confirm it is true is a letter Napoleon wrote to her along of lines of “I am returning from the front in a few days, do not bathe” — that implies a deep passion.


  2. There is so much to their love story – and with all the politics of the time – it is a good thing that both of them thought to write letters! Otherwise, we would never know what happened between them. Thanks so much for adding to the discussion!!!


    1. I don’t believe she ever did. I never knew, until I did a little bit of research that her name was actually Rose. She has a marvelous history – I’m going to look into more deeply. This is the story of my life – I get sidetracked into all these little research projects and never stay on track, but maybe that is what is so interesting about life.


  3. What a great “story” , I hate to admit I did not know this 😦 Thankyou for sharing it, I think I’ll read more about these two 😀


    1. I must confess that I knew only a little bit – there is so much more to Josephine’s story. I’m glad that you will be doing some more research. We can compare notes!


  4. Interesting lovestory, great drama.
    We should write more letters! You have inspired me – this weekend I’ll get my favourite inkpen and my best stationary out and do some handwriting… 🙂
    Enjoy your weekend!


    1. What a great idea! We are losing the art of letter writing. The other day, when I was writing a grocery list, I realized I have got out of practice of using a pen, now that I am mostly on the computer. I recall the days when I used a fountain pen. Now I am dating myself…


    1. It must have been quite something to see the two of them as emperor and empress. I wonder if there were any paparazzi during that time. Something to research…


    1. Well said. What I am finding in my research over the past week is that the resilience of love has a co-relation with the strength of the woman. I’ve been looking a the marriage of John and Abigail Adams as well as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Very interesting…


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