Napoléon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte Character in The Engineering Corps | World Anvil

Napoléon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte

The oh-so-desired and loved son of His Majesty King Napoléon! The mighty conqueror of Italy! The obviously best hope for victory, peace and glory in France!
— Emotional clipping from a French Bonapartist underground newspaper

Table of Contents


Prince of France

Napoléon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte was born the 20 March 1811 in the Palais des Tuileries, in Paris. His parents were King Napoléon of France and his second wife, Queen Marie-Louise of Austria, daughter of the Emperor of Austria. Napoléon was by all accounts a loving father who loved to play with his so-desired heir, however the wars kept him away often.  
Napoleon, a prey to silent agitation, watched this painful scene, encouraging all present by his brave attitude. At last, after many efforts, and in the midst of so much anguish, the so-impatiently-desired child came to light. It was a son, pale, motionless, and to all appearances lifeless.   In spite of all the measures taken in such cases, the child remained seven minutes without giving any signs of life. Finally, a cry escaping him.   All anxiety then ceases. In the effusion of his joy Napoleon bent over the child, seized it in his arms, with a spontaneous movement, carried it to the door of the drawing-room in which all the grandees of his Empire were assembled and presenting it to them said: "Here is the Prince of France."  
— Baron Claude François de Méneval, His Majesty Napoleon’s private secretary
  In 1815 when he was just 4 years old, his father died. Immediately after, the Assembly of Lords and Ladies gathered to elect the new king and François was brought before them.   Since 1789, all the lords and ladies who were the most fervently opposed to the revolution had been guillotined, and those who had managed to flee had been dispossessed of their titles. In addition, the elected kings had all created new peerages, thus changing the majority of the assembly as they wished. As a result, the assembly was not immediately hostile to François' claims to the throne. Napoléon's immense popularity may have even been enough to make everyone ignore the risk of a new dynasty being established if they elected the son after the father.   Nevertheless, the situation was far too precarious with too many enemies within and without to risk the instability of a minor king and a regency. To compound matter, the English managed to interfere with the election and they all absolutely hated Napoléon. And so we ended up with Louis XVIII, the Desired, on the throne.   With the legitimate House of Bourbon back on the throne, François had become extremely cumbersome, a blatant rallying cry for the enemies of that family. Marie-Louise was politely invited to leave the country with her son, and so she went back to her homeland of Austria.

Napoléon and his son by Wikimedia Commons

Marie-Louise and her son by Wikimedia Commons

Duke of Reichstadt



Napoléon was not much more love in Austria than he was in England. Nevertheless, François' grandfather, the Emperor François I of Austria, treated him as a member of his family and made him an archduke duke of Austria as is the custom. The city of Reishstadt in Bohemia was made a hereditary duchy and François the Duke of Reichstadt, and he was given revenues to hold his rank at court. Yet, François was to be called Franz by everyone now instead of Napoléon, and the emperor forbade even the name of Napoléon from being spoken.   Marie-Louise was named Duchess of Parma and went to live there with her new husband, the Count Neipperg, and their children, completely neglecting her first son. Nevertheless, the rest of François' cousins were close to him and took care of him. He received a princely education and learnt Latin, Greek, Italian, French, mathematics, strategy, physics, chemistry, natural sciences, and dance.   It was only when he was 16 years old and he was authorised to go to the Great Imperial Library of Vienna that he discovered by reading the Letters of Madame de Sévigné that Napoléon was his father. He quickly read everything he could find about this mysterious but glorious parent and developed a real admiration for him.

François Bonaparte as a child by Wikimedia Commons

How could they all hide something of such magnitude from me? A father who loved me, an empire for inheritance... My whole nationality forgotten... How long did they hope to carry this scheme?
— François Bonaparte

Military career

This made him decide to become an officer in 1828, and the emperor gave him the captaincy of a regiment of Tyrolean light infantry. Then in 1830, he was named Major in a Hungarian infantry regiment. Yet, he was never allowed to actually do anything in the army. He was able to practise manoeuvres but little beyond that despite explicitly asking the emperor to be allowed to join the army travelling to put down a rebellion in Italy. He was also completely forbidden from ever playing any kind of political role.   This was because his budding military career gave equal concern and fascination to all European monarchies over his possible return to France. His only usefulness was in being a pawn for the Austrian when negotiating with the French monarchy, using his claim to the French throne as a threat. And during all of this time, what was happening was very clear to François. Everyone was holding him back from, at best, a fear of political controversy, at worst the return of the Bonaparte dynasty to power.  
The Ogre's Heir is alive and waiting for his time in Vienna! Let us smother him in the cradle before the aggressive nature of his blood can awaken!
— British newspaper clipping

