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Letizia Ramolino
Mother of His Majesty the Emperor
Letizia Ramolino by Robert Lefèvre, 1813
Spouse Carlo Buonaparte
Napoleone Buonaparte
Maria Anna Buonaparte
Joseph Bonaparte, King of Spain
Napoleon I Bonaparte, Emperor of the French
Maria Anna Buonaparte
Maria Anna Buonaparte
A stillborn son
Lucien Bonaparte, 1st Prince of Canino and Musignano
Elisa Bonaparte, Grand Duchess of Tuscany
Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland
Pauline Bonaparte, Princess and Duchess of Guastalla
Caroline Bonaparte, Queen of Naples
Jérôme Bonaparte, King of Westphalia
Full name
Maria Letizia Bonaparte née Ramolino
Father Giovanni Geronimo Ramolino
Mother Angela Maria Pietrasanta
Born 24 August 1750
Ajaccio, Corsica
Died 2 February 1836 (aged 85)
Rome, Papal States

Nobile Maria Letizia Bonaparte née Ramolino[1] (Marie-Lætitia Ramolino, Madame Mère de l'Empereur) (24 August 1750 – 2 February 1836) was the mother of Napoleon I of France.

She was born in Ajaccio, Corsica, to Nobile Giovanni Geronimo Ramolino (13 April 1723 – 1755), Captain of Corse Regiments of Chivalry and Infantry in the Army of the Republic of Genoa, and wife Nobile Angela Maria Pietrasanta (circa 1725 – 1790). The distant cousins of the Ramolinos were a low rank of nobility in the Republic of Genoa. Letizia was not formally educated.

On 2/7 June 1764, when she was 14, she married at Ajaccio Attorney Carlo Buonaparte. She bore 13 children, eight of whom survived infancy, and most of which survivors were made monarchs by Napoleon:

Maria Letizia Bonaparte

She was a harsh mother, and had a very down-to-earth view of most things. When most European mothers, even those in the upper class, bathed perhaps once a month, she had her children bathed every other day.

When France under the Ancien Régime took control of Corsica, in 1769, French became the national language, but Letizia never learned the tongue. When she was 35, her husband died of cancer. She was decreed "Madam, the Mother of His Majesty the Emperor" (Madame Mère de l'Empereur), Imperial Highness, on 18 May 1804 or 23 March 1805. She died of old age in Rome, in 1836, aged 85, three weeks before the 50th anniversary of her husband's death. By then she was nearly blind and had outlived her most famous son Napoleon by 15 years.

See also


  1. ^ Bourrienne's biography of Napoleon misspells the surname as Ramolini

External links

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