Life of Josephine (Marie-Joseph-Rose de Tascher de La Pagerie)

Period : Directory / 1st Empire
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1726: Gaspard Joseph de Tascher, grandfather of Josephine came to Martinique to seek his fortune.
28 May, 1760: Alexandre de Beauharnais was born at Fort-Royal, on the island of Martinique, son of François de Beauharnais, baron of Beauville, marquis de La Ferté Beauharnais and of Henriette Pyvart de Chastullé.
23 June, 1763: Marie-Joseph Rose de Tascher de la Pagerie, was born on the plantation known as Trois-Îlets in Martinique, daughter of Joseph Gaspard de Tascher and Rose-Claire Des Vergers de Sannois.
1773-1777: Rose was sent to the Dames de-la-Providence convent at Fort-Royal for her education. On leaving the convent, Rose participated in the social life of the island.
End of October 1779: Rose went to Brest with her father for her marriage to Alexandre de Beauharnais. This marriage had been suggested by Marie-Euphémie Désirée de Tascher de La Pagerie, future Mme de Renaudin, Rose's aunt and also François de Beauharnais' mistress.
10 December, 1779: The marriage contract between Rose and Alexandre de Beauharnais was signed in Paris.
13 December, 1779: The couple was married at the church of Noisy-le-Grand, a town to the east of Paris.
3 September 1781: Rose gave birth to a son, Eugène. Alexandre was, however, very much an absentee husband with frequent visits, not only to Martinique but also in France.
10 April, 1783: Rose gave birth to a daughter, Hortense-Eugénie.
End of November, 1783: Historians believe that Alexandre was at this period strongly under the influence of his lover, Marie-Françoise-Laure de Longpré. It is said that it was she who encouraged Alexandre to write letters accusing Rose (unjustly, it would appear) of infidelity and demanding either that she return to Martinique or that she go into a convent. As a result, Rose entered the Penthémont Abbey, rue de Grenelle, Paris.
8 December, 1783: Rose, faced with this unjust criticism, filed a complaint against her husband.
10 December, 1783: Rose asked for a separation from her husband.
4 March, 1785: Alexandre, when faced with his wife's legal challenge, recanted on every single one of his accusations.
5 March, 1785: The document enshrining the separation of the Beauharnais couple was signed on this day. In this out-of-court settlement; Alexandre recognised Hortense as his own daughter. He also agreed to pay Rose 5,000 livres annually as a pension, as well as to provide an additional 1,000 livres for his daughter – Rose was later to maintain that he did not honour this financial agreement. She was to have custody of Hortense, but as for Eugène, the agreement stipulated that he would leave his mother for his father once he was five years old.
September, 1785: Rose moved to Fontainebleau, to be with her father-in-law and aunt. It is possible that Alexandre, weighed down by his father's debt, was unable to pay for his wife to stay in the Abbey. Both were to suffer financial problems for the next few years; Rose was forced to sell some of her jewels to support herself.
3 December, 1785: Rose and Alexandre's separation became official.
September, 1786: Eugène moved to live with his father and was subsequently sent to the College d'Harcourt.
End of November, 1787: Rose left Fontainebleau and accepted the hospitality of Denis de Rougemont du Löwenberg (a banker) and his wife in Paris.
June, 1788: Rose returned to Martinique with her daughter Hortense, where she was to stay for two years. According to some historians, Rose extended her stay to give birth to a daughter, Marie Josephine Bénaguette. Whilst an entry in the imperial records of 1807 shows that Napoleon granted her a dowry, there is not sufficient evidence to support this claim.
14 July, 1789: Fall of the Bastille. French Revolution.
4 September, 1790: Due to the repercussions of the Revolution on the island, Rose (and Hortense) hurriedly left Martinique to return to France, leaving behind a dying father and an ill sister.
29 October, 1790: Rose and her daughter arrived in Toulon and headed straight for Fontainebleau where they stayed with the Marquis de Beauharnais and Mme Renaudin. Despite the difficult political situation in Paris, Rose occasionally travelled up to Paris, staying with her brother-in-law, François de Beauharnais, at the Hotel de Beauharnais, rue Neuve-des-Mathurins, where she kept an apartment. Rose stayed in Fontainebleau until the summer of 1791 but occasionally went up to Paris. Whilst in Fontainebleau, she learnt that her husband was making a name for himself in politics, becoming secretary of the Assemblée nationale on 23 November.
