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The British Bonapartes (ePub)

Napoleon’s Family in Britain

Military > Pre-WWI > Napoleonic P&S History > By Century > 19th Century P&S History > Royal History P&S History > Social History World History > Europe > France World History > UK & Ireland > England

By Edward Hilary Davis, Foreword by HIH Prince Napoléon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 27.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 32 mono
ISBN: 9781399088534
Published: 11th May 2022


£4.99 Print price £22.00

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Star Review!

'A fascinating exploration of this most celebrated family in Britain, told with wit and verve.' - Professor Kate Williams, New York Times bestselling author of 'Becoming Queen Victoria'

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A hitherto unexamined history of the wider Bonaparte family, presented in a new way and shedding fresh light on their eventful lives in Britain. From duels on Wimbledon Common and attempted suicides in Hyde Park, to public brawls and arrests in Shropshire and the sexual adventures of a princess who rescued Freud from the Nazis and brought him to Britain, this book exposes the curious events surrounding the family’s exploits in England, Scotland and Ireland. Originally an island family themselves, the Bonapartes have had a surprisingly good relationship with the British Isles. In just two generations, the Bonapartes went from being Britain’s worst enemy to one of Queen Victoria’s closest of friends. Far from another mere history of Napoleon Bonaparte, this book is divided into different branches of the Bonaparte family, detailing – in an anecdotal and amusing way – their rather scandalous lives in Britain.

For example, few will know that Napoleon III was once a volunteer constable in London and arrested a drunk woman; or that Princess Marie Bonaparte sponsored Prince Philip’s education as well as conducted her own research into the clitoris in her quest to achieve an orgasm; or that Napoleon IV fought for the British army and was killed by the Zulus; or that one Bonaparte was even made a High Sheriff in a British town. Today, the head of the family is London-based and works in finance. The Bonapartes are known to most as the enemies of Britain, but the truth is quite the opposite, and far more entertaining.

Article: Exploring The British Bonapartes - New Book

Chichester Observer

'The Ancestor' Magazine

This previously unexamined history of the Bonapartes, presents their lives in a vibrant and refreshing way, sheds light on their dubious activities, and exposes the curious events surrounding the family’s exploits in Britain, America and Europe.

Thankfully the author, Edward Hilary Davis (President of the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society), has produced multiple Family Trees to refer to when figuring out who is related to whom.

The author has produced an excellent book, both informative and interesting; a colourful and fascinating romp through the Bonaparte family, including numerous amusing anecdotes, stories and scandals. Altogether a most entertaining and enjoyable read.

Norfolk Family History Society, August 2022

Edward Hilary Davis's history of the Bonaparte family in Britain is amazing, astonishing, incredible and hugely entertaining - this is a family history like no other!

Books Monthly

"This is a most detailed interesting book."

Terry Sutton

This was an entertaining look at the wider family of the British Bonapartes, and although I went into the book expecting something prim and well-to-do, the book was actually quite an entertaining read. Some of the little stories were shall we say a little surprising but overall the book was quite humorous, appealing and informative. I always find it amazing to find out the various activities, events and sometimes scandals that go on in some families. I enjoyed this book very much and would happily recommend it.

Read the full review here

The History Fella

Napoleon has always been a fascinating character. His impact on the world was immense. But who was to know how many of his relatives led almost equally interesting lives, some of whom had some very profound effects on the world and particularly on the relationship between France and England. That relationship had been testy at best for so many centuries, erupting into warfare frequently. They were mortal enemies.

But it appears many of his siblings, children and others had close contact with Britain. Some of them made their homes there. Some were greeted with less than open arms whilst others were embraced. In fact it can be argued that the relationships forged by his family created the alliances that held up in both World Wars and beyond. Some of the tales were particularly engrossing.

But the reader could be forgiven if he or she requires a scorecard to keep up with the liaisons, affairs and parentage of many of the characters. To say that there was much intermingling would be an understatement. It would have been a full time job just trying to figure out who slept with whom and who was the father of which child. It makes for compelling and lusty reading. They certainly did not lack energy.

It is one of those books which you could read from beginning to end or dip into piecemeal. Either way it is an engaging read. Four purrs and two paws up.

NetGalley, Susan Johnston

The British Bonapartes was an interesting read that looked at the extended family of Napoleon Bonaparte, with particular reference to their connections to England. It was a well-arranged study that dealt with each branch of the family in turn. Some of the stories I already knew, but a number were new to me, so it was fascinating to read about how the rest of the family fared after Napoleon's defeat and death. This is therefore a worthwhile read for those interested in Napoleon, in 19th century European history, and/or in the way a famous family continues on after the loss of its key figure. It gets a solid four stars from me.

NetGalley, Nicki Markus

About Edward Hilary Davis

Edward Hilary Davis is a historical consultant and a special advisor. He began his career as a researcher at Her Majesty's College of Arms, London, later becoming a medals specialist at Spink & Son, and has independently advised royal families, governments and embassies on protocol, ceremony, and medals, as well as been a historical advisor on film and TV productions. He has worked in architectural Heritage Consultancy for Purcell as well as interviewed and worked with other historians such as Professor Kate Williams.
Educated at Lancing, Royal Holloway, and Cambridge, he is President of the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society, Councillor of the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and co-organiser of the Royal Versailles Ball 2022.

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