Commemoration of the centenary of Empress Eugénie’s death

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Archives du palais de Monaco - Comité Albert Ier-2022 - Comité Eugénie


From the beginning of the Second Empire, when the Duke of Valentinois, the future Prince Charles III, and his wife Antoinette Ghislaine de Mérode attended the court of Napoleon III at Tuileries Palace, the Grimaldis forged links with Empress Eugénie. The Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861 provided the basis for the Principality’s new economic development. Despite the fall of the Empire, relations were maintained, particularly through correspondence. Following the death of her husband and son, Eugénie, who was exiled to England, was in the habit of spending winters on the French Riviera to take advantage of the mild climate. At the time, the Riviera was a popular tourist resort, where royals and members of high society mingled. The former Empress was captivated by Cap Martin, where she had what became her secondary residence, Villa Cyrnos, built in 1892. This proximity to Monaco encouraged her to socialise once again with Prince Albert I, with whom she was particularly friendly. Their friendship continued until 1920, which saw the death of Eugénie and her funeral in England, attended by Prince Albert I.

During the late morning, a bust of the last French Empress will be unveiled by H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince and H.I.H. Prince Jean-Christophe Napoléon, in the gardens on the tip of the Rocher. The bust will face towards Cap Martin and Villa Cyrnos.

In the afternoon, the links between Eugénie and Monaco will be the subject of a study session and lectures organised by the Empress Eugénie Commemoration Committee and the Souvenir Napoléonien association (association for Napoleonic era memory). A number of researchers specialising in the Second Empire will take part. The event will be held in the Salle Garnier, a small masterpiece by the architect behind the Paris Opera House, commissioned by Napoleon III.

Read two reviews of the recent book on the Empress written by Maxime Michelet, who holds a doctorate in history and is President of the Eugénie Centenary Commemoration Committee:

L’impératrice Eugénie. Une vie politique de Maxime Michelet: l’injustice faite à l’épouse de Napoléon III (Empress Eugénie. A Political Life by Maxime Michelet. The injustice suffered by Napoleon III’s wife)