Bonaparte, Pauline (1780–1825)

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Bonaparte, Pauline (1780–1825)

Princess Borghese and duchess of Guastalla. Name variations: Marie Pauline; Maria-Paoletta. Born Carlotta Bonaparte in Ajaccio, Corsica, on October 20, 1780; died in Florence, Italy, on June 9, 1825; daughter ofLetizia Bonaparte (1750–1836) and Carlo Bonaparte (a Corsican lawyer); younger sister of Napoleon I, emperor of France (r. 1804–1815); married Charles Victor-Emmanuel Leclerc, in 1797 (died); married Prince Camillo Borghese, on August 28, 1803; children: (first marriage) one son, Napoléon Dermide.

Pauline was Napoleon's youngest and favorite sister. Known for her beauty and promiscuity (Canova's statue of her as Venus is famous), she married General C.V.E. Leclerc, a staff officer of Napoleon in 1797. Following his death from yellow fever, she married Prince Camillo Borghese, only to tire of him and return to Paris, where her appearance and behavior (she was said to dress oddly and frequent fortune-tellers) caused somewhat of a scandal. She received the title of duchess of Guastalla in 1806, but her shabby treatment of Napoleon's second wife, Marie Louise of Austria , led to her removal from court in 1810. Pauline retired to Elba in 1814 with her mother and was legally separated from her second husband in 1816. She died of stomach cancer, as did many of the Bonapartes, in 1825, after being reconciled with her husband for the last few months of her life.

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