Louis Bonaparte

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Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, Prince Français, King of Holland, Comte de Saint-Leu (Lodewijk Napoleon in Dutch) (September 2, 1778 – July 25, 1846) was the fifth surviving child and the fourth surviving son of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino. His brother and third son were the first and last emperors of France, Napoleon I, and Napoleon III.


Early life

Louis was born Luigi Buonaparte in Ajaccio, Corsica. He was a younger brother of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon I of France, Lucien Bonaparte, and Elisa Bonaparte, and the older brother of Pauline Bonaparte, Caroline Bonaparte, and Jérôme Bonaparte.

Louis Bonapart's early career was spent in the Army, and he served with Napoleon in Egypt. Thanks to his older brother, Napoleon, Louis was a General by the age of 25, although he himself felt that he had risen too high in too short a time.

Upon Louis's return to France, he was involved in Napoleon's plot to overthrow the Directory. After becoming the First Consul, Napoleon arranged for a marriage between Louis and Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of Empress Josephine, and hence Napoleon's stepdaughter. Hortense, who was opposed to the marriage at first, was persuaded by her mother to marry Louis for the sake of the family, and she did so.

Louis supposedly had a poor mental condition at times, and supposedly suffered from periods of mental illness.[1] Louis's "poor mental condition" may have been periods of depression caused by trying to hide his homosexuality or bisexuality.[2] These periods of depression or mental instability (records fail to distinguish) would plague Louis, and consequently Napoleon, until his death.

As the King of Holland

Napoleon made him the King of Holland on June 5, 1806. Though the older brother, Napoleon, had intended for the younger brother to be little more than a French governor of Holland, Louis took his duties as the King seriously, calling himself Koning Lodewijk I (adopting the Dutch form of his name), attempting to learn the Dutch language, and trying hard to be a responsible, independent ruler of Holland. Allegedly, when he first arrived in Holland[citation needed], he told the people he was the Konijn van 'Olland ("rabbit of 'Olland"), rather than "Koning van Holland" ("King of Holland"), because his Dutch was not very good by then. However, his attempt at speaking the Dutch language earned him some respect from his subjects.

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