7 November, 1790: Rose's father Joseph-Gaspard de Tascher died, leaving enormous debts for his wife to pay off.
21 June – 3 July 1791: Alexandre was elected president of the Constituent Assembly. At his request, Eugène returned to the college d'Harcourt. Hortense was sent to the Abbaye-Aux-Bois convent for her education, whose abbess, Mme de Chabrillan, was linked to the family. Rose established herself in Paris and formed a circle of contacts.
31 July 1791: Alexandre was re-elected president of the Constituent Assembly.
5 November, 1791: Rose's last sister, twenty-five-year-old Marie-Françoise died, leaving Rose as sole inheritor to their parents.
20 June, 1792: First attack on the Tuileries.
10 August, 1792: After the second attack on the Tuileries and the massacre of the Swiss Guards, Rose sent for her children. She tried to send them to safety in England with the prince of Salm but Alexandre, who had by then changed his political career for an army one, refused and asked the prince, a friend of his, to bring his children back to Paris.
2-6 September, 1792: September Massacres.
7 September, 1792: Alexandre was appointed General in Chief for the defence of Strasbourg.
21 September, 1792: Proclamation of the French Republic (the First) by National Convention.
October, 1792: Rose left Paris and went to stay in Croissy with Hortense, using her husband's political status to form influential political allies, such as Tallien and Vadier. Eugène was sent to the Collège National de Strasbourg by his father and then on to military training in Wissembourg.
21 January, 1793: Execution of Louis XVI. Rose's father had been the king's mother's page.
30 May, 1793: Publication of the decree appointing Alexandre as commander in chief of the Armée du Rhin. After the failed defence of Mainz, he resigned in August of the same year. Rose used her political allies to try and help her husband and other people close to her.
16 October, 1793: Execution of Marie-Antoinette.
11 March, 1794: Alexandre was arrested on account of his capitulation at Mainz and for his involvement with General Custine. He was eventually incarcerated in the Prison des Carmes.
21 April, 1794: Rose, arrested on account of her political activity, was also sent to the Carmes. Eugène and Hortense were left in the care of their governess, Marie Lannoy, and they apparently communicated with their parents hiding messages in their dog.  There were rumours that at this time Rose had an affair with Hoche and that Alexandre was romantically linked with Delphine de Custine.
23 July, 1794: Alexandre de Beauharnais was executed unjustly, on a trumped-up charge of participation in a conspiracy. He was in fact victim of a political witch-hunt and a ghastly campaign to reduce prison population.
6 August, 1794: Rose, now a widow, was freed from the Carmes prison after the fall of Robespierre (28 July) and stayed in Paris. It is possible that, as she had trouble finding somewhere to stay, Rose may have spent some time in Fontainebleau before returning to Croissy with Hortense. Eugène was to follow the General Hoche.
1795: Rose had trouble recovering her husband's property and so was very short of money – a perennial problem for her. At this time, she was rumoured to have a liaison with Barras, who took her under his wing and protected her financially.
19 August, 1795: Alexandre de Beauharnais' children were allowed to receive their full inheritance.
August – September, 1795: Rose sent her children to boarding school in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Hortense at Mme Campan's institution and Eugène to the Irish MacDermott School.
5 October, 1795: The coup d'état of 13 Vendémiaire brings the young Corsican artilleryman, Napoleone Buonaparte, into the public eye.
15 October, 1795: According Eugène's memoirs, Napoleon met Rose when the young general came to the Beauharnais house personally to deliver the authorisation allowing Eugène to keep his father's sabre. Other historians have maintained that they had met before socially in Paris as a result of their common acquaintances, such as Barras and Hoche.
October, 1795: It is said that Rose made a short trip to Hamburg.
28 October/November/December?, 1795: Josephine's first surviving letter to Napoleon, complaining that he had abandoned her and begging him to come and visit her.
December, 1795: Napoleon's first surviving letter to Rose. In it he calls her Josephine, an appellation derived from her second Christian name, thereby fixing her new name for posterity.
21 January, 1796: during a dinner at Barras' celebrating the anniversary of Louis XVI's execution, Hortense saw Bonaparte for the first time. This is also when Josephine and Napoleon's relationship became public.
