Stéphanie de Beauharnais
|Stéphanie de Beauharnais|
|Grand Duchess of Baden|
|Tenure||10 June 1811 – 8 December 1818|
|Born||28 August 1789|
|Died||29 January 1860 (aged 70)|
|Spouse||Charles, Grand Duke of Baden|
|Issue||Luise, Princess of Vasa|
Josephine, Princess of Hohenzollern
Marie Amelie, Duchess of Hamilton
|Father||Claude, 2nd Count des Roches-Baritaud|
|Mother||Claudine Françoise Adrienne Gabrielle de Lézay-Marnézia|
Stéphanie, Grand Duchess of Baden (Stéphanie Louise Adrienne de Beauharnais; 28 August 1789 – 29 January 1860) was a French princess and the Grand Duchess consort of Baden by marriage to Karl, Grand Duke of Baden.
Born in Versailles at the beginning of the French Revolution, Stéphanie was a great-granddaughter to Claude de Beauharnais (1680–1738) and Renée Hardouineau (1696–1744) who were married in La Rochelle during 1713. Their oldest son was François de Beauharnais, Marquess de la Ferte-Beauharnais (1714–1800) who served as a governor of Martinique. Their younger son was Claude de Beauharnais, 1st Count des Roches-Baritaud (1717–1784), Stephanie's paternal grandfather.
Claude was married in 1753 to Marie Anne Françoise Mouchard (1738–1813), known in poetry as Fanny de Beauharnais. Their oldest son was Claude de Beauharnais, 2nd Count des Roches-Baritaud (1756–1819). In 1783 the 2nd Count married Claudine Françoise de Lezay (1767–1791). The marriage resulted in the birth of first her older brother Alberic de Beauharnais (1786–1791) and then Stephanie herself. Her father was remarried in 1799 to Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis (1775–1850). The second marriage resulted in the birth of her half-sister Joséphine de Beauharnais, Marchioness de Quiqueran-Beaujeu (1803–1870).
The fates of her family however would be defined by another Joséphine. On 13 December 1779 Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais, first cousin of her father, was married to Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie. On 23 July 1794 Alexandre was guillotined. Joséphine had affairs with several influential figures of the French Directory, including Paul François Jean Nicolas Barras. The latter would introduce her to his recent favorite Napoléon Bonaparte. Napoléon soon started courting her. On 9 March 1796 they were married.
General Napoléon Bonaparte was now stepfather to Eugène de Beauharnais and Hortense de Beauharnais, second cousins of Stephanie. As his prominence and wealth continued to rise, Napoléon found himself being de facto patron to both the Bonaparte and the de Beauharnais families. Stephanie would soon see her patron rise to become First Consul of France.
Her "uncle" crowned himself Emperor of the French on 2 December 1804. As a prominent member of the new Imperial Family, Stephanie held residence in the Tuileries Palace. Her new status allowed her to live a rather luxurious life. She would soon however have to depart both the Palace and France.
This was a consequence of Napoleon's effort to secure an alliance with the Prince-elector of Baden. The alliance was to be secured through a marriage between the descendants of the two sovereigns, connecting the two dynasties. The Prince-Elector was to be represented by his grandson. Napoleon on the other hand lacked legitimate descendants of his own. He adopted Stephanie and named her "Princesse Française" (French Princess) with the style of Imperial Highness. The marriage took place in Paris on 8 April 1806. On 25 July 1806 her new grandfather-in-law was named Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Baden.
By most accounts the arranged marriage was not particularly successful. Her husband was determined to continue living as a bachelor. He set residence in Karlsruhe. She was allowed to settle separately in Mannheim. Even the official complaints by the Emperor did not resolve this situation. The Grand Duke offered Schwetzingen to be their common summer residence. But only Stephanie accepted the offer. The situation changed somewhat when it became evident that the aging Grand Duke would not live much longer. The couple apparently reconciled in an effort to produce heirs for the throne.
On 10 June 1811 Stephanie's husband, Karl succeeded his grandfather as Grand Duke of Baden. He and Grand Duchess Stephanie would have five children:
- Princess Luise Amelie Stephanie of Baden (5 June 1811 – 19 July 1854). She was married on 30 November 1830 to Gustav, Prince of Vasa.
- Unnamed son (29 September 1812 – 16 October 1812). One theory suspects the dead unnamed child to be unrelated to her and her actual son (and therefore the hereditary prince) to be Kaspar Hauser. Although some authors have argued that this was not the case, "the silly fairytale, which to this day moves many pens and has found much belief, was fully disproved in Otto Mittelstädt's book on Kaspar Hauser and his Baden Princedom (Heidelberg 1876)." The idea has remained current in some circles to this day.
- Princess Josephine Friederike Luise of Baden (21 October 1813 – 19 June 1900). She was married on 21 October 1834 to Karl Anton, Fürst of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
- Prince Alexander of Baden (1–8 May 1816).
- Princess Marie Amelie Elisabeth Karoline of Baden (11 October 1818 – 8 October 1888). She was married on 23 February 1843 to William Alexander Anthony Archibald Douglas-Hamilton, 11th Duke of Hamilton.
Among her descendants are the former Kings of Romania and former King of Yugoslavia, the present King of the Belgians, the present Grand Duke of Luxembourg, the present Sovereign Prince of Monaco, former Czech Foreign Minister Prince Karel von Schwarzenberg, the 8th Duke of Montrose and Princess Ira von Fürstenberg.
The Grand Duke died on 8 December 1818. Stephanie remained a widow for the rest of her long life. She was reportedly a devoted mother to her three daughters. Her residence in Mannheim became a popular Salon for artists and intellectuals. Stephanie died in Nice, France at the age of 71, in 1860, 41 years after her husband.
- Fritz Trautz: Zum Problem der Persönlichkeitsdeutung: Anläßlich das Kaspar-Hauser-Buches von Jean Mistler, in: Francia 2, 1974, S. 723[permanent dead link]
- "Death of the Grand Duchess Stephanie of Baden". New York Times. February 16, 1860.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stéphanie de Beauharnais.|
- A German article and portrait of her
- Information and photo of her emerald and diamond necklace, worn in portrait above.
Stéphanie de BeauharnaisBorn: 28 August 1789 Died: 29 January 1860
Landgravine Caroline Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt
as Margravine of Baden
| Grand Duchess consort of Baden
10 June 1811 – 8 December 1818
Princess Sophie of Sweden