Prince Napoléon and his wife
A portrait of Prince Napoléon and his wife Princesse Clothilde enjoying a rare moment in each other's company.
Their marriage was a political alliance designed to strengthen French ties with Italy, a match which profoundly shocked Europe. Clothilde was sixteen, described variously by her contemporaries as 'dull,' 'simple,' and most often, 'pious.' Her intended husband was a physically repellent, amoral atheist, a good twenty years older than his bride. Lord Cowley remarked that 'It is positively horrible to see that poor little frail creature by the side of that brute - I can call him nothing else - to whom she has been immolated.’