A close-up on: the marriage of Napoleon I and Marie-Louise of Austria

Napoleon I married Marie-Louise de Habsburg-Lorraine at civil and religious ceremonies on 1 and 2 April, 1810. The union marked a striking volte-face of alliances both for France and Austria and inaugurated a brief period of Franco-Austrian peace. Despite backbiting (notably by Talleyrand who argued that this marriage “was just to satisfy [Napoleon’s] vanity”), it nevertheless produced the one key thing: a son.

The religious marriage of Napoleon I and Marie-Louise in the Salon Carré at the Louvre, on 2 April, 1810 by Georges Rouget
© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - D. Arnaudet / H. Lewandowski