Princess Clémentine of Belgium
30 July 1872|
Laeken Palace, Laeken, Belgium
|Died||8 March 1955
|Spouse||Victor, Prince Napoléon|
|Issue||Marie Clotilde, Countess Serge de Witt
Louis, Prince Napoléon
|House||Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (by birth)
Bonaparte (by marriage)
|Father||Leopold II of Belgium|
|Mother||Marie Henriette of Austria|
Princess Clementine of Belgium (French: Clémentine Albertine Marie Léopoldine, or Dutch: Clementina Albertina Maria Leopoldina; 30 July 1872 – 8 March 1955) was the wife of Napoléon Victor Bonaparte, Bonapartist pretender to the throne of France (as Napoleon V).
Princess Clémentine was born in 1872 at the Royal Castle of Laeken, (north west Brussels); she was the third daughter, and last child, of King Leopold II of Belgium and Marie Henriette of Austria. She had two older sisters, Princess Louise, and Princess Stéphanie. Her brother, Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant, had died of pneumonia in 1869, after having fallen into a pond. Leopold neglected Clementine and her older sisters, and had a strained relationship with his wife and children.
Clémentine was raised by her mother, who had, reportedly, a difficult temper. Her sisters married when she herself was quite young. Princess Louise had married in 1875 and Stephanie in 1881. However, once Clémentine came of age, she was given independence by her father to travel without her mother's approval. She later wrote, thanking her father, saying, "Thanks to you, dear father, I have been able to find happiness." However, the happy opportunity to travel ended when Clémentine's mother died in 1902, and Clémentine was obliged to assume the functions of a first lady at the Court of Brussels.
Throughout Clémentine's life she had three known romantic interests. The first was her cousin Prince Baudouin, eldest son of her uncle Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, and heir to her own father after the death of her brother Leopold. Baudouin did not return Clémentine's affections and died in his early 20s. The second was Baron Auguste Goffinet, a member of the Belgian court. However the baron did not have 'royal' blood. The last love, which she never relinquished, was Prince Napoléon Victor Bonaparte, who had become heir to the Napoleonic empire after the death of his cousin Napoléon Eugène, Prince Imperial, son of the former Empress Eugénie.
Prince Victor Napoleon
Princess Clémentine first met the Bonaparte prince in 1888 when he visited the palace; she later confided in one of her sisters that she was attracted to him. King Leopold opposed the match, which resulted in arguments between father and daughter. In 1903, when she was 31 years old, Clémentine again asked her father for permission to marry the prince, and he again refused. Clementine persisted but was threatened by the king with disinheritance.
Father's death and Clementine's marriage
Leopold died in 1909, enabling Clémentine to request permission to marry from the new monarch, King Albert I, her cousin and Prince Baudouin's younger brother. The wedding of Princess Clementine and Prince Napoleon Victor Bonaparte took place in Castle of Moncalieri, Kingdom of Italy, on 10 November/14 November 1910. She later wrote to her sister Stephanie, now married to the Hungarian Count Elemer Lonyay, saying, "My good husband, gentle, adoring, tender, loving, intelligent, connoisseur of people and things. He is beautiful, this Prince. Napoleon is a love, I adore him." Napoleon and Clémentine had two children: Princess Marie-Clotilde, born in 1912, and Louis Jérôme Bonaparte, born in 1914.
She died in Nice in 1955. She had been predeceased by her husband in 1926. She was the last surviving legitimate child of Leopold II.
- (French) Paoli, Dominique, Clémentine, princesse Napoléon, Éditions Racine, Bruxelles, 1998.
Princess Clémentine of Belgium
Cadet branch of the House of WettinBorn: 30 July 1872 Died: 8 March 1955
|Titles in pretence|
Title last held byEugénie de Montijo
|— TITULAR —
Empress of the French
14 November 1910 – 3 May 1926
Reason for succession failure:
Empire replaced by Republic
Title next held byAlix de Foresta