Moniteur, 21 March, 1811
Today, 20 March, at twenty minutes past nine in the morning, the hopes of France were realised: H.M. the empress gave birth to a prince: the Roi de Rome and her august mother remain in perfect health.
On 19 [March], between eight and nine o'clock at night, H.M. began to experience the first pains of labour. The princes and princesses of the family, as well as the grand dignitaries, ministers, grand-officiers of the crown, grand-officiers of the Empire and the ladies and officers of the household, informed of this by the lady-in-waiting, assembled at the Tuileries Palace.
Between nine o'clock until 6 o'clock in the morning, the pains came and went intermittently; at six o'clock, [the labour pains] began to slow. But at eight o'clock, they returned and continued, this time without interruption, and with greater intensity, before culminating in the most joyful of deliveries.
At this most happy of moments, the emperor, who for the entire episode had lavished the most touching attention upon the empress, expressed the most intense satisfaction and, knowing with what great impatience the French people had been awaiting the opportunity to share in his joy, H.M. gave the order to fire off salvos of one hundred-and-one cannon shots, which would announce this great event to the whole of France.
Once the child had been presented to H.M. the emperor, the governess presented him to H.S.H. Mgr Archichancelier de l'Empire [Cambacérès], who was also in attendance for the birth.
H.S.H. immediately proceeded to the Salon de l'Impératrice, where he ordered H.E. Comte Regnaud de Saint-Jean-d'Angely, secretary of state for the imperial family, to draw up the notification of birth and the civil act, which was signed by H.I.H. Mgr. the grand-duc de Wurtzbourg and H.I.H. Mgr Prince Eugène, viceroy of Italy, as witnesses to the event.
These formalities completed, H.M. the emperor proceeded to the salon, and affixed his signature to the registers, which were also signed by H.I.H. Madame mère, H.M. the Queen of Spain [Julie Clary, wife of Joseph], H.M. Queen Hortense, H.I.H. Princess Pauline, H.I.H. Mgr. Prince Borghèse, and H.I.H. Mgr. Prince [Eugène], viceroy of Italy.
At the same time, the Roi de Rome, borne by Mme Comtesse de Montesquiou, governess [of the Maison des Enfants de France], followed by the colonel-général de la Garde de Service [Moncey], and preceded by the officers in his service, was carried into his chambers.
The emperor subsequently received the praises of the assembled princes, grand-dignitaries, ministers, grand-officiers of the crown and grand officiers of the Empire.
H.M. immediately dispatched a page to the Senate and a second to the Corps Municipal to inform them of the birth of the Roi de Rome.
Pages were also dispatched to the Italian senate and to the Corps Municipaux in Milan and Rome, to inform them of the news.
H.E. Comte de Ségur, grandmaster of ceremonies, dispatched Baron du Hamel, master of ceremonies, to meet the ambassadors, and M. d'Argainaratz, aide des cérémonies, to meet foreign ministers, in order to inform them of this event.
H.E. the Duc de Cadore, Minister of Foreign Affairs, sent out extraordinary dispatches to the emperor's ambassadors and ministers stationed in courts abroad to inform them of the delivery.
Letters to the princes and princesses, relatives of the emperor and the empress, were written on the emperor's behalf, and were delivered by officers of his household.
H.E. Comte de Montalivet, Minister of the Interior, dispatched letters to all the départements to inform them of the birth of the Roi de Rome; T.E. Duc de Feltre and Comte de Decrès, Minister of War and Naval Minister, dispatched orders to all ports and cities at war to fire similar artillery salvos and to decorate the fleet with flags.
H.S.H. Mgr. the Prince de Neufchâtel and de Wagram [Berthier], major-general of the army, dispatched to all the countries and posts occupied by the French armies the order to fire the same salvos as in Paris.
Over the course of the night preceding the empress' delivery, the churches in Paris were filled with an immense gathering of people imploring the heavens to deliver happiness to Their Majesties. Once the salvos could be heard ringing out, all across Paris the inhabitants went to their windows, stepped out of their doorways, filled the streets, counted the salvos of canon; with intense concern, they expressed amongst themselves their emotions and finally gave themselves over to unbridled joy once they saw that all their hopes had been realised, and that their enduring happiness was guaranteed.
That evening, the Roi de Rome was ondoyed* in the chapel of the Tuileries Palace by S.E. Mgr. le Cardinal Grand-Aumônier [Fesch], and a Te Deum was sung in the presence of those individuals already mentioned above.
An account of this ceremony will be delivered in the next edition.
This evening, a grand illumination will be held.
In order to respond to the enthusiastic crowds that continue to arrive at the palace in search of news concerning the health of H.M. the empress and her noble infant, each day between eight in the morning and eight in the evening there will be a steward stationed in the principal salon of the main chambers in order to receive any individuals that show, and transmit to them the news that they in turn shall receive twice daily from medical officials of the imperial household.
* Ondoyment: a traditional French summary baptism, preliminary to the baptism proper.
This document forms part of our close-up on: the birth of the Roi de Rome.