Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs

Princess Lucien Murat

Born Caroline Georgina Frazer in Charleston, North Carolina, she was the daughter of Thomas Fraser, a Scottish emigrant to the United States who had served as a major in the Loyalist militia during the American Revolution.

On 18 August 1831 at Bordentown, New Jersey, she married Prince Lucien Murat (1803-1878), second son of Joachim Murat, King of Naples, and of Caroline Bonaparte, youngest sister of the first Napoléon. Their marriage produced five children, including Joachim, who became the fourth Prince Murat, and Princess Anna Murat, who married Antoine de Noailles, duc de Mouchy.

After Lucien Murat squandered much of the family's fortune, he was reduced, for several years, to living on the revenue from a girls’ boarding school, opened by his wife and her sister, Jane Frazer, at their residence, Linden Hall. He visited France twice, once in 1839 then again in 1844, seeking to assert his family’s claim to the throne of Naples, but on each occasion was only allowed to stay five weeks. After the Revolution of 1848, he and his family settled permanently in France, where he received a number of government appointments. Following the coup d’état of 1852, he became a Senator and in 1853 he gained the title Prince. In March 1861 he issued a manifesto claiming once again the throne of Naples, but without the support of Napoléon III, this ambition came to nothing.  During the Franco-Prussian War, after the defeat of the French army at Metz, Murat was imprisoned with Marshal Bazaine. After the fall of the Second Empire, he moved back the United States for a short time in order to attend to his business interests there.

Prince Lucien Murat died in Paris on 10 April 1878. Princess Lucien Murat died the following year on 10 February 1879. A short announcement of her death appeared in the Morning Post (13 February 1879): ‘The death is announced of Princess Lucien Murat, the widow of Prince Lucien Murat, who was the second son of the King of Naples and Queen Caroline Bonaparte. The late Princess was the daughter of Mr Thomas Fraser, a Scotch gentleman, who, after serving in the English army during the war with France, retired and settled in America. Since the fall of the Empire, she has lived in absolute retirement.’

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