Timeline

  • 1772: Birth of Victor-Emmanuel LeClerc in Pontoise, France.
  • July 19, 1775: Birth of Camillo Borghese in Rome, Italy.
  • 1769: Birth of Napoleon Bonaparte in Corsica, France.
  • October 20, 1780: Birth of Pauline Bonaparte in Corsica, France.
  • 1793: Birth year of Sophie (fictitious).
  • 1797: Pauline marries Victor-Emmanuel LeClerc.
  • 1798: Dermide LeClerc born in Milan.
  • November, 1802: Victor-Emmanuel LeClerc dies of yellow fever in Saint-Domingue (Haiti). Pauline sails back to Paris with her son Dermide and her husband’s body, which has been embalmed and sealed in a lead coffin.
  • Early 1803: Pauline moves into The Hotel de Charost with Dermide.
  • August 28th, 1803: Pauline marries Prince Camillio Borghese in the eyes of the Catholic Church (this “early” marriage is hidden from Napoleon, who had refused to allow Pauline to remarry before the traditional year of mourning had passed.)
  • November 6, 1803: Pauline marries Prince Camillo Borghese in a civil ceremony.
  • Spring 1804: Pauline and Camillo are living in Rome. Camillo commissions the sculptor Canova to create a statue of Pauline depicted as Venus, the goddess of love
  • Summer 1804: Pauline and Camillo travel to Florence, Pisa, and Lucca while Dermide spends his summer in Frascati with Don Cecco (Prince Francesco Borghese, Camillo’s brother). In mid-August, young Dermide dies in Frascati from a fever. He is six years old.
  • December 2, 1804: Napoleon crowned Emperor of France. Pauline is now living in France.
  • 1805: Napoleon is crowned King of Italy; meanwhile, Camillio is made a French citizen by Napoleon and given a commission as an officer in the Grenadiers.
  • March, 1806: Pauline is named Duchess of Guastalla but her ‘duchy’ turns out to be a tiny parcel of villages, and she complains indignantly to Napoleon.
  • October, 1806: Camillo is sent to Germany to fight Prussia.
  • 1807: Camillo promoted to General by Napoleon.
  • 1808: Camillo is appointed Governor-General of the Transalpine Department of the French Empire. This seat of government is located in Turin; Napoleon forces Pauline to join her husband there.
  • 1809: Napoleon divorces Josephine due to her inability to produce a son.
  • 1810: Napoleon marries Marie Louise of Austria; Camillo comes to Paris briefly to attend the wedding ceremony and stays with Pauline.
  • March 20, 1811: Marie Louise gives birth to Napoleon’s son, the “King of Rome”.
  • 1812: Failed invasion of Russia; Napoleon retreats back to France.
  • April 11th, 1814: Treaty of Fontainebleu, Napoleon abdicates the throne of France and is granted the tiny kingdom of Elba in exile, where he is guarded by British troops. Pauline joins her brother in Elba; Camillo is in Florence.
  • February 26th, 1815: Napoleon illegally leaves Elba for France with a small detachment of loyal guards, hoping to gather disaffected subjects of the unpopular Bourbon king to his banner. Pauline, as a parting gift, offers her brother a diamond necklace worth 500,000 francs. The French welcome Napoleon’s return and royal troops desert to him en masse.
  • June 16-18, 1815: Napoleon defeated at Waterloo and exiled again, this time to the remote island of Saint Helena. The Bourbons are once again restored to power in France.
  • 1815-1816: Pauline returns to Rome; Camillo seeks a divorce but Pope Pius VII refuses and decrees a legal separation. Pauline is granted access to Borghese properties in Rome; Camillo remains in Florence with his mistress, the Duchess Lante della Rovere.
  • May 5th, 1821: Napoleon dies on Saint Helena. For six years Pauline had tried, unsuccessfully, to obtain permission to join him there. She is devastated at the news of his death.
  • 1822: During this year Pauline acquires two properties in Tuscany: Villa Paolina on the San Quirico hill above Lucca and Villa Paolina in Viareggio (which looks out to the island of Elba).
  • 1823-1824: Pauline is in Rome, suffering from liver disease. Through the good offices of Pope Pius VII, Pauline is reconciled with Camillo and joins him in Florence late in 1824. Camillo’s mistress and her daughters move out of the Borghese palace.
  • Spring 1825: Pauline’s health declines rapidly. In May, at her request, Camillo rents Pauline a villa in the hills above Florence to provide her with more light and fresh air. On June 9th Pauline dies. Before her death she begs Camillo for forgiveness and asks to be buried in the Borghese family chapel in Rome. Her wish is granted. Her embalmed body lies in the Borghese family crypt in the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome. Next to her rests Camillo.
  • May 9, 1832: Camillo dies in Florence. His body is taken to the Borghese chapel below the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica where he is laid to rest next to his wife, Pauline.
  • 1838: The statue of Pauline as Venus is on display at the Villa Borghese in Rome.
  • 1845: The year the Prologue takes place.

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