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Pauline Bonaparte

Paolina Bonaparte
Paolina Bonaparte

Maria Paola Bonaparte, called Pauline (Ajaccio, 20 October 1780–Florence, 9 June 1825), Napoleon’s younger sister, was a woman of great beauty and charm, universally recognized and frequently depicted by the greatest artists of the age.
Pauline’s first marriage was to General Leclerc, a friend of Napoleon, and she accompanied him on his mission to the French colony San Domingo. When Leclerc died in 1802, Pauline accepted her beloved brother’s plan for her to wed the Roman prince, Camillo Borghese: as a Borghese princess, Pauline was the absolute ruler of the extravagant court life at the Roman residence of the princes and was sculpted by Canova as Venus Victrix.
The only one among Napoleon’s siblings to visit him during his exile on the island of Elba, Pauline, after his escape, went in the spring of 1815 to the residence in Compignano, in province of Lucca, that belonged to her sister Élisa. The princess passed her “one hundred days” in Compignano, kept under surveillance by six hussars under the command of the Polish captain Sedlnicky.
Pauline stayed in Lucca at length, living there after her brother’s fall and the death of her sister Élisa. In 1822 she purchased the Villa di Monte San Quirico, and at the same time began work on the Villa di Viareggio: both of these residences were the theatre for her passionate relationship with the last of her loves, the musician Giovanni Pacini.
Pauline died at the age of forty–five without an heir. Her only child, born from her marriage to General Leclerc, had died of illness at the age of six.