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Author photo. Image from <b><i>The life of the empress Josephine, first wife of Napoleon</i></b> (1856) by Phineas Camp Headley

Image from The life of the empress Josephine, first wife of Napoleon (1856) by Phineas Camp Headley

Empress Joséphine, consort of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French (1763–1814)

Author of Roses for an Empress

Includes the names: Impératrice Joséphine, Joséphine de Beauharnais, Empress Josephine, consort of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French

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Josephine de Beauharnais was the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress of France. Born to a French Creole family on the island of Martinique, she married first in 1777 Alexandre, vicomte de Beauharnais, a French aristocrat, with whom she had two children, Hortense (later Queen of Holland) and Eugène (later one of Napoleon's generals and created Duke of Leuchtenberg). De Beauharnais was executed during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution, but Josephine survived by her wits and beauty. She married Napoleon in 1796. Because she did not produce a son and heir, Napoleon divorced her in 1810 and gave her the Château de Malmaison near Paris. There she hired landscapers and horticulturalists to create beautiful gardens in the English style. She was particularly interested in roses, and commissioned Pierre-Joseph Redouté to paint the roses in her gardens.
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