France

Napoleon love letters to go under the hammer

Wikimedia Commons

Fifty letters written by Josephine, the first wife of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, along with hundreds of rare documents estimated to be worth up to 20,000 euros will be sold at auction on 27 March.

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The letters and documents relate to or concern the history of the revolution and the First Empire, and will go under the hammer at the Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau, near Paris.

“My husband does not like me, he adores me. I believe it will become crazy," says one letter, written by Josephine a few months after her marriage to Bonaparte.

Auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat said the 50 letters were gathered from around the world by a French collector who had fallen in love with Josephine.

From the first letter penned in 1782, to the last missives sent weeks before his death, “this collection of letters offers insight into the private life of Napoleon”, said Osenat.

Despite the passion expressed in some of the letters, the marriage ended in 1810 because Josephine did not bear Napoleon an heir. He married Marie-Louise, Arch-Duchess of Austria, the great-niece of France's last Queen Marie-Antoinette. 

They had a son, who became Napoleon II but reigned for only two days at the age of thre and two weeks at the age of four. He died of tuberculosis in 1832.
 

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