François Bonaparte by Wikimedia Common

The French revolution of 1830

During the French revolution of July 1830, he was 19 years old already and his name was seriously considered during the election of the next French king. Yet, his grandfather the emperor kept him isolated all summer, preventing him from even hearing about the event until Lucien Esselin had managed to get himself elected.  
Vive Napoléon II! Vive Napoléon II! What are you all waiting for? Now that we've finally rid of those Bourbon, there is no deliberating to be done! His Majesty Napoléon desired his son to succeed him, and he would have undoubtedly done so without those damned English's interference—let us all immediately correct this grievous mistake!
— An emotional French deputy
  Soon afterwards, the European coalition of England-Portugal-Spain-Austria-Prussia-Russia-Naple reformed to fight against France and force us to take back Charles X. And still, François was kept away from the battlefront. This led to the first and only public argument between François and his grandfather, but the emperor did not change his mind.

The crisis


Death approaches

In 1832, François fell ill with consumption. His state worsened very quickly, keeping him in bed. The doctors who took care of him started by treating him for his liver with such incompetence that it can only be considered malice, and by the time they "realised" their mistake it was too late. By April he was considered lost.   François has always been seen as an intelligent young man, serious and focused on whatever task he sets his heart on. He had little illusion about his caretakers. Understanding that he had little time left and that now was not the time to wait, he set his plans into motion: contact was made with loyal Bonapartist partisans who immediately hurried to his bedside, their past in Napoléon's army easily allowing them to walk through all the Austrian wards.

My birth and death, is that supposed to be my whole story? Between my cradle and my grave, only a big zero? No. I will not let fate treat me so terribly. I will not die without having proved myself worthy of the name I carry!
— François Bonaparte
  Once in the presence of the one they considered to be their king, they fell to their knees in both respect and horror at the situation. He could obviously not be allowed to die so stupidly when he had still such a bright future ahead of him and the hope of a whole nation resting on his shoulders. What was allegedly incurable for the Austrians, any officers in the French army could treat easily. Since the 1789 revolution, all of us are more than familiar with the healing magic powered by human sacrifices...   It was little work to catch the first Austrians they met and to perform the ritual. And before long, all of them had vanished from Austria right under the nose of the emperor. Despite the Austrians best efforts, word spread fast, and soon the whole of Europe was shaking in terror at the mere idea of a Bonaparte roaming around unchecked with an army of loyal veterans at his command.
Plan for a runic design by AmélieIS with Pixabay
Blue fire.jpg
Magic by Pixabay


Rather than immediately go to France and attack it while it was vulnerable—and when the coalition armies were also all ready to strike him down—François turned his attention to Parma and the territory that had been promised to him while his father was still alive. With all the European armies too busy to bother with him despite the risk he represented, François was free to put his strategic skills to the test in a real setting for the first time.  
His Imperial and Royal Majesty, yesterday evening, finished the conquest of the Duchy of Parma, his rightful inheritance. He walked into his new capital amidst the joyful acclamations of his devoted and faithful subjects. All courts in Europe cannot but agree that he made a credible show, worthy of the Aiglon.
— Clipping from a French Bonapartist underground newspaper
  It has been more than 10 years since then, and François has not yet made his move against France. Instead, he has turned his focused towards administrating his new kingdom and continuing the numerous reforms started by his father. Little by little expanding his territories and spreading through Italy. Despite their initial hostility, some Italians have even started to think this could be their hope of finally reunifying the peninsula and recovering a glory not seen since the days of the might of Rome.   The kingdom has also turned into a beacon for all Bonapartists who may have supported King Lucien during his election in 1830 but have since turned against him. Every day, new soldiers arrive, old and young, all with the flame of revolution in their eyes and admiration for the Napoléonic legend in their heart. Loyal and eager to die for the glory of the Aiglon as soon as he will deign give them the command.

Cover image: Some of the characters in the Empire of the Covenant by AmélieIS with Artbreeder
Character Portrait image: Napoléon François Bonaparte by Wikimedia Commons


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22 Jul, 2021 08:31

nicely written.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
22 Jul, 2021 09:31

Thanks :D

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E. Christopher Clark
4 Aug, 2021 22:45

This was fascinating. I had to go look up Napoleon II just to see where your version departed from history, and I love the choices you've made and how your world has influenced those choices.

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
4 Aug, 2021 23:00

Thanks, this is just the effect I was hoping for! :D That time period is rather fun, everyone is doing such crazy things that everything sounds plausible XD

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