What happened to Josephine Napoleon's wife

Emancipated advocate of slavery

Joséphine Bonaparte, widowed Beauharnais, was neither born for a throne nor could one have said that she had particular ambitions or even political ambitions. She was more likely to attract attention because of her sympathetic indolence and nonchalance, which was attributed to the climate on the island of Martinique, where the daughter of a noble naval officer was born on June 23, 1763: the journalist Friedrich Sieburg still raved about her in the 20th century, as if he had known her personally:

"Lovely, casual Joséphine, no painter has ever succeeded in completely reproducing your smoothness, your feminine refinement and the magic of your tropical origins."

The magic of Joséphine's tropical origins was also expressed in the fact that she was a staunch advocate of slavery, whose temporary abolition by the French Revolution affected the business of her parents' sugar cane plantation. Otherwise, Joséphine's contemporaries described her as a friendly person, also devoted to her subordinates, harmless and generous. Money - she never learned to deal with it, no matter how much she got from it.
At 16 she was married to a good-for-nothing count from Paris, Alexandre de Beauharnais, with whom she had children Hortense and Eugène, before the couple hastily separated again in 1785 after six years of unhappy marriage. The French Revolution put her husband on the guillotine, she escaped the reign of terror because Robespierre was overthrown just in time and the bourgeois government of the Directory was established.

"We had our neighbor Madame de Beauharnais, whose great happy career we could not have foreseen at all", "

reported a Monsieur Pasquier who lived next to Joséphine's villa.

"" As is customary among the Creoles, their home displayed a kind of ostentatious luxury. Despite this abundance on the one hand, the most necessary utensils were often missing. "

And Joséphine then borrowed it from Monsieur Pasquier - which annoyed him, because there was still shortage in Paris while the corrupt new power cliques were celebrating; This new class included women who claimed unheard-of liberties, wore transparent dresses, and appeared self-confident and fun-loving: Madame Tallien, Madame Récamier, Madame Beauharnais.
When Joséphine married Napoleon Bonaparte, seven years her junior, in 1796, she was "Notre Dame de Victoire", a star in post-revolutionary Paris, while he was a fairly unknown young soldier. He never forgot that his true career began in Joséphine's salon.

"Through my marriage to Madame de Beauharnais, I came into contact with a party whose support was absolutely necessary for me. Without the help of my wife, I would never have been able to find friendly contact with this party."