On This Day in Napoleonic History – 1 September 1814

1Marie Walewska arrives on the island of Elba

Marie Walewska, who divorced her husband in 1812, remained loyal to Napoleon but only stayed with the deposed Emperor for a couple of nights. Although Napoleon was happy to see Marie and their son Alexandre, he was still hoping that his wife Marie Louise and his legitimate son would join him on the island. Therefore, he didn’t think having Marie on Elba was a good idea, especially since everyone on the island thought Marie was in fact the Empress, and even the mayor came to pay his respects.

Napoleon set aside and decorated rooms for Marie Louise and the King of Rome in both of his residences but they would never arrive. The Empress soon wrote to Napoleon, telling him she was forced to return to Vienna. By then she was already involved in a passionate relationship with the dashing one-eyed general Adam Albert von Neipperg, who was sent by Francis I to escort Marie Louise and prevent her from joining her husband. Neipperg promised Francis: ‘In six weeks, I will be her best friend and in six months her lover.’ They married shortly after Napoleon’s death.

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