Jérôme Bonaparte

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Jérôme-Napoléon Bonaparte, French Prince, King of Westphalia, 1st Prince of Montfort (15 November 1784 – 24 June 1860) was the youngest brother of Napoleon, who made him king of Westphalia (1807–1813). After 1848, when his nephew Louis Napoleon became President of the French Republic, he served in several official roles.


Early life

Jérôme was born Girolamo Buonaparte in Ajaccio, Corsica as the eighth and last surviving child, fifth surviving son, of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino. He was a younger brother of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte, Lucien Bonaparte, Elisa Bonaparte, Louis Bonaparte, Pauline Bonaparte and Caroline Bonaparte.

He studied at the Catholic college of Juilly, and then served with the French navy before going to the United States. On 24 December 1803, Jérôme married Elizabeth Patterson (1785–1879), daughter of Baltimore merchant William Patterson and his wife Dorcas Spear. Napoleon was unable to convince Pope Pius VII to annul their marriage, so he annulled their marriage himself. Elizabeth was pregnant at the time with a son, and on her way to Europe with Jérôme. When they landed in neutral Portugal, Jerome set off overland to Italy to attempt to convince his brother to recognize the marriage. Elizabeth then attempted to land in Amsterdam, but Napoleon had issued orders barring the ship from entering the harbour. Being with child Elizabeth went on to England where Jérôme Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 95 Camberwell Grove, Camberwell, London, England. Jérôme never saw Elizabeth again {she was divorced by a Special decree of the Maryland Assembly in 1815}.

King of Westphalia

Made king of Westphalia, the short-lived realm created by Napoleon from the states of northwestern Germany (1807–1813), with its capital in Kassel (then: Cassel), Jérôme married Catharina of Württemberg, the daughter of the King of Württemberg in a marriage arranged by Napoleon. The connection to a German princess was intended to strengthen the reputation of the young French king. In order to emphasize his rank as a ruler, Jérôme commissioned grandiose state portraits of himself and his spouse. Other paintings celebrated his military exploits. France's most prominent painters were in his service.

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