The Full Wiki

Countess Marie Walewska: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maria Walewska
Maria Walewska
Noble Family Łączyńscy
Coat of Arms Nałęcz
Parents Mateusz Łączyński
Ewa Zaborowska
Consorts Anastazy Walewski
Philippe Antoine d’Ornano
Children with Napoleon I Bonaparte:
Alexandre Walewski (1810-1868)
Date of Birth 7 December 1786
Place of Birth Brodne
Date of Death 11 December 1817
Place of Death Paris

Countess Marie Walewska, née Łączyńska (7 December 1786, Brodne - 11 December 1817, Paris) was a Polish countess. In 1806, aged twenty and married to Count Athenasius Walewski, she met French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and became his mistress. The relationship continued through Napoleon's divorce and remarriage to Marie Louise of Austria. Napoleon acknowledged Marie Walewski's son, Alexandre Joseph Colonna-Walewski, born in 1810, as his illegitimate child. In 1816, after Napoleon's defeat and the death of her first husband, Marie Walewski remarried Philippe Antoine d'Ornano. She died during childbirth in 1817.


Birth particulars, marriage, first meeting with Napoleon Bonaparte

Frenchman Nicola Chopin, (born at Marianville, Lorraine, 1771 - 1844), emigrated from Lorraine in 1788, aged 17, to Polish - Russian territories as a consequence of the terror against great land owners and aristocrats under the French Revolution. He was brought to Poland by Adam Weydlich, Administrator of the lorrainese properties at Marainville of aristocratic Polish Michał Józef Pac, married to Ludwika Tyzenhaus, the parents of Napoleonic French Polish General Ludwik Michał Pac, (May 19, 1778 in Strasbourg, France - August 6, 1835 in Izmir,Smyrna, Turkey).

The Polish - Lithuanian Pac family,some of them hetman and voivode of Lithuanian lands, had ancestors coming into France at the beginning of the XVIII Century with French supported King Stanisław I Leszczyński, finally setting there in 1736, when Polish- Lithuanian and Ukrainian nobility was pushed out to the benefit of Austrian and Germanic Princes by peace agreements with other West European Powers.

The mainly French heraldic "fleur de lis" in the coat of arms related to the Polish - Lithuanian hetman and voivode Pac family, supporters of French supported Elected King of Poland at the beginnings of the 18 Century Stanisław I Leszczyński, (Lwów, now in Ukraine, October 20, 1677 – February 23, 1766)

The French support met West European hostility leading to the Polish War of Succession.

Frenchman Nicola Chopin would make a living in Poland teaching French to the Polish aristocrats, eager to speak French as Russians did, too, and has been portrayed in several literary pieces of Tolstoy.

It was one of his women pupils, at Zelazowa Wola, near Warszawa, divorced Countess Sharbeck, the mother of 5 children, the mother of Maria Leczinska Czerniejew, then a little girl born 1786, who had at her service a niece, an orphaned girl named Justynia Krzyzanowska.

Nicola Chopin, the exiled Frenchman, would marry Polish girl living at Maria Leczynska residence, Justinya, being thus the father of a second child from their marriage named Frédéric Chopin, a Genius of the Music, (Zelazowa Wola, 1st March 1810 - first travel to Paris 1830 - Paris, 17 October 1849, aged 39 from tuberculosis). There would be also three more sisters to musician Chopin, Luisa, Isabella and Emily.

In 1804 Marie Lączyńska, daughter of Chopin's father patroness, the French tutor Nicola, married Count Athenasius Walewski, her senior by several years, by whom she had a son in 1805. Two years later, in January 1807, during a lull in the winter military campaign of 1806-07, she became acquainted, nonetheless, than with Napoleon I Bonaparte, by then proclaimed French Emperor.

She related the meeting in her diary: "Napoleon raised his hat, bent toward me, I don't know what he said to me then because I was too eager to express what I was feeling. Be welcome, a thousand times welcome to our country. Nothing that we could do would express strongly enough either our admiration for you personally or the pleasure we have in seeing you set foot on the land which expects you to reestablish it.... Napoleon looked at me closely and took a bouquet which happened to be in the carriage, and as he gave it to me he said, 'Keep it as a pledge of my good intentions; I hope that we shall see each other in Warsaw and that I shall receive a thank-you from your beautiful mouth.'".

Mistress to Napoleon

The emperor noticed her again at a sumptuous affair given by the Polish nobility. He did not stop seeing her. Twenty-two years old, Marie Walewska, blue-eyed and blond, aroused passions. Patriotic friends of the countess tried to push her into becoming his mistress, which at first she refused to do, but although still married she finally yielded in the hope of inducing the emperor to treat Poland equitably, much as Esther had saved the Jews by influencing King Ahasuerus of Persia.[1] "Her character enchanted the emperor and made him cherish her more every day", relates Louis Constant Wairy.

Their affair was passionate. During this time Josephine stayed in Mainz. The idyll was interrupted when Napoleon took command of his army for the Campaign of Eylau. In May 1810 Marie gave Napoleon I a son, Alexandre Walewski, (4th May 1810 - 1868), Foreign Affairs Minister under Napoleon III, later a distinguished French statesman.

During the French retreat from Moscow in late 1812, Napoleon could only with difficulty be convinced to refrain from visiting Marie at her country home near Łowicz.[2]

After the Battle of Nations and Napoleon's first abdication, Marie and Alexandre made a discreet trip to Elba to comfort the exiled emperor.[3] A rumor wrongly had it that the visit was by Napoleon "fertile" wife Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria and her son, the king of Rome.

Alexander Walewski, her first husband´ had died by this time, and in September 1816 she married a second cousin of Napoleon I, Count Philippe Antoine d’Ornano. She died giving birth to her third son in 1817. Her heart was placed in the crypt of the d'Ornano family in Père Lachaise in Paris and her body was brought back to Poland. In 1869, however, her coffin was found to be empty.


  1. ^ J. Christopher Herold, The Age of Napoleon, p. 181. New York: American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc., 1963.
  2. ^ Adam Zamoyski, Moscow 1812. Napoleon's Fatal March, p. 522. New York: HarperCollins, 2004.
  3. ^ Herold, p. 389.

Further reading

  • Potocka-Wąsowiczowa, Anna z Tyszkiewiczów. Wspomnienia naocznego świadka. Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1965.

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address