On This Day in Napoleonic History – 14 January 1806

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Marriage of Eugène de Beauharnais and Princess Augusta of Bavaria

It was another example of a marriage arranged by Napoleon, despite the fact that Princess Augusta was engaged to the Grand Duke of Baden at the time, and Eugène was in love with someone else. To convince his step-son to marry the Bavarian princess, Napoleon sent him a cup with her picture on it, assuring him that she was much better looking in real life.

When the Princess became pregnant, Napoleon half-joked, ‘Make sure you don’t give us a girl,’ suggesting she drank a little bit of undiluted wine every day as a way to avoid such an unfortunate circumstance. When in March 1807 she gave birth to a daughter, Napoleon ordered to call the child Josephine. In his congratulatory letter to Eugène, he said, ‘All that now remains for you to do is to make sure that next year you have a boy.’ They would have another girl.

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