Stéphanie de Beauharnais
Stéphanie, Grand Duchess of Baden (Stéphanie Louise Adrienne de Beauharnais) (August 28, 1789 – January 29, 1860) was the consort
Princess consort
Princess consort is a title or an informal designation normally given to the wife of a sovereign prince. Since a male sovereign ruler is generally titled as a king and not a prince, the title of princess consort is not widely used. More rarely, it may be given to the spouse of a king, if the more...

 of Karl, Grand Duke of Baden
Karl, Grand Duke of Baden
Charles, Grand Duke of Baden became ruler of Baden on June 11, 1811 and ruled until his death. He was born in Karlsruhe....



Born in Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

 at the beginning of the French revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, Stéphanie was a great-granddaughter to Claude de Beauharnais (1680–1738) and Renée Hardouineau (1696–1744) who were married in La Rochelle
La Rochelle
La Rochelle is a city in western France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department.The city is connected to the Île de Ré by a bridge completed on 19 May 1988...

 during 1713. Their oldest son was François de Beauharnais
Francis V of Beauharnais
François V de Beauharnais was a French nobleman, soldier, politician, colonial governor and admiral. He was baron de Beauville, marquis de la Ferté-Beauharnais, chef d'escadre des armées royales, and governor of the French colony of Martinique...

, Marquess
A marquess or marquis is a nobleman of hereditary rank in various European peerages and in those of some of their former colonies. The term is also used to translate equivalent oriental styles, as in imperial China, Japan, and Vietnam...

 de la Ferte-Beauharnais (1714–1800) who served as a governor of Martinique
Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of . Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. To the northwest lies Dominica, to the south St Lucia, and to the southeast Barbados...

. Their younger son was Claude de Beauharnais, 1st Count des Roches-Baritaud (1717–1784), Stephanie's paternal grandfather.

Claude was married in 1753 to Marie Anne Françoise Mouchard (1738–1813), known in poetry as Fanny de Beauharnais
Fanny de Beauharnais
Fanny de Beauharnais, née Marie-Anne-Françoise Mouchard, was a French lady of letters. She was the mother of French politician Claude de Beauharnais...

. Their oldest son was Claude de Beauharnais, 2nd Count des Roches-Baritaud (1756–1819). In 1783 the 2nd Count married Claude Françoise de Lezay (1767–1791). The marriage resulted in the birth of first her older brother Alberic de Beauharnais (1786–1791) and then Stephanie herself. Her father was remarried in 1799 to Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis (1775–1850). The second marriage resulted in the birth of her half-sister Joséphine de Beauharnais, Marchioness de Quiqueran-Beaujeu (1803–1870).

The fates of her family however would be defined by another Joséphine. On December 13, 1779 Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais
Alexandre, vicomte de Beauharnais
Alexandre François Marie de Beauharnais, Vicomte de Beauharnais was a French political figure and general during the French Revolution...

, first cousin of her father, was married to Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie
Joséphine de Beauharnais
Joséphine de Beauharnais was the first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, and thus the first Empress of the French. Her first husband Alexandre de Beauharnais had been guillotined during the Reign of Terror, and she had been imprisoned in the Carmes prison until her release five days after Alexandre's...

. On July 23, 1794, Alexandre was guillotine
The guillotine is a device used for carrying out :executions by decapitation. It consists of a tall upright frame from which an angled blade is suspended. This blade is raised with a rope and then allowed to drop, severing the head from the body...

d. Joséphine had affairs with several influential figures of the French Directory
French Directory
The Directory was a body of five Directors that held executive power in France following the Convention and preceding the Consulate...

, including Paul François Jean Nicolas Barras. The later would introduce her to his recent favorite Napoléon Bonaparte. Napoléon soon started courting her. On March 9, 1796 they were married.

A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 Napoléon was now stepfather to Eugène de Beauharnais
Eugène de Beauharnais
Eugène Rose de Beauharnais, Prince Français, Prince of Venice, Viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy, Hereditary Grand Duke of Frankfurt, 1st Duke of Leuchtenberg and 1st Prince of Eichstätt ad personam was the first child and only son of Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais and Joséphine Tascher de la...

 and Hortense de Beauharnais
Hortense de Beauharnais
Hortense Eugénie Cécile Bonaparte , Queen Consort of Holland, was the stepdaughter of Emperor Napoleon I, being the daughter of his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais. She later became the wife of the former's brother, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, and the mother of Napoleon III, Emperor of...

, second cousins of Stephanie. As his prominence and wealth continued to rise, Napoléon found himself being de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

Patrón is a luxury brand of tequila produced in Mexico and sold in hand-blown, individually numbered bottles.Made entirely from Blue Agave "piñas" , Patrón comes in five varieties: Silver, Añejo, Reposado, Gran Patrón Platinum and Gran Patrón Burdeos. Patrón also sells a tequila-coffee blend known...

 to both the Bonaparte
The House of Bonaparte is an imperial and royal European dynasty founded by Napoleon I of France in 1804, a French military leader who rose to notability out of the French Revolution and transformed the French Republic into the First French Empire within five years of his coup d'état...

 and the de Beauharnais families. Stephanie would soon see her patron rise to become First Consul
French Consulate
The Consulate was the government of France between the fall of the Directory in the coup of 18 Brumaire in 1799 until the start of the Napoleonic Empire in 1804...

 of France.

Her "uncle" crowned himself Emperor of the French on December 2, 1804. As a prominent member of the new Imperial Family, Stephanie held residence in the Tuileries Palace
Tuileries Palace
The Tuileries Palace was a royal palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine until 1871, when it was destroyed in the upheaval during the suppression of the Paris Commune...

