On This Day in Napoleonic History – 21 April 1795

21Napoleon gets engaged to Désirée Clary in Marseille

Napoleon was introduced to Désirée by his older brother Joseph, who was considering marrying her himself. Napoleon, however, who by then had been promoted to Brigadier-General, had other ideas: ‘You, Joseph, are of an undecided type, and it is the same for Désirée, whereas Julie and I know what we want. You would do better to marry Julie. As to Désirée, she shall be my wife.’

Joseph married Désirée’s sister Julie on 1 August 1794, and Désirée and Napoleon became engaged. He would soon break off the engagement, however. In 1795 he would meet Josephine and fall madly in love.

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