HORTENSE de BEAUHARNAIS

DAUGHTER OF AN EMPRESS
QUEEN OF HOLLAND
MOTHER OF AN EMPEROR

vrijdag 2 maart 2012

Hortense in exile

 
However, they could not forgive Hortense  for sticking by her stepfather upon his return from Elba, and consequently she had to leave France. She escaped with both her sons to Switzerland and eventually ended up near the Bodensee close to Konstanz. There she bought a small castle on a cliff overlooking the lake: Schloss Arenenberg. 
 




 
In exile Hortense started to write her extensive memoirs. She composed music and published her romances; she created drawings and paintings. Her house became a center of French culture. Established artists were fascinated by her and paid visits to the exiled Queen in Switzerland. 

 
Franz Liszt played on her piano,


The young writer Alexandre Dumas
 listened when she sang his favourite romance 
 
and the poet Lord Byron came and stayed with her. 

From her base in Switzerland she travelled extensively, often to Italy where her second son, Napoleon-Louis, lived with his father. Hortense was very worried when they took part in the Italian revolt against Austrian rule in 1831. During this episode Napoleon-Louis died and Louis Napoleon had to flee. 


 
His mother helped him to escape to Paris. She would continue to be worried about her son's political activities, especially when he tried to stage a coup in France in 1836, which failed. A year later, in 1837, the legendary "Reine de Hollande" died from cancer; she was 54 years old. The Dutch newspapers dedicated only three sentences to her death and funeral. According to her last wishes, her remains were transported from Arenenberg to the church of Rueil near Malmaison, where she was burried beside her beloved mother, Josephine. Her youngest legitimate son inherited the ambition and strength of the Bonapartes and returned to Paris after the rule of the Bourbons (Orleans), where he became Emperor Napoleon III. As a national hymn he chose of the most popular romances composed by his mother Hortense de Beauharnais: "Partir pour la Syrie." 

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