From Josephine to Empress: The Inspiring Influence on Napoleon’s Triumphs

“I have not spent a day without loving you; I have not spent a night without clasping you in my arms; I have not drunk a cup of tea without cursing the glory and ambition which keep me from the heart of my very being. In the midst of my activities, whether at the head of my troops or inspecting the camps, my adorable Josephine stands alone in my heart, she occupies my mind and fills my thoughts.”


This is a love letter from Napoleon to his beloved Josephine, whom he truly loved till the end, despite his numerous lovers, affairs, and divorce.

The first point of interaction

Napoleon was only 26 years old when he met Josephine, a young widow with two children, in 1795. Her husband, a French viscount, had been sentenced to death by guillotine the previous year.

She was the girlfriend of several well-known politicians, and she was the companion of Paul Barras, who wanted to marry his expensive mistress with Napoleon since he couldn’t sustain two mistresses.

She was ideal for the young General Bonaparte, who wanted to marry an affluent, mature, and serious aristocrat at the time, he stated.

And Josephine met every need. Napoleon fell in love unintentionally the first time they met at a party. Her charisma, intelligence, and impeccable taste drew him over. She, on the other hand, disliked him.

But Josephine, who was rather extravagant and lived a luxury lifestyle, couldn’t afford to give up the way of life she and her children had become accustomed to. Out of curiosity, she agreed to his courtship and married him right immediately.

Marriage for the sake of convenience

Neither her nor his families were in favour of the marriage. She was older, she already had two children, it was doubtful whether she would be able to give birth, and she had a reputation as a lady with questionable morals who was prone to changing boyfriends on a regular basis.

Despite this, she had a certain social standing, was well-liked by others, and was skilled at forming alliances and making contacts with those in positions of power.

Her friends considered Napoleon to be a lesser commander with little money who was constantly on the battlefield.

Napoleon had to travel quickly after his marriage since he was in love and wanted to be constantly with his bride.

He wrote her letters every day, full of adoration, love, and good words, and she responded that he loves her from afar. She continued to live a promiscuous life of sexual encounters, looking for reasons to join him.


“Because you weren’t writing to your husband….” Oh, my darling, that ‘Vous’ and those four days made me miss my previous apathy… My spirit is heavy; my heart is bound, and my fantasies disgust me…You love me less now, but you’ll get over it. Say it; I’ll know how to be worthy of this catastrophe when you no longer love me. Farewell, wife, anguish, joy, hope, and the beating heart of my being, whom I love and fear, and who inspires in me delicate sentiments that draw me near to Nature as well as passionate impulses as volcanic as Etna.”


He made love fast and hard

He felt upset and decided to leave her after discovering how she behaves while he is away, and he was the last to learn it.

He did not choose to divorce her, but he did choose to overlook his adulterous wife. Even so, the fickle Josephine was not happy.

It wasn’t until then that she began to miss him. She stopped cheating on him and decided to devote herself completely to him, making herself available to him at all times.

Even though he still loved her, he began to distance himself and began dating someone else at that moment.

Aside from that, he adored and cared for her children and didn’t want to be without Josephine’s ability to persuade others of what was best for him. She was also good at it.

In his letters, he remained sensitive: “I’m well. You have my love and my yearning. In my opinion, there is only one woman in the world. My lone love, Josephine, is gentle, eccentric, and prone to rage, but she battles and handles everything with such elegance because she is so interesting.”

He was a passionate and brutal lover. Napoleon could love like a firefighter putting out a fire, according to Josephine. However, she made so much noise while having fun that her yells usually scared half the court.

He never ceased caring about her.

Napoleon and Josephine divorced five years after she became Empress. The cause was that she did not bear a child and leave an heir. Josephine found the explanation difficult to take, but she agreed to let Napoleon marry a younger woman who could bear him an heir. However, the ex-couple maintained a friendly relationship.

Her infertility is supposed to be the only thing standing between them. He gave Josephine and her children his whole attention until the end.

She was granted permission to use the castle at Malmaison, which is not far from Paris, and she began producing roses there. There were up to 250 different types of roses in her garden.


“I want to see you!” he wrote to her a few months after the divorce. I’ll be in Malmaison at the end of the month because I’m dying to see you!”


He didn’t stop writing her love messages. He recognised at the end of his life that his new wife, the Austrian princess Matthias Louise, was helpful since she bore him a son, but Josephine filled his life with true love and was his unwavering support in everything.

When she died, he wept for days.

Josephine died of pneumonia four years after her divorce, allegedly as a result of a cold she caught while strolling around the Malmaison gardens with Russian Emperor Alexander I.

Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elbi in the same month that she died, and he learned of her death while still fighting for his life. Napoleon then allegedly secluded himself in a room for two days, refusing to come out.

The final words he whispered on his deathbed were “Josephine.”

He wore the violets she gave him as a necklace around his neck until his death.


This post was written by Mario Bekes