Napoleon IV and the decline of the imperial house of the Bonaparte

Napoleon IV and the decline of the imperial house of the Bonaparte

Many people believe that the decline of the imperial house of the Bonaparte came with the death of Napoleon iii, but the truth is that he had a son with his wife Eugenia de Montijo called Napoleon Eugenio Luis Juan José Bonaparte. The story of the last member of this bloodline of revolutionary emperors is quite sad, comparable to that of Napoleon II.

He was born in Paris on March 16, 1856 as only son of Emperor Napoleon III and many historians consider it “Napoleon IV”. After his birth, he obtained the title of Prince Imperial of France and the treatment of His Imperial Highness, as well as the inheritance of the county of Teba, by his mother, and the county of Pierrefonds, by his father. At first, everyone predicted a great future for him, since his father enjoyed the support of French society to govern.

The problems came when the Second French Empire fell Y the Third French Republic was proclaimed on September 4, 1870. His father had been taken prisoner and his compatriots had no special interest in recovering him, due to the existing tensions within some sectors of society with the deposed emperor.

In any case, young Bonaparte had to go to the exile. First he went to Belgium and then to Great Britain. There he met his father again, who would die in 1873. The death of his father caused the followers to proclaim him "Napoleon IV".

The truth is, he could have been a great contender for the French throne. He had a brilliant talent, an exceptional private life, and great sympathy. These traits positioned him as a future imperial force. However, young Bonaparte was aware that not everything is won with a name, so he joined the British Army to pursue a military career.

His first mission was to go to South Africa to confront the local army. Napoleon IV took with him the sword of his great-uncle Napoleon I for luck and as a symbol of the glory of his family. But it was not like that. Fate had the worst end in store for him. The Zulus ambushed their company and was shot in full retreat. The young soldier tried to fight, but his enemies defeated him and looted his body. The usual practice in the Zulu army was to dismember their rivals, but they did not do so because of the courage and bravery that he showed by fighting to the end. The locals were satisfied with opening his body in a channel so that his spirit could cross into the afterlife.

It was a sad end for the young Bonaparte who only had 23 years behind him. He had no descendants, so the rights of succession passed to his second cousin, Prince Napoleon Victor Bonaparte, grandson of Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon I. From this moment on, the history of the house of the emperors can be concluded, since none of the members of the branch of Jerónimo Bonaparte was emperor of France.

Currently, there are still two living members of the Bonaparte family: Carlos Napoleón Bonaparte and Juan Cristofer Bonaparte. Both have held political positions in France, although very far from the imperial status of Napoleon III or Napoleon IV himself.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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