7 February, 1796: The bans of marriage between Napoleon and Josephine were published.
9 March, 1796: Civil marriage of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais, in the Mairie of the 2nd Arrondissement in Paris. This was witnessed by Barras, Lemarrois, Calmelet and Tallien. According to the marriage certificate, Josephine made herself four years younger and Napoleon gave himself eighteen months more. The wedding ceremony, which was planned for 8pm, was delayed two hours because Napoleon was late.
11 March, 1796: Bonaparte left to become head of the Armée d'Italie, an office which he had received on 2 March. Josephine stayed in Paris, preferring Parisian society life. Napoleon would complain that she did not write enough to him. Historians believe that a love affair between her and Hippolyte Charles, a young lieutenant nine years her junior, began at this time.
26 June, 1796: Under pressure from her husband, Josephine finally agreed to join Napoleon in Italy. She was accompanied on the journey by, among others, Hippolyte Charles. She nevertheless kept up her relationship with her aunt and father-in-law, visiting them in Fontainebleau on her way to Italy.
10 July, 1796: Josephine arrived in Milan and stayed in Italy for eighteen months. Despite the pomp and circumstance of her stay in Milan, Josephine wrote to her friends complaining how bored she was.
Spring; 1797: The Bonapartes settled in the château de Mombello, eighteen kilometres from Milan. There, Josephine received her husband's mother and sisters. Napoleon's family was famously never to like “that Beauharnais woman”.
5 December, 1797: Napoleon returned to Paris, expecting to be welcomed by his wife, but she was still travelling around Italy and took longer than expected to return to the French capital. Rumours about her liaison with Charles were still circulating, and it seems that even Napoleon was aware of it.
2 January, 1798: Josephine returned to Paris, where she continued her affair with Hippolyte Charles.
4 Mai, 1798: Josephine went to Toulon with her husband but remained there whilst Napoleon continued on to Egypt.
14 June- 11 September, 1798: Josephine went to the thermal town of Plombieres (Savoy), to take the waters which were supposed to have powers against infertility. On 20 June, she was badly injured after falling from a balcony, and Hortense left school in Saint Germain to come and nurse her mother. Once she had recovered, Josephine returned to Paris.
December, 1798: Napoleon began an affair with the wife of a soldier, Pauline Fourès. Eugène, as he wrote in a letter to his mother, was aware of this infidelity to his mother and asked to be transferred to another regiment in order not to have to witness the affair.
21 April, 1799: The château de Malmaison at Rueil was bought. Josephine seems to have stayed there all summer but by the end of September she was back in Paris.
10-11 October, 1799: Josephine went to Lyons to meet Napoleon who was returning from Egypt, but they followed different routes and so missed each other.
16 October, 1799: Bonaparte reached Paris and was furious not to find Josephine there to welcome him. Her involvement with Hippolyte Charles and the Bodin Company (a company with which she was involved and which had recently failed) must have been present in his mind. There was much talk at the time of a possible divorce between the couple.
18 October, 1799: Josephine returned to Paris but Napoleon would not see her at first.  They were subsequently reconciliated, possibly thanks to Eugène and Hortense. Josephine's affair with Charles seems to have finished here.
9-10 November, 1799: After the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire, Napoleon became provisional consul with Sieyes and Roger Ducos.
15 November, 1799: The consular couple moved into the Petit-Luxembourg palace.
19 February, 1800: Bonaparte and Josephine moved into Louis XVI's apartments in the Tuileries Palace.
6 May, 1800: Bonaparte left for the Second Italian Campaign. Whilst in Milan he took another mistress, the singer Giulia Grassini, who was subsequently installed in Paris.
2 July, 1800: Napoleon returned from Italy, and a formal dinner was held at Malmaison to celebrate the victory of Marengo.
27 July, 1800: Josephine went to Joseph Bonaparte's chateau at Mortefontaine (north of Paris) with her children and was followed by Napoleon the following day.
24 December, 1800: A murderous failed assassination attempt took place against Bonaparte in the rue Saint-Nicaise (a street close to the Tuileries palace) whilst the consular couple were on their way to the opera to hear the first French performance of Haydn's Creation. The carriage bearing Josephine was damaged in the explosion and Hortense was cut by flying glass.
7 July – 5 August, 1801: Josephine's second visit to Plombieres. Napoleon was keen to produce an heir, and reports circulated of his being impotent.
