Catharina of Württemberg
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|Catharina of Württemberg|
A portrait of Queen Catharina in 1807
|Queen consort of Westphalia|
|Tenure||22 August 1807 – 26 October 1813|
|Born||21 February 1783
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
|Died||29 November 1835
|Burial||Ludwigsburg Palace Church|
|Issue||Jérôme Napoléon Charles Bonaparte
Prince Napoléon Bonaparte
|Father||Frederick I of Württemberg|
|Mother||Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel|
Princess Catharina Frederica of Württemberg (21 February 1783 – 29 November 1835) was Queen consort of Westphalia by marriage to Jérôme Bonaparte, who reigned as King of Westphalia between 1807 and 1813.
Catharina was born in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, to the later King Frederick I of Württemberg and Duchess Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Her mother, who died when Catharine was five years old, was a sister of Caroline of Brunswick and a niece of King George III of the United Kingdom. After the death of Catharina's mother, her father married Charlotte, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of George III and thus a first cousin of his first wife.
In 1803, Württemberg entered into an alliance with France under Napoleon, and one of the terms of the treaty was the marrige of Catharina with Jérôme Bonaparte, Napoleon's younger brother. The wedding was held four years later, on 22 August 1807, at the Royal Palace of Fontainebleau in France. Upon marriage, Catharine became queen consort of the Kingdom of Westphalia. Catharina and Jérôme bonded strongly and had a happy marriage, remaining firmly attached to each other through the travails of a life marked by many extreme swings of fortune. In keeping with the norms of the times, King Jérôme had the occasional tryst with women of easy virtue, including a three-year relationship with Diana Rabe von Pappenheim, but he never compromised the dignity of his wife in any way, and she chose to turn a blind eye to these peccadillos.
When the kingdom of Westphalia was dissolved, she followed Jerome to France. During the war, she and Désirée Clary took refuge with Julie Clary at Mortefontaine, and when the allied troops took Paris, they took refuge in the home of Desirée Clary in Paris.
After the downfall of the Napoleonic Empire in 1814, her father expected her to separate from Jerome as Marie Louise had done from Napoleon, but instead she followed him into exile to Trieste in Austrian Italy.
During the Hundred Days in 1815, she helped Jerome to escape to join Napoleon, and was as a consequence deported to Württemberg, where she was placed in house arrest. After the defeat of Napoleon, she was joined by her spouse in house arrest.
Catharina and Jerome was eventually released from house arrest and spent their remaining life together in Trieste, Italy and Switzerland under the name of the Princess and Prince of Montfort.
- Jérôme Napoléon Charles Bonaparte (1814–1847), served in the army of his maternal uncle, King William I of Württemberg.
- Princess Mathilde Bonaparte (1820–1904), was prominent during and after the Second Empire as a hostess to men of arts and letters.
- Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte (1822–1891), was a close advisor to his cousin Napoleon III and, in particular, was seen as a leading advocate of French intervention in Italy and of the Italian nationalists.
Titles and styles
- 21 February 1783 - 26 December 1805: Her Serene Highness Duchess Catharina of Württemberg
- 26 December 1805 - 22 August 1807: Her Royal Highness Princess Catharina of Württemberg
- 22 August 1807 - 26 October 1813: Her Majesty The Queen of Westphalia
- 26 October 1813 - 11 April 1814: Her Imperial Highness French Princess Catharina Napoléon
- 11 April 1814 - July 1816: Cathérine Bonaparte
- July 1816 - 29 November 1835: Her Royal Highness The Princess von Montfort
- Find a Grave
- Lindwall, Lilly: (Swedish) Desideria. Bernadotternas anmoder.[Desideria. The Ancestral Mother of the Bernadottes] Stockholm. Åhlén och Åkerlunds Förlag A.-B. (1919)
- Sabine Köttelwesch, Katharina von Westphalen (1783–1835), in: Helmut Burmeister und Veronika Jäger (Hrsg.), König Jérôme und der Reformstaat Westphalen, Hofgeismar 2006, S. 73–94, ISSN 0440-7520
Media related to Catharina of Württemberg at Wikimedia Commons
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