Portrait of Joséphine (1763-1814), Empress consort of the French (1804-1809), Queen consort of Italy (1805-1809), Duchess of Navarre (1810), 1804
Joséphine de Beauharnais (née Marie-Josèphe-Rose Tascher de la Pagerie; 23 June 1763 – 29 May 1814) was the first wife of Napoleon I, and thus the first Empress of the French (commonly called Empress Joséphine). Although she is often referred to as "Joséphine de Beauharnais", it is not a name she ever used in her lifetime, as "Beauharnais" is the name of her first husband, which she ceased to use upon her marriage to Napoleon, taking the last name "Bonaparte" while she did not use the name "Joséphine" before meeting Napoleon, who was the first to begin calling her such, perhaps from a middle name of "Josephe". Her marriage to Napoleon I was her second; her first husband, Alexandre de Beauharnais, was guillotined during the Reign of Terror, and she was imprisoned in the Carmes prison until five days after his execution. Her two children by Beauharnais became significant to royal lineage. Through her daughter, Hortense, she was the maternal grandmother of Napoléon III. Through her son, Eugène, she was the great-grandmother of later Swedish and Danish kings and queens. The reigning houses of Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg also descend from her. She did not bear Napoleon any children; as a result, he divorced her in 1810 to marry Marie Louise of Austria.
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