A ring given by General Bonparte to Josephie de Beauharnais
On 9 March, 1796, the young general Bonaparte was joined in matrimony to ‘M. J. R. Tascher' (Josephine) at a civil ceremony. Whilst not the wedding ring itself, the gold and enamel ring here, worked into the initials ‘NB' and bearing an inscription reading ‘sincere love', was given to Josephine in the same year. It was later to come into the possession of Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, who gave it to her personal physician, doctor A. Hugenschmidt (himself very probably an illegitimate child of Napoleon III). In 1930, Hugenschmidt was to give the ring to the Louvre, whence it came into the collection at Malmaison. The actual wedding ring (possibly inscribed with the motto ‘au destin' – to destiny – although this is far from certain) had quite a different journey and final resting place. Napoleon I gave it to Josephine's daughter, Hortense, in 1814, who in turn gave it to her own son, later Napoleon III, on 25 October 1836, just before his failed coup d'état in Strasbourg. Last seen on 10 January, 1873, on the middle finger of the mortal remains of Napoleon III, that ring is currently in the crypt of Farnborough Abbey in Kent.