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Charlotte Bonaparte Gabrielli

Filistine Charlotte Bonaparte (22 February 1795 - 13


May 1865) was a French Napoleonic princess and the eldest daughter of Lucien Bonaparte and Christine Boyer.
She became princess Gabrielli following her marriage to
Mario Gabrielli, prince of Prossedi and Roccasecca, duke
of Pisterzo. In Italy she was known as Carlotta.

An outspoken and undevious woman, the Italians referred


to Princess Gabrielli as a true Bonaparte. Her private
correspondence was full of gossip on the Imperial court
in Paris, and her own behaviour in society was sometimes
a source of concern for the French Imperial family. Nevertheless, even after the fall of Napoleon, she always remained loyal to her uncles memory, and had a particular
aection for her paternal grandmother Madame Mre to
whom she remained attached until her death at Palazzo
Bonaparte-d'Aste, in the Roman Piazza Venezia, in 1836.

Biography

She was an avid book collector and the patroness of a literary and intellectual circle that regularly met at her husbands villa on the Janiculum in the years 1820-1840. The
Villa Gabrielli al Gianicolo was one of the must-see
stops of Grand Tour travellers in reason of the magnificent view on the city, and is nowadays the Roman headquarters of the Pontical North American College.

She was born at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, the


daughter of Lucien Bonaparte (17751840), the rst
prince of Canino and Musignano, and his rst wife
Christine Boyer (17731800), herself the daughter of
Pierre Boyer. She was the granddaughter of Carlo Buonaparte and his wife Letizia Ramolino, and the niece of the
emperor Napoleon I. Her paternal grandmother, Letizia
Ramolino (Madame Mre) nicknamed her Lolotte. She
spent her childhood in France and Spain and from 1804
onwards was educated by nuns in Italy.

Charlotte survived her husband as the Dowager Princess


Gabrielli (18411865) and the following year she quietly
remarried to her faithful admirer the Cavaliere Settimio
Centamori. With the rise of Emperor Napoleon III Charlotte was again ocially included in the Imperial family
and recognized as Princesse Bonaparte with the qualication of Highness (21 February 1853). Princess Gabrielli
died on 6 May 1865, aged seventy, at Palazzo Gabrielli
in Rome.

Early marriage arrangements to the Spanish prince Ferdinando of the Asturias (later Ferdinand VII of Spain)
and the grand-duke of Wurzburg (later Ferdinand III of
Tuscany) were planned for her by Napoleon but eventually not concluded. When in 1809 Napoleon divorced
his wife Josphine de Beauharnais, the possibility that
he might marry Charlotte was taken into consideration,
as this would have consolidated family power. Charlotte 2 Marriage and children
was thus sent to live with her grandmother (Napoleons
mother, Madame Mre) in Paris in March 1810; eventuOn 27 December 1815, in Rome, she married prince don
ally however the emperor did not favour a marriage with
Mario Gabrielli, prince of Prossedi (6 December 1773
his niece. As a consequence of the increasingly abra17 September 1841), with whom she had eight children:
sive relationship between Lucien and Napoleon, in August 1810 Charlotte, her father, stepmother Alexandrine
Donna Letizia Gabrielli (18171827). She died
de Bleschamps, siblings and household attempted to sail
young.
to the United States, but were captured by the British
and forced to reside in England until the fall of Napoleon
Donna Cristina Gabrielli (18211898). She married
(1814).
marchese Antonio Stefanoni (18191883) and left
During the restoration of her uncle Napoleon in the
issue.
Hundred Days, Charlotte was granted the title of French
princess (22 March 1815) and the qualication of
Donna Lavinia Gabrielli (18221888). She married
Imperial Highness. Charlotte was then married on 27 Deconte Ildefonso Aventi (18021857) and left issue.
cember 1815 to the Roman prince Mario Gabrielli (1773
1841): he was the scion of an old Italian Catholic fam Don Angelo Gabrielli (18241826). He died in inily from Gubbio, the son of the Napoleonic deputy mayor
fancy.
of Rome and nephew of a former Cardinal Secretary of
Donna Camilla Gabrielli (18281829). She died in
State; she thus became the Princess Gabrielli until his
death in 1841.
infancy.
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4 BIBLIOGRAPHY
Donna Emilia Gabrielli (18301911). She married
conte Giuseppe Parisani (18231887) and left issue,
including the painter Napoleone Parisani.
Don Placido Gabrielli (18321911). He married
his cousin princesse Augusta Bonaparte (daughter
of Charles Lucien Bonaparte and his wife Znade
Bonaparte).
Donna Francesca Gabrielli (18371860). She married conte Cesare Parisani (18281904) and left issue.

In 1842 she married chevalier Settimio Centamori (1812


- 1889). The marriage was childless.

Portraits

She was represented by the French painter Jean-Baptiste


Wicar as a young peasant woman in a life-size portrait,
today in the collections of the Napoleonic Museum in
Rome. Another life-size portrait by Jean-Pierre Granger
is at the Palace of Versailles.

Bibliography
Yacinthe Saint-German Leca. Un aspect meconnu
de Lucien Bonaparte. Paris, Imprimerie Jouve, 2006
Marcello Simonetta, Noga Arikha. Napoleon and
the Rebel: A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and
Power. New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011

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