- historical event: Désirée Clary got engaged to Napoleon Bonaparte when she was only 16 years old. He was 25 and already a general. However, Napoleon broke off the engagement in the same year because he met the famous Josephine de Beauharnais.
On this day the beautiful French woman named Désirée Clary was born. She was the daughter of a wealthy silk merchant from Marseilles. Her older sister was named Julie and she was also regarded as beautiful.
It is not widely known that Napoleon even had an older brother, and that that brother was at one time even more influential than he was. His name was Joseph Bonaparte, and he was a lawyer, politician, and diplomat by profession. On one occasion Désirée Clary asked Joseph Bonaparte to save her brother from prison, which he indeed succeeded. Joseph then met with the rest of the Clary family, who were, of course, very grateful. Soon he married Julie Clary, the older of the two sisters.
Of course, it was logical to introduce Joseph’s younger brother Napoleon with young Désirée. The relationship worked at first, and Napoleon and Désirée were engaged in 1795. She was only 16 years old at the time, while he was 25 and already a general. However, the anticipated marriage never took place. Namely, that same year Napoleon met the famous Josephine de Beauharnais. She was a widow and six years older than Napoleon. She and Napoleon were strongly attracted to each other and soon became lovers. He broke off the engagement with Désirée and married Joséphine the following year.
However, Désirée at the end did not do so badly, even though she did not manage to become French empress. Namely, she met Napoleon’s general Bernadotte and married him in 1798. It is interesting that Bernadotte became King of Sweden 20 years later, and Désirée thus became the Swedish queen. Their descendants still rule Sweden – the current Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf is the great-great-great-grandson of Désirée Clary.