Napoleon II of France

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Napoléon François Joseph Charles (Bonaparte), Duke of Reichstadt (20 March 1811 – 22 July 1832), since 1818 known as Franz, Duke of Reichstadt, was the son of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, and his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria. By Title III, article 9 of the French Constitution of the time, he was Prince Imperial, but he was also known from birth as the King of Rome which Napoleon I declared was the courtesy title of the heir-apparent. His father abdicated in his favour, thereby transferring to him the title of Emperor of the French, in 1815.

Contents

Life

Napoléon François Joseph Charles was born at the Tuileries Palace in Paris to Emperor Napoleon I and his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria in 1811. As Napoléon I's eldest legitimate son, he was already constitutionally Prince Imperial and heir-apparent, but the Emperor also gave his son the style "His Majesty the King of Rome". Three years later, the First French Empire—to which he was heir—collapsed. Napoleon wanted to abdicate the throne in favour of his toddler son, but the Allied Powers, at the insistence of the Emperor Alexander I of Russia, refused.

On 29 March 1814, accompanied by her suite, the empress left the Tuileries Palace with her son. Their first stop was the Château de Rambouillet; then, fearing the advancing enemy troops, they continued on to the Château de Blois. On 13 April, with her suite much diminished, Marie-Louise and the three-year-old King of Rome were back in Rambouillet where they met her father, the Emperor Francis II of Austria, and the Emperor Alexander I of Russia. On 23 April, escorted by an Austrian regiment, mother and son left Rambouillet and France forever, for their exile in Austria.[1]

In 1815, after his defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon abdicated in favour of his son, whom he had not seen since his exile to Elba.

The day after Napoleon's abdication, a Commission of Government of five members took the rule of France,[2] waiting the return of King Louis XVIII who was in Cateau-Cambresis.[3] The Commission held the power for two weeks, and it never summoned Napoleon II as emperor, and no regent was ever appointed. The entrance of the Allies into Paris on 7 July brought a rapid end to his supporters' wishes. Napoleon II, aged 4, was residing in Austria with his mother and was probably never aware at the time that he had been proclaimed Emperor in his father's abdication. The next Bonaparte to come to the throne of France (in 1852) took the name Napoleon III in deference to his cousin's theoretical reign.

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