Jérôme Napoléon Charles Bonaparte

Jérôme Napoléon Charles Bonaparte, 2nd Prince of Montfort

Jérôme Napoléon Charles Bonaparte, Prince of Montfort (24 August 181412 May 1847) was the son of Jérôme Bonaparte and a nephew of Napoleon I, Emperor of France, and a soldier in service of the German kingdom of Württemberg.

Jérôme Napoléon was the firstborn child of Jérôme Bonaparte and his second wife Princess Catharina of Württemberg, born in Trieste. The previous year they had been deposed as King and Queen of Westphalia, a kingdom created for Jérôme by his elder brother Napoleon. Jérôme Napoléon's maternal grandfather, King Frederick I of Württemberg, had given his son-in-law and daughter the title Prince and Princess of Montfort, and Jérôme Napoléon used this courtesy title throughout most of his life.

From 1832, Jérôme Napoléon and his family lived at the court of his maternal uncle, King William I of Württemberg. He studied at the military academy of Ludwigsburg and served in the army, attaining the ranks of Hauptmann (captain) in 1834, major in 1840, and finally colonel.

Jérôme Napoléon (centre), with younger brother Napoleon Joseph on his knees and sister Mathilde to the left.

In the early 1840s Jérôme Napoléon met and received the author Charles-Victor Prévot, vicomte d'Arlincourt in Stuttgart, who wrote of the young prince: "Prince Jérôme of Montfort, gifted with a handsome face and a graceful physiognomy, is French in spirit and in heart. He speaks and dreams of nothing but France. In speaking of the sons of that great nation he always says 'we'. His position at Stuttgart is brilliant; and yet it seems he would prefer the most modest home in France to the most beautiful foreign palace. I told him of the passing of Napoleon; he listened rapt. I spoke to him of the coming of the Duke of Bourdeaux; he listened with interest. 'Eternal glory', the prince told me, 'to whomever makes France happy!' Such too was my thought."[1]

Of poor health since childhood, in 1845 Jérôme Napoléon sought permission to travel to Vernet-les-Bains to drink of its spring water, but the government of King Louis-Philippe I refused to let him enter French territory. He died, unmarried and childless, in Florence in 1847, aged 32. As the eldest son of Jérôme Bonaparte, Jérôme Napoléon had stood to inherit his titles and claims; instead his younger brother Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte succeeded to the Westphalia claim, and his son Napoléon Victor Bonaparte eventually became head of the House of Bonaparte.



  1. Charles-Victor Prévot d'Arlincourt, Le Pèlerin, Paris, Dumont, 1842, pp. 233-234.
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