On This Day in Napoleonic History – 16 August 1798

16Marriage of Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte and Désirée Clary, ex-fiancée of Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon met Désirée in Marseilles in 1793 and they became engaged. He broke off the engagement when he met and fell in love with Josephine.

Even though she never married Napoleon, Désirée would still be a queen. In 1798 she married Bernadotte, who would become a Napoleonic marshal and the king of Sweden.

Marrying Désirée made Bernadotte brother-in-law to Joseph Bonaparte, who was married to Désirée’s sister Julie. Bernadotte and Désirée had one child, King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway. It is ironic that Bernadotte, who was an ardent Republican, would be the only one of Napoleonic marshals and Imperial family to create a lasting royal dynasty.

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