ACUDB - Josephine de Beauharnais

Born in Martinique, Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie came to France and married Alexandre de Beauharnais in 1779. Her husband, a member of the nobility, fell to the Revolution and was executed. Subsequently, she became a popular guest at many a society party, eventually catching the eye of an on-the-rise Napoleon Bonaparte, who was in the market for a wife. Josephine, a few years older than Bonaparte, was considerably more sophisticated than he. She initially married him to ensure financial security, and their initial years were marked by infidelity and considerably time apart while he was off at war in Italy and Egypt. However, the passion grew, and, years later after Napoleon had divorced her and remarried in search of an heir, he insisted that she retain the title of Empress. Josephine retired to the Château de Malmaison where she died in 1814.