It’s an honour to be featured on A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life, talking about Napoleon’s smart sister, Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi.
Not as well-known as her sisters, beautiful Pauline and treasonous Caroline, Elisa Bonaparte was more capable than either one of them. In fact, she was the Bonaparte sibling most like Napoleon, although she had the least influence over him. Napoleon himself said, ‘Elisa has the courage of an Amazon; and like me, she cannot bear to be ruled.’ (1)Maria Anna Bonaparte – she did not adopt the name ‘Elisa’ until she was about 18 – was born in Ajaccio, Corsica on 3 January 1777, seven and a half years after Napoleon. She was the fourth of Charles and Letizia Bonaparte’s eight surviving offspring, and their eldest daughter.
Since Napoleon moved to France to go to school when Elisa was just two years old, the two of them did not have a chance to become particularly close. The one anecdote we have of them together in Corsica does not reflect well on Elisa. She apparently allowed Napoleon to be whipped for having eaten a basket of a relative’s grapes and figs, even though she and a friend were the guilty parties. (2)
To read the full post, click here. If you haven’t already visited Madame Gilflurt’s salon (“Glorious Georgian dispatches from the quill of Catherine Curzon”), I highly recommend it. A visit to Gin Lane is always enjoyable and enlightening.
For links to posts about Napoleon’s other relatives, see Napoleon’s family tree.
- Charles J. Ingersoll, History of the Second War between the United States of America and Great Britain, Second Series, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia, 1853), p. 174.
- Laure Junot, Memoirs of Napoleon, his Court, and Family, Vol. 1 (New York, 1881), pp. 15-16.
Elisa has the courage of an Amazon; and like me, she cannot bear to be ruled.