Josephine

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Josephine, 1763–1814, empress of the French (1804–9) as the consort of Napoleon I. Born Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie in Martinique, she was married in 1779 to Alexandre de Beauharnais. Two children were born, Eugène (later viceroy of Italy) and Hortense (later queen of Holland). Josephine's husband was guillotined during the French Revolution, in 1794, but she escaped with brief imprisonment that same year. In 1796 she was married, by a civil ceremony, to Napoleon Bonaparte, whom she had met through Paul Barras. Before Napoleon became emperor, they were remarried in a religious ceremony. Josephine took a prominent part in the social life of the time. Napoleon had their marriage annulled in 1809, allegedly because of her infertility, so that he might marry Marie Louise, daughter of the Austrian emperor Francis I (Holy Roman Emperor Francis II). Thereafter Josephine lived in retirement at Malmaison.

See biographies by R. M. Wilson (1930), A. Castelot (tr. 1967), C. Erickson (1999), and K. Williams (2014); study by F. Masson.

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Joséphine (1763–1814) Consort of Napoleon I and empress of the French (1804–09). Her first marriage, to Vicomte Alexandre de Beauharnais, ended (1794) with his death in the Reign of Terror. She married Napoleon in 1796. Her inability to bear him a son caused Napoleon to seek and obtain annulment of their marriage in 1809.

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Josephine (1763–1814), Empress of France 1804–9. She married Napoleon in 1796. Their marriage proved childless and she was divorced by Napoleon in 1809. She is remembered in the (probably apocryphal) words attributed to Napoleon, ‘Not tonight, Josephine’ (the phrase, current by the early 20th century, does not appear in contemporary sources).