3 January, 1802: Josephine's daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais, married Napoleon's brother, Louis Bonaparte, in Paris. The marriage was unhappy but three children were born. The only surviving son would become Napoleon III.
9-31 January, 1802: Napoleon and Josephine went to Lyons for Napoleon's investiture as president of the new Italian Republic.
15 June – 12 July, 1802: Josephine returned to Plombieres.
2 August, 1802: Napoleon was declared First Consul for life.
18 September, 1802: the consular couple moved to the Château de Saint-Cloud (palace now destroyed, close to western Paris).
11 October, 1802: Josephine's first grandchild, Napoleon-Charles, was born, son of Hortense.
29 October – 14 November, 1802: Trip to Normandy and around the Oise region with the First Consul.
24 June – 11 August, 1803: Josephine travelled around the north of France and Flanders with Napoleon. When they returned to Paris, they stayed alternately in the Tuileries and Saint-Cloud.
18 May, 1804: A sénatus-consulte proclaiming Bonaparte 'Emperor of the French' and Josephine ‘Empress of the French' containing modifications to the Constitution (known also as the 'Constitution of an XII') was approved unanimously (apart from three votes against and two abstentions). The sénatus-consulte was applied immediately as a result of demands by Cambacérès, without waiting for the results of the plebiscite on the principle of hereditary empire.
Beginning of August – 11 September, 1804: Josephine went to take the waters at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen), where she was joined by her husband on 2 September. On 7 September, Napoleon stood in reflection before the tomb of Charlemagne.
12 September – 12 October, 1804: The couple travelled around the Rhine region.
22-28 November, 1804: They stayed at Fontainebleau, to welcome the Pope, whom Napoleon had asked to be present at the coronation.
1 December, 1804: It is rumoured that it was Josephine who informed the Pope that she was not religiously married to the Emperor. Be that as it may, naturally the consecration ceremony could not go ahead if the couple were living in mortal sin. A religious marriage between Josephine and Napoleon – which would much complicate the later separation in 1809 – was organised in great haste and with much secrecy and carried out in the presence of cardinal Fesch.
2 December, 1804: The coronation; Josephine was crowned Empress at Notre-Dame de Paris by Napoleon (who also crowned himself). From the proclamation of the empire on 18 May until her separation from Napoleon in 1809, Josephine was not to see much of her husband. 
18 December, 1804: Josephine's second grandchild, the prince Napoleon-Louis, was born in Paris, son of Hortense.
2 April – 17 July, 1805: Napoleon and Josephine travelled to Milan for Napoleon's coronation as king of Italy on 26 May. During this time, Napoleon took Josephine to the battlefield of Marengo, where he had troops re-enact the battle before her.
1-30 August, 1805: Another visit to Plombieres.
24 September – 28 November, 1805: Josephine stayed at the Strasbourg Palace, accompanied by Napoleon until 1 October.
28 November – 4 December, 1805: The Empress travelled around Germany on her own, arriving in Munich on 5 December. Napoleon joined her there, on 31 December, after the successful battle of Austerlitz and treaty of Pressburg.
14 January, 1806: Josephine's son Eugène de Beauharnais married Princess Augusta of Bavaria in Munich.
26 January, 1806: Josephine was back in Paris.
5 June, 1806: Hortense is proclaimed Queen of Holland, by virtue of her marriage to Napoleon's brother, Louis.
25 September, 1806 – 31 January, 1807: The Imperial couple went to Mainz; Napoleon left 1 October, leaving Josephine there. They did not see each other again for nearly a year as Napoleon was to stay in Prussia and East Prussia. It is at this time that the Emperor met Marie Walewska. Josephine is reported to have been desolate without her husband.
14 March, 1807: Birth in Milan of Augusta and Eugène's daughter, Princess Josephine, and future queen of Sweden.
Night of 4-5 May, 1807: Death of Hortense's son, Napoleon-Charles, the royal prince of Holland.
14-23 May, 1807: Josephine stayed in the Laeken Château, just outside Brussels, with her daughter Hortense.
2 June, 1807: Death of Josephine's mother, Mme de la Pagerie.
7-16 September, 1807: Josephine stayed in Rambouillet.
21 September – 16 November, 1807: Visit to the Court at Fontainebleau.
10-26 April, 1808: Josephine visited the Bordeaux Palace with her husband.
