World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte

Article Id: WHEBN0000062358
Reproduction Date:

Title: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: House of Bonaparte, Jérôme Bonaparte, Bonapartiste, Elizabeth Patterson, Jérôme Napoléon Bonaparte
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte

Elizabeth Bonaparte
Triple portrait by Gilbert Stuart, 1804
Spouse Jérôme Bonaparte
Issue Jérôme Napoleon Bonaparte
Father William Patterson
Born (1785-02-06)6 February 1785
Baltimore, Maryland
Died 4 April 1879(1879-04-04) (aged 94)
Baltimore, Maryland

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (6 February 1785 – 4 April 1879), known as "Betsy", was the daughter of a Baltimore, Maryland merchant, and was the first wife of Jérôme Bonaparte, and sister-in-law of Emperor Napoleon I of France.

Ancestry

Elizabeth's father, William Patterson, had been born in Ireland and came to North America prior to the American Revolutionary War. He was a Presbyterian[1] from Donegal, and the wealthiest man in Maryland after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. Elizabeth's brother, Robert, married Carroll's granddaughter, Marianne Caton.

Marriage

Elizabeth and Jérôme Bonaparte were married on December 24, 1803, at a ceremony presided over by John Carroll, the Archbishop of Baltimore. Betsy quickly became known for her risqué taste in fashion, starting with her wedding dress.

Jérôme's brother Napoleon ordered his brother back to France and demanded that the marriage be annulled. Jérôme ignored Napoleon's initial demand that he return to France without his wife.

European visits

In the fall of 1804, Jérôme and a pregnant Betsy attempted to travel to France in time for his brother's coronation, but a number of false starts delayed them. When they finally arrived, Elizabeth was denied permission to set foot in continental Europe by order of Napoleon. Jérôme traveled to Italy in an attempt to reason with his brother, writing to his wife, "My dearest Elsa, I will do everything that must be done," but she would never see him again, except for a brief eye-to-eye contact in 1817. After remaining in limbo, unable to disembark in either France or the Netherlands, she gave birth to a son on July 7, 1805, at 95 Camberwell Grove, Camberwell, London. Jérôme gave in to his brother, returned to the French Navy, and married the German princess Catharina of Württemberg on 22 August 1807 in the Royal Palace at Fontainebleau, France. (His marriage to "dearest Elsa" had not yet been dissolved.)

Betsy returned to Baltimore with her son, Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, called "Bo" by his mother, and lived with her father while she continued to flaunt her royal connection and skimpy attire. After the Battle of Waterloo, she returned to Europe where she was well received in the most exclusive circles and much admired for her beauty and wit.

Divorce and last years

In 1815, by special Act of the Legislature of Maryland, she secured a divorce. Her last years were spent in Baltimore in the management of her estate, the value of which she increased to $1.5 million. Betsy died in the midst of a court battle over whether the state of Maryland could tax her out-of-state bonds.[2] The case reached the Supreme Court (Bonaparte v. Tax Court, 104 U.S. 592). The Court decided in favor of Maryland.[2] She is buried in the Greenmount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.

Ironically, Betsy's brother's widow, Marianne (Caton) Patterson, married Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, older brother of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. Another brother, Edward Patterson, was the owner of Joppa Iron Works in Eastern Baltimore County, MD.

The story of Elizabeth and Jérôme's marriage and annulment is the basis for the 1908 play Glorious Betsy by Rida Johnson Young and the two film adaptations, Glorious Betsy (1928) and Hearts Divided (1936). She was portrayed by Dolores Costello in the former and by Marion Davies in the latter. The episode "Duty" of the Hornblower television series features Elizabeth and Jérôme trying to land in France and the diplomatic difficulties. A historical novel about her life, "The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte" by Ruth Hull Chatlien, was published in 2013.

References

  1. ^ Philip W. Sergeant, Jerome Bonaparte: the Burlesque Napoleon. Brentano's, New York, 1906
  2. ^ a b Maryland State Archives. 2007.

Further reading

  • F. B. Goodrich, The Court of Napoleon III. Philadelphia, 1864.
  • E. L. Didier, Life and Letters of Madame Bonaparte. New York, 1879.
  • M. Farquhar, Foolishly Forgotten Americans. New York, 2008.
  • Charlene M. Boyer Lewis, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte: An American Aristocrat in the Early Republic. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.
  •  
  • Edward C. Papenfuse, Maryland State Archives. Maryland Tax Exempt Bonds: The Case of Betsy Patterson, 1868-1882. 2007.

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  •  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.