Emperor of the French

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Emperor of the French
Former Monarchy
Coat of Arms Second French Empire (1852–1870)-2.svg
Imperial Coat of arms
Franz Xaver Winterhalter Napoleon III.jpg
Napoleon III
First monarch Napoleon I
Last monarch Napoleon III
Style His Imperial Majesty
Official residence Tuileries Palace, Paris
Monarchy began 18 May 1804
2 December 1852
Monarchy ended 22 June 1815
4 September 1870
Current pretender(s) Jean Christophe
The Four Napoleons

The Emperor of the French (French: Empereur des Français), was the title used by the House of Bonaparte starting when Napoleon Bonaparte was given the title Emperor on 14 May 1804 by the French Senate and was crowned emperor of the French on 2 December 1804 at the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, in Paris with the Crown of Napoleon.

The title emphasized that the emperor ruled over "the French people", the nation, and not over France, the republic. The old formula "king of France" indicated that the king owned France as a personal possession. The new term indicates a constitutional monarchy.[1] The title was purposefully created to preserve the appearance of the French Republic and to show that after the French Revolution the feudal system was abandoned and a nation state was created, with equal citizens as the subjects of their emperor. (After 1 January 1809, the state was officially referred to as the French Empire.[2]) The title of "Emperor of the French" was supposed to demonstrate that Napoleon's coronation was not a restoration of monarchy, but an introduction of a new political system: the Empire of the French (Empire des Français). Napoleon's reign lasted until 22 June 1815 when he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, exiled and imprisoned on the island of Saint Helena, where he died on 5 May 1821. His reign was interrupted by the Bourbon Restoration of 1814 and his own exile to Elba, from where he escaped less than a year later to reclaim the throne, reigning as Emperor for another 94 days before his final defeat and exile.

Less than a year following the French coup of 1851 by Napoleon's nephew Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, which ended in the successful dissolution of the French National Assembly, the Second French Republic was transformed into the Second French Empire, established by a referendum on 7 November 1852. President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, elected by the French people, officially became Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, from the symbolic and historic date of 2 December 1852.

His reign persisted to the fourth of September, 1870, although he was captured at the Battle of Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War. He was then forced into exile through England until he died on 9 January 1873.

Since the early death of his only son Louis Napoléon in 1879, the House of Bonaparte has had a number of claimants to the French throne. The current claimant is Jean Christophe, who became head of the house of Bonaparte on 3 May 1997.

Full titles[edit]

The Emperors of the French had various titles and claims that reflected the geographic expanse and diversity of the lands ruled by the House of Bonaparte.

Napoleon I[edit]

His Imperial and Royal Majesty Napoleon I, By the Grace of God and the Constitutions of the Republic, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine and the Grand Duchy of Frankfurt, Mediator of the Helvetic Confederation.

Napoleon II[edit]

His Imperial Majesty Napoleon II, By the Grace of God and the Constitutions of the Republic, Emperor of the French.

Napoleon III[edit]

His Imperial Majesty Napoleon III, By the Grace of God and the will of the Nation, Emperor of the French.[3]

French Empire (1804–1814)[edit]

Name
Lifespan
Reign start
Reign end
Notes
Family
Image
Napoleon I
  • the Great
(1769-08-15)15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821(1821-05-05) (aged 51) 18 May 1804 11 April 1814 Bonaparte Napoleon I of France

French Empire (Hundred Days, 1815)[edit]

Name
Lifespan
Reign start
Reign end
Notes
Family
Image
Napoleon I
  • the Great
(1769-08-15)15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821(1821-05-05) (aged 51) 20 March 1815 22 June 1815 Bonaparte Napoleon I of France
Napoleon II
[4]
(1811-03-20)20 March 1811 – 22 July 1832(1832-07-22) (aged 21) 22 June 1815 7 July 1815 Son of Napoleon I Bonaparte Napoleon II of France

French Empire (1852–1870)[edit]

Name
Lifespan
Reign start
Reign end
Notes
Family
Image
Napoleon III
(1808-04-20)20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873(1873-01-09) (aged 64) 2 December 1852 4 September 1870 Nephew of Napoleon I
Cousin of Napoleon II
Bonaparte Napoleon III of France

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Philip Dwyer, Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power (2013) p 129
  2. ^ http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/government/legislation/c_republic.html
  3. ^ http://www.heraldica.org/topics/france/napoleon.htm#naptitles
  4. ^ From 22 June to 7 July 1815, Bonapartists considered Napoleon II as the legitimate heir to the throne, his father having abdicated in his favor. However, the young child's reign was entirely fictional, as he was residing in Austria with his mother. Louis XVIII was reinstalled as king on 7 July.