Prince Eugene Louis Jean Joseph led a colorful, but short and ultinmately tragic life. He was born with the proverbial silver spoon. In the year 1856, 101 canon blasts announced the birth of the Imperial Prince, Eugene, ensuring the continuation of the Emperor's dynasty. He was brought up surrounded by Napoleonic legend. I have no details yet on his childhood, including how he was dressed. One thing is clear, he probably rarely had to saddle his own horse. Eugene was Napoleon III's and the Empress Eugenie's only son. After his father's fall from power, Eugene was proclaimed Napapoleon IV by his father's adherents. He applied for permission to join British forces in Zululand and was permitted in 1879 to go as a guest of the British Army. While on a reconnoitering party they were surprised by the Zulus. The British mounted and retired. The girth on Eugene's, however, saddle broke. He was seized by the Zulus and killed.
Prence Eugene was a Bonaparte, one of the most famous families in Europe. His father was Louis Bonaparte, the nephew of the Napoleon III. He was a great nephew of Napoleon I. Louis Napoleon is generally seen as largely incompetent who rise to power primarily on the family name. His mother was Impératrice Eugénie de Montijo (1826- ), the daughter of a Spanish count with liberal predelections. She was deeply Catholic and wa notable for working extensively with charity institutions aiding poor children.
Eugene Louis Jean Joseph (1856-79) was born with the proverbial silver spoon. In the year 1856, 101 canon blasts announced the birth of the Imperial Prince, Eugene, ensuring the continuation of the Emperor's dynasty. He was brought up surrounded by Napoleonic legend. I have no details yet on his childhood, including how he was dressed. One thing is clear, he probably rarely had to saddle his own horse--a skill that would take on considerable importance in his life. Eugene was Napoleon III's and the Empress Eugenie's only son. He was known as the Prince Imperial and took the title Count of Pierrefonds.
The Prince Imperial was born (1856). He was brought up at Versailles. We have no information, however, about the relationship between the Emperess and her son. I believe that it was close. And the same for the relationship between the Emperor and the Prince. A factor was that he was the royal couple's only child.
The Prince spent most of his childhood as the heir to the throne. It would have been a very privlidged boyhood, athough we have no details at this time. The Prince Imperial grew up surrounded by the glories of France and
legends of his ilustrious great uncle. He would have been about 14 years old when his father declared war on Prussia (1870) and his privlidged life began crashing down as asult of the Franco-Prussin War.
I have virtually no information on the Prince's boyhood clothes. The only insight at this time is a photograph taken about 1859 with the prince wearing a white dress. The short sleeved dress has ribbons on the shoulders. It is interesting to note how common white dresses appear to have been for boys in old photographs. HBRC assumes that this was likely to have been in part due to the fact that the children were dressed up in their best dress for formal photographs. Surely they did not wear white dresses for every day. We notice him wearing a fairly sandard dark cut-away jacket when he was about 8-9 years old wth a small bowtie (1864) (figure 1). We also notice him wearing a French Army uniform as a boy. He looks to be about 10-11 years old. We are not sure under what circumstnces he would ear it, perhaps for state occassions.
The Prince Imperial wore relatively short hair. I'm not sure if his curls have been cut or that he never grew long hair. Portraits from the 1860s show him wearing his hair down to his wears. This was a popular length at the time. He had rather curly hair hair with a slightly off center center part.
The Franco-Prussian War was the momentous conflict between France and Prussia and allied German states that permitted the unification of a united Germany under the Prussian kingdom, overwealming the more liberal traditions of some other German states. This alone made it one of the most significant wars of the 19th cenhtury and laid the groundwork for much of the 20th century. Napoleon III was completed outwitted by Bismarck's clever diplomacy. Npoleon alienated Austria by a war in Italy. Thus France had to face Prussia and its German allies alone in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). It was a disaster for France. Not only did France lose Alsace-Loraine, but Prussia achieved the unification of German into the German EmpiThe War was largely provoked by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (the Iron Chancellor) as part of his carefully crafted plan to unify German under Prussian leadership. This result was a huge, poweful state imbued with Prussian militarism and with the power to aggressively persue the new Germany's imperial ambitions. This fundmentally changed the European power ballance. Napoleon himself was taken prisoner at Seden. He was deposed and the Third Republic formed.
The Prince Imperial when the Franco-Prussian War broke out accompanied his father to the front. They came under fire at Saarbrücken. The War quickly began to go against the French. As the Imperial regime began to crumble, the Emperess and Prince Eugene fled to Britain where they were given succour by Queen Victoria and lived at Camden Place, Chislehurst. This was somewhat tricky. Victoria and Albert had exchanged visits while Napoleon III was in power. The Bonapartes were still, however, never fully accepted by European royals. The British were also not quite sure about the new French republic. And the Germans had not yet alienated Britain's long traditinal ties. Napoleon III was a broken man and died following a long illness (1873).
The exiles lived in Chiselhurst in South London. Louis became the Pretender to the French throne.
Eugene was proclaimed Napapoleon IV by his father's adherents.
As a youth he desired to join the army. He obtained permission from Queen Victoria to join the Royal Artillery and was trained at the Woolwich Depot nearby. After graduation He applied for permission to join British forces in South Africa fighting the Zulus. Eugenie and Queen Victoria conspired to insure that the British Army, against the Army's and the Prime Minister's wishes, accept Eugene as an observer in South Africa--a fatefull decission. He was thus permitted to go as a guest of the British Army (1879). He was 'minded' by his Commanding Officer and not allowed to go out except with an experienced escort. Being an impetuous young man, he unofficially joined a routine reconnoitering patrol. The patrol was ambushed by by about 40 Zulu warriors. The Zulu were an infantry force, thus mounted soldiers could usually escape danger. The surprised British mounted and retired. Apparently the Prince Imperial dhe did not manage to get on the saddle properly and clung to the side of his mount. The strap he was clining to broke and he was injired by the horse. The pursuing unmounted Zulus soon caught up to him. He was brought down by a spear wound. In the ensuing fight, he fought back with a pistol, but was killed by spear wounds. He suffered multiple spear wounds. Two other British soldiers were killed and another went mossing. The mounted British patrol was not far off, but did not intervene or fire on the Zulus. Afterwards the Zulu Chief said, if they had known who he was, they wouldn't have killed him.
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