Zénaïde Bonaparte

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Zénaïde Bonaparte
Princess of Canino and Musignano
Infanta of Spain
Jacques-Louis David - The Sisters Zénaïde and Charlotte Bonaparte - Google Art Project.jpg
Zénaïde Bonaparte (in front) and her sister Charlotte, commissioned during the winter of 1821, by David.
Born(1801-07-08)8 July 1801
Paris, France
Died8 August 1854(1854-08-08) (aged 53)
Naples, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
(m. 1822)
Zénaïde Laetitia Julie Bonaparte
FatherJoseph Bonaparte
MotherJulie Clary

Zénaïde Laetitia Julie Bonaparte, Princess of Canino and Musignano (8 July 1801 – 8 August 1854) was the elder daughter of Joseph Bonaparte and Julie Clary, and the wife of Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who was also her cousin. She joined her father in exile for several years in Bordentown, New Jersey.

View of Princess Zenaïde's former residence, Bordentown, New Jersey


When she was 14, in 1815, Napoleon offered Zénaïde in marriage to Ferdinand, the deposed king of Spain, but the offer was refused.[1]

After the fall of her uncle Emperor Napoleon in 1815, her father moved to America and purchased "Point Breeze", an estate on the Delaware River near Bordentown, New Jersey. Zénaïde and her sister, however, stayed with their mother in Europe. They lived in Frankfurt and Brussels in 1815–1821, and then in Florence.

On 29 June 1822, in Brussels, she married her cousin Charles Lucien Bonaparte, son of her uncle Lucien. Her father Joseph had suggested the marriage to his wife when Zénaïde was only five; the idea was to carry on the Napoleonic succession (a return to power was always anticipated) by marrying his two daughters to sons of two of his brothers.[2]

The wedding was met with surprisingly little fanfare, perhaps because Zénaïde's mother was outraged at the excessive sum of the dowry (730,000 francs, which was unreasonable considering that Lucien's villa in Rome had cost only 150,000), which had strained her resources. [2]

Charles was an ornithologist (who named the Zenaida doves after her). They had twelve children, listed below.


Name Date of birth Date of death
Joseph Lucien Charles Napoléon Bonaparte,
3rd Prince of Canino and Musignano
13 February 1824 2 September 1865(1865-09-02) (aged 41)
Alexandrine Gertrude Zénaïde Bonaparte 9 June 1826 1 May 1828(1828-05-01) (aged 1)
Lucien Louis Joseph Napoléon Bonaparte,
4th Prince of Canino and Musignano
15 November 1828 19 November 1895(1895-11-19) (aged 67)
Julie Charlotte Bonaparte (married Alessandro del Gallo Marquess of Roccagiovine) 5 June 1830 28 October 1900(1900-10-28) (aged 70)
Charlotte Honorine Joséphine Pauline Bonaparte (married Pietro Primoli Count of Foglia) 4 March 1832 1 October 1901(1901-10-01) (aged 69)
Léonie Stéphanie Elise Bonaparte 18 September 1833 14 September 1839(1839-09-14) (aged 5)
Marie Désirée Eugénie Joséphine Philomène Bonaparte (married Count Paolo Campello della Spina) 18 March 1835 28 August 1890(1890-08-28) (aged 55)
Augusta Amélie Maximilienne Jacqueline Bonaparte (married the son of Charlotte Bonaparte, Princess Gabrielli) 9 November 1836 29 March 1900(1900-03-29) (aged 63)
Napoléon Charles Grégoire Jacques Philippe Bonaparte,
5th Prince of Canino and Musignano
5 February 1839 11 February 1899(1899-02-11) (aged 60)
Bathilde Aloïse Léonie Bonaparte (married Louis, Comte de Cambacérès) 26 November 1840 9 June 1861(1861-06-09) (aged 20)
Albertine Marie Thérèse Bonaparte 12 March 1842 3 June 1842(1842-06-03) (aged 0)
Charles Albert Bonaparte 22 March 1843 6 December 1847(1847-12-06) (aged 4)



  1. ^ Glover p. 295
  2. ^ a b Stroud, pp. 25–29


  • Glover, Michael, The Peninsular War 1807–1814. London: Penguin Books, 2001. ISBN 0-14-139041-7
  • Stroud, Patricia Tyson. The Emperor of Nature: Charles-Lucien Bonaparte and His World. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8122-3546-0.

External links[edit]

Media related to Zénaïde Bonaparte at Wikimedia Commons