We’ve been listening to Hortense tear into Napoleon for hundreds of pages where he clearly has been failing to match her ultra high standards.
Yet he was, for the most part, awfully sweet and tender with her - and he heaped diamonds on her.
He pushed her to marry into his family and to take his name.
Napoleon somewhat encouraged the widespread rumor that he was actually the biological father of her sons.
Napoleon designated Hortense’s son Crown Prince of France.
Napoleon gave Hortense the throne of Holland which she didn’t even want. Napoleon also decreed her Regent - the ruler in her own right.
Napoleon cried and begged Hortense not to abandon him despite the fact that he divorced her mother.
Napoleon told Hortense she was lucky he was taking paternal responsibility for her children.
Napoleon told Hortense he expected she and her sons to join him in exile.
Despite Hortense’s copious complaints and the fact that she did not join him in his exile, Hortense turned her home into a shrine dedicated to Napoleon’s memory and she raised her son to vindicate him. Which is exactly what Hortense’s son devoted himself to until he finally managed to take back France in Napoleon’s name.
It was very complicated.
Hortense’s son Louis Napoleon.