21 April, 1808: Birth of the prince Louis-Napoleon, son of Hortense, who was to become the emperor Napoleon III.
27 April, 1808: Arrival at the Chateau de Marracq, near Bayonne, where she resided with the Emperor for nearly three months, before travelling around south-western France.
23 December, 1808: Birth in Milan of Augusta and Eugène's daughter, Princess Eugenie, and future princess of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
10-15 March, 1809: At Rambouillet.
13 April – 11 June, 1809: Second stay at the Palais de Strasbourg, without the Emperor.
12 June – 18 August, 1809: Fifth and final taking of the waters at Plombieres.
26 October – 14 November, 1809: The court went to Fontainebleau.
30 November, 1809: Napoleon announced to Josephine that he wanted to separate from her.
15 December, 1809: At the Assemblée de famille, the official dissolution of the civil marriage between the imperial couple was announced, so that Napoleon could marry Marie-Louise and thereby produce a male heir.
16 December, 1809: The sénatus-consulte was adopted by the Senate, 76 to 7 with 4 abstentions. The first article announced: “The marriage contracted between the Emperor Napoleon and the Empress Josephine was dissolved.” Napoleon went to the Trianon and Josephine to Malmaison.
3 February – mid-March, 1810: Josephine went to the Palais de l'Elysée, before returning to Malmaison.
29 March – 16 May, 1810: First stay at the Chateau de Navarre, near Evreux, a small town due west of Paris, a chateau which Napoleon bought for his ex-wife after the separation (Napoleon married Marie-Louise 1 April, 1810). She then returned to Malmaison.
18 June – 5 November, 1810: First cure at Aix-les-Bains, a thermal town close to Chambery in Savoy. Whilst there, Josephine went to Sécheron (on the outskirts of modern Geneva), where she stayed for a month. She also went to Chamonix (29 August – 2 September) and subsequently a trip round Lake Geneva (10-17 September) during the same period. She was joined by Hortense at the end of July. At the end of this period (21 October – 1 November), she returned to Sécheron where she acquired the Château de Pregny-la-Tour.
5 November, 1810 – 1 April, 1811: Josephine returned briefly to Malmaison. After two and a half weeks there, she took up residence in the Château de Navarre (22 November, 1810 – 1 April, 1811). It is whilst she was staying here that she learnt of the birth of the Roi de Rome.
9 December, 1810: Birth in Milan of Augusta and Eugène's son, Prince Augustus, the future prince consort of Portugal.
1 April, 1811: Josephine resided in Malmaison before returning to the Château de Navarre on 10 July where she stayed for nearly two months. The Emperor visited Malmaison unannounced on 30 April and they walked in her garden before he left for the Russian Campaign. Unbeknownst to them, this was the last time they were to see each other.
20 March 1811: Birth of the Roi de Rome. Eugène came to visit Josephine to tell her of the birth.
3 September 1811 – 16 July, 1812: After her stay at the Château de Navarre, Josephine returned to Malmaison.
16-27 July, 1812: Josephine travelled from Malmaison to Milan, via Geneva, and stayed there for over a month with her son Eugène and his children.
31 July, 1812: Birth in Milan of Augusta and Eugène's daughter, Princess Amélie, future Empress of Brazil.
September, 1812: Josephine once again went to take the waters at Aix-les-Bains.
28 September – 21 October, 1812: Josephine stayed at the Château de Pregny-la-Tour (Geneva, Switzerland).
27 October, 1812 – 29 March, 1814: She resided at Malmaison.
30 March – 15 April, 1814: After the fall of Paris, and in the face of the approaching enemy forces, Josephine fled Malmaison for the Chateau de Navarre.
13 April, 1814: Birth of the princess Theodelinda, daughter of Eugène and future countess of Württemberg.
15 April, 1814: Josephine returned to Malmaison, where she stayed until her death.
14 May, 1815: Josephine caught a chill at her daughter's in Saint-Leu whilst she was out walking with Tsar Alexander I.
24 May, 1814: In spite of her ill-health, Josephine nevertheless received the King of Prussia but afterwards she was forced to confine herself to her bed as her health deteriorated.
29 May, 1814: Josephine died in her bed at Malmaison at fifty-one years old.
2 June, 1814: Funeral at the church of Saint-Peter-and-Saint-Paul, Rueil.

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