Blog category: Austrian History

  • Dangers of Walking in Vienna in the 1820s

    Dangers of Walking in Vienna in the 1820s

    February 17, 2017

    Pity the poor pedestrian in Vienna during the time in which Napoleon in America is set. Here’s what an English visitor had to say about the dangers of walking in Austria’s capital in the early 1820s. “The Art of walking the streets in London is an easy problem compared with the art of walking them in Vienna. In the former, there is some order and distinction, even in the crowd; two-legged and four-legged animals have their allotted places, and are compelled to keep them; in the latter, all this is otherwise.”

    Read more

  • The Marriage of Napoleon and Marie Louise

    The Marriage of Napoleon and Marie Louise

    April 1, 2016

    Fancy a royal wedding? Napoleon Bonaparte and his second wife Marie Louise – the “good Louise” to whom he writes about their son in Napoleon in America – had three of them. They were married in a religious ceremony on March 11, 1810, though Napoleon was not present for the occasion. They then had a civil wedding on April 1 and another religious wedding on April 2. Here’s a look at the festivities.

    Read more

  • Adam Albert von Neipperg, Lover of Napoleon’s wife

    Adam Albert von Neipperg, Lover of Napoleon’s wife

    January 23, 2015

    Adam Albert von Neipperg was an Austrian nobleman, soldier and diplomat who seduced Napoleon’s second wife, Marie Louise, while Napoleon was in exile on Elba. Charged with this task by Marie Louise’s father, Emperor Francis I of Austria, Neipperg discouraged Marie Louise from joining her husband and eventually erased any feelings of loyalty Marie Louise had towards Napoleon. Count von Neipperg had three children with Marie Louise. He then quietly married her after Napoleon’s death. Together they proved to be relatively popular governors of the Duchy of Parma.

    Read more

  • Archduke Franz Karl of Austria

    Archduke Franz Karl of Austria

    December 12, 2014

    Though he merits only a sentence in Napoleon in America, Archduke Franz Karl of Austria loomed large in the brief life of Napoleon’s son, the Duke of Reichstadt. Born on December 17, 1802, in Vienna, Franz Karl was the 10th child of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II (Francis 1 of Austria). His mother was Francis’s second wife, Prince Maria Theresa, a member of the Naples branch of the House of Bourbon. She died when Franz Karl was four. As his parents were first cousins on both sides, Franz Karl was not particularly favoured in the intellectual department. Neither was he physically strong. He was generally regarded as rather odd and dull.

    Read more

  • Caroline Augusta, Empress of Austria

    Caroline Augusta, Empress of Austria

    December 5, 2014

    Caroline Augusta was a Bavarian princess who, in 1816, became Empress of Austria thanks to an arranged marriage with Emperor Francis I. Much younger than her husband, she became a “second mother” to Francis’s grandson, Franz, who happened to be Napoleon’s son, Napoleon II. Pious, well-educated and good-hearted, she tried to bring warmth and enlightenment to the boy’s life in the Viennese court.

    Read more

  • Maurice Dietrichstein, governor of Napoleon’s son

    Maurice Dietrichstein, governor of Napoleon’s son

    November 21, 2014

    Little did Napoleon realize, when releasing Major Maurice Dietrichstein from a French prison in 1800, that the Austrian nobleman would one day be responsible for the education of his son, Napoleon II. More a musical connoisseur than a military man, Dietrichstein became the child’s governor after Napoleon’s 1815 defeat and remained in that capacity until the boy’s death in 1832. Though Dietrichstein was a strict taskmaster with impossibly high expectations, Franz (as Napoleon II was called in Austria) was grateful for the pains his governor took with his education.

    Read more

  • Clemens von Metternich: The man who outwitted Napoleon?

    Clemens von Metternich: The man who outwitted Napoleon?

    February 28, 2014

    As Austrian foreign minister from 1809 to 1848, Clemens von Metternich was a major player in European affairs for twice as long as Napoleon Bonaparte. A closet admirer of the French Emperor, he was concerned to show himself as the man who had outwitted him. Metternich was born in Coblenz on May 15, 1773 to an old aristocratic family whose members had held many high offices in the Holy Roman Empire. After studying philosophy, law and diplomacy, he followed his father into a diplomatic career.

    Read more

  • Napoleon II: Napoleon’s son, the King of Rome

    Napoleon II: Napoleon’s son, the King of Rome

    February 21, 2014

    Napoleon had at least two illegitimate children and two stepchildren, but only one legitimate child: Napoleon François Charles Joseph Bonaparte, also known as the King of Rome, Napoleon II, the Prince of Parma and the Duke of Reichstadt. He did not hold all those titles at the same time, and you can tell whether someone was a supporter of Napoleon based on how they referred to the boy after 1815. His nickname was l’Aiglon, or the Eaglet.

    Read more

  • Francis I of Austria: Napoleon’s father-in-law

    Francis I of Austria: Napoleon’s father-in-law

    February 14, 2014

    When you marry into the Austrian royal family, you might expect some benefits from the situation – say, perhaps, that Austria will not attack you. But no such luck, as Napoleon discovered in 1813, when Francis I of Austria joined the leaders of Great Britain, Russia, Prussia and Sweden in their coalition against France. But then Napoleon had a history of fighting Austria, and had already divested his father-in-law of a good portion of his kingdom.

    Read more

We must confess that fate, which sports with man, makes merry work with the affairs of this world.

Napoleon Bonaparte