It is perhaps surprising that Napoleon was an avid arranger of marriages. We see this over and over in the memoirs we have been broadcasting. The greatest marriage prize that Napoleon could offer anyone, particularly a commoner, was a marriage into his own family. He only allowed General Murat, to whom he owed much, to marry his sister under a bit of duress and he refused to attend the ceremony.
In Hortense’s Memoirs, from Napoleon’s stepdaughter we learn that she and her cousin Emilie were teenagers at boarding school outside Paris. They received visits from Napoleon’s brother Louis. Hortense told Emilie that it was on her account that he showed up so frequently.
Emilie made it known eventually that she wanted to marry Louis Bonaparte but Napoleon refused. The reasoning had been that Emilie was the daughters of émigrés - her father abandoned France during the Revolution. Hortense’s father was a French patriot who never abandoned France which consequently resulted in his execution.
Napoleon finally arranged a marriage for Hortense’s cousin Emilie - to a Mr. Lavallette - a man of Napoleon’s own age. Napoleon was around 12 or 13 years older than these girls.
Who was Mr. Lavallette? Why did Napoleon choose him for such a marriage?
Our next memoirs will be by this man.