A beautiful young widow with two children—what could she do?
Josephine de Beauharnais (1763-1814; Empress of France, 1804-1809) was born in Martinique. Her first husband was guillotined in 1794 during the Revolution, but she escaped with brief imprisonment. In 1796 she married Napoleon Bonaparte. He later divorced her because she could not produce an heir. Despite the heartbreak of the divorce, Napoleon and Josephine loved one another and remained close friends as long as she lived. For Napoleon’s part, their parting was simply political.