The Bonaparte Women: Marie-Félix Blanc

marie felix blanc
Marie-Félix Blanc (public domain)

Marie-Félix Blanc was born on 22 December 1859 as the daughter of François Blanc, founder of the Monte-Carlo casino, and Marie Blanc (née Hensel). Prince Ronald Bonaparte was a grandson of Lucien Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who probably was more in love with Marie-Félix’s money than Marie-Félix herself. They married on 17 November 1880 despite being impossibly ill-matched. Marie-Félix was known for her piety and immaturity. 1 By then, she was probably already ill with tuberculosis and shortly after the wedding, she was desperate for a child. Her husband too was desperate for a child, if only to keep her wealth for himself.2

She did become pregnant and on 27 March 1882, she wrote a will, “Wishing to give my husband, Prince Roland Bonaparte, a proof of my attachment, I leave to him in entirety: the whole of my fortune… (..) If I leave issue of our marriage, I leave to my husband all that the law permits me to dispose in his favour.” 3 At the end of June, Marie-Félix began a three-day painful labour which ended with the use of forceps. When their daughter Princess Marie Bonaparte was born on 2 July 1882, she was blue and not moving. Surprisingly, both mother and daughter survived the birth, but in the days that followed, Marie-Félix did not seem to improve much.4

On 1 August, she was well enough to get up, but as she did, she felt a sharp pain in her leg. They called for her husband, and she told him, “My poor Roro, I’ll never see you again!” She died of an embolism that day.5 Prince Ronald’s mother was overjoyed, “What luck for Ronald! Now he gets the whole fortune!” She moved in with her son to help care for his daughter.6

  1. Bertin, Celia, Marie Bonaparte: A Life p. 21
  2. Bertin, Celia, Marie Bonaparte: A Life p. 22
  3. Bertin, Celia, Marie Bonaparte: A Life p. 24-25
  4. Bertin, Celia, Marie Bonaparte: A Life p. 25-26
  5. Bertin, Celia, Marie Bonaparte: A Life p. 26
  6. Bertin, Celia, Marie Bonaparte: A Life p. 26 (UK & US)

About Moniek Bloks 2747 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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