The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Princesse Clothilde and Prince Victor Napoléon

Princesse Clothilde and Prince Victor Napoléon

A carte-de-visite portrait of Princesse Clothilde (1843-1911), seen here with her elder son, Prince Victor Napoléon. The age of the baby dates the portrait to late 1862 or early 1863.

The daughter of Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia and Italy, in 1858 she married Prince Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul ('Plon-Plon'), the troublesome cousin of Napoléon III.

Utterly self-contained, enveloped in the armour of her piety and endowed with a sullen superiority, Princesse Clothilde proved unpopular at the French court. Although the Empress Eugénie initially tried to help her, Clothilde's deliberate rudeness soon alienated her would-be mentor. She appeared more and more rarely at the splendid entertainments at the Tuileries, and when she did, seemed with her vague, dull eyes to be walking in a dream. Her humourless and priggish nature cast a damper over any festivity. Cordially disliked by the Empress and all but abandoned by her husband, a sombre piety took possession of her whole life.

Photographed by Disdéri of Paris.


Code: 124101
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