. Her new status allowed her to live a rather luxurious life. She would soon however have to depart both the Palace and France.

This was a consequence of Napoleon's effort to secure an alliance with the Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

 of Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

. The alliance was to be secured through a marriage between the descendants of the two sovereigns
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, connecting the two dynasties
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

. The Prince-Elector was to be represented by his grandson. Napoleon on the other hand lacked legitimate descendants of his own. He adopted Stephanie and named her "Princesse Française" (French Princess
Princess is the feminine form of prince . Most often, the term has been used for the consort of a prince, or his daughters....

) with the style of Imperial Highness. The marriage took place in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 on April 8, 1806. On July 25, 1806 her new grandfather-in-law was named Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Baden
Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Baden
Charles Frederick, 1st Grand Duke of Baden was Margrave, elector and later Grand Duke of Baden from 1738 until his death.-Biography:...

. He would serve as head to the Confederation of the Rhine
Confederation of the Rhine
The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria's Francis II and Russia's Alexander I in the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the...


By most accounts the arranged marriage was not particularly successful. Her husband was determined to continue living as a bachelor
A bachelor is a man above the age of majority who has never been married . Unlike his female counterpart, the spinster, a bachelor may have had children...

. He set residence in Karlsruhe
The City of Karlsruhe is a city in the southwest of Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, located near the French-German border.Karlsruhe was founded in 1715 as Karlsruhe Palace, when Germany was a series of principalities and city states...

. She was allowed to settle separately in Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

. Even the official complaints by the Emperor did not resolve this situation. The Grand Duke offered Schwetzingen
Schwetzingen is a German town situated in the northwest of Baden-Württemberg, around southwest of Heidelberg and southeast of Mannheim.Schwetzingen is one of the 5 biggest cities of the Rhein-Neckar-Kreis district and it is a medium-sized centre including the cities and municipalities of...

 to be their common summer residence. But only Stephanie accepted the offer. The situation changed somewhat when it became evident that the aging Grand Duke
Grand Duke
The title grand duke is used in Western Europe and particularly in Germanic countries for provincial sovereigns. Grand duke is of a protocolary rank below a king but higher than a sovereign duke. Grand duke is also the usual and established translation of grand prince in languages which do not...

 would not live much longer. The couple apparently reconciled in an effort to produce heirs for the throne.


On June 10, 1811, Stephanie's husband, Karl
Karl, Grand Duke of Baden
Charles, Grand Duke of Baden became ruler of Baden on June 11, 1811 and ruled until his death. He was born in Karlsruhe....

 succeeded his grandfather as Grand Duke of Baden. He and Grand Duchess Stephanie would have five children:
  • Princess Luise Amelie Stephanie of Baden
    Princess Louise Amelie of Baden
    Princess Louise Amelie Stephanie of Baden was a daughter of Karl, Grand Duke of Baden and his wife Stéphanie de Beauharnais.-Family:...

     (June 5, 1811 – July 19, 1854). She was married on November 30, 1830 to Gustav, Prince of Vasa.
  • Unnamed son (September 29, 1812 – October 16, 1812). One theory suspects the dead unnamed child to be unrelated to her and her actual son (and therefore the hereditary prince) to be Kaspar Hauser
    Kaspar Hauser
    Kaspar Hauser was a German youth who claimed to have grown up in the total isolation of a darkened cell. Hauser's claims, and his subsequent death by stabbing, sparked much debate and controversy....

    . Although some authors have argued that this was not the case, "the silly fairytale, which to this day moves many pens and has found much belief, was fully disproved in Otto Mittelstädt's book on Kaspar Hauser and his Baden Princedom (Heidelberg 1876)." The idea has remained current in some circles to this day.
  • Princess Josephine Friederike Luise of Baden (October 21, 1813 – June 19, 1900). She was married on October 21, 1834 to Karl Anton
    Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
    Prince Charles Anthony of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was head of the Princely House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern from 1869 and Prime Minister of Prussia...

    , Fürst
    Fürst is a German title of nobility, usually translated into English as Prince.The term refers to the head of a principality and is distinguished from the son of a monarch, who is referred to as Prinz...

     of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
    -Noble jurisdictions:Prince Karl Eitel of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, and descendants of his nephew Ferdinand ruled over the Kingdom of Romania, as Karl Eitel did not have children...

  • Prince Alexander of Baden (May 1–8, 1816)
  • Princess Marie Amelie Elisabeth Karoline of Baden (October 11, 1818 – October 8, 1888). She was married on February 23, 1843 to William Alexander Anthony Archibald Douglas-Hamilton, 11th Duke of Hamilton.

Among her descendants are the former Kings of Romania and former King of Yugoslavia, the present King of the Belgians, the present Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Grand Duke of Luxembourg
The Grand Duke of Luxembourg is the sovereign monarch and head of state of Luxembourg. Luxembourg has been a grand duchy since 15 March 1815, when it was elevated from a duchy when placed in personal union with the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

 and the present Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

The Grand Duke died on December 8, 1818. Stephanie remained a widow for the rest of her long life. She was reportedly a devoted mother to her three daughters. Her residence in Mannheim became a popular Salon
Salon (gathering)
A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to...

 for artist
An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts and/or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only...

s and intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

s. Stephanie died in Nice
Nice is the fifth most populous city in France, after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, with a population of 348,721 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of more than 955,000 on an area of...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

at the age of 71, in 1860, 41 years after her husband.

External links

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