Christine Boyer was the first wife of Lucien Bonaparte, the third surviving son of Carlo Bonaparte and his wife Letizia Ramolino and thus the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte.
She was born on 3 July 1771 in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume in France, the daughter of Pierre André Boyer and Rosalie Fabre. She was the sister of the innkeeper from the inn where Lucien was lodged, and they were married on 4 May 1794. Napoleon was furious when he heard of the marriage and declared that he would never see Christine and never meet with his brother again. Their mother Letizia was also disappointed at the match. However, when Lucien was elected President of the Council of Five Hundred, Napoleon could no longer ignore him. Christine was known to be uneducated, and she could not read or write or even sign her own name. She was also two years older than Lucien.1
Christine and Lucien went on to have four children together: Charlotte (born 28 February 1795), a shortlived son (1796), Victoire Gertrude (1797 – died young) and Christine-Egypta (born 18 October 1798). Letizia eventually grew to like Christine and was “almost as upset” as Lucien at her death.2 Christine died on 14 May 1800 and left a generally good impression.
“Madame Lucien was tall, well-shaped, slender, and had in her figure and carriage that native grace and ease which are imparted by the air and sky of the South; her complexion was dark, she was pitted with the small-pox; her eyes were not large, and her nose was rather broad and flat. In spite of all this she was pleasing because her look was kind, her smile sweet, as well as her voice. She was graceful and good as an angel.”3
Madame Junot, a French writer, said of her “She had in her a profusion of kindness, affection, and love. I knew her, and no sooner knew than loved her. Subsequently, when I have seen her surrounded by the halo of maternal love, new treasures of tenderness manifested themselves in her, and constrained me to love her more and more.”4
“She is said to have been a woman of a mild disposition, amiable manners, and a great goodness of heart. He caused a handsome monument to be erected to her memory, on which is the following simple inscription: – “A daughter – wife – and mother – without reproach!”5