Joséphine de Beauharnais – The first wife of Napoleon I, and thus the first Empress of the French.

Joséphine de Beauharnais  was born on June 23, 1763. She was the first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, and thus the first Empress of the French. Her marriage with Napoleon was unstable, due to her own flirtation with other men and her spending habits. She was married to one of the most powerful, and ambitious men in the world and did not lack ambition herself, having more or less turned herself into a woman of fashion who could move within sophisticated Parisian society at ease, following her early experience when her provincial manners made it difficult for her to gain acceptance. However, she does not appear to have had political ambitions. Close ties between royal families, though, has sometimes, if not always, helped to maintain peace between nations. Josephine is remembered as one of the most important women of the nineteenth century, although it could be claimed that she accomplished relatively little of any real merit. She died in 1814, and she was buried not far from Malmaison, at the St. Pierre and St. Paul church in Rueil, where her daughter, Hortense is interred beside her.

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