Stéphanie de Beauharnais

Stéphanie, Grand Duchess of Baden (Stéphanie Louise Adrienne de Beauharnais; 28 August 1789 – 29 January 1860) was a French princess and the Grand Duchess consort of Baden by marriage to Karl, Grand Duke of Baden.

Stéphanie de Beauharnais
Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Grande-duchesse de Bade.jpg
Grand Duchess of Baden
Tenure10 June 1811 – 8 December 1818
Born28 August 1789
Versailles, France
Died29 January 1860(1860-01-29) (aged 70)
Nice, France
SpouseCharles, Grand Duke of Baden
IssueLuise, Princess of Vasa
Josephine, Princess of Hohenzollern
Prince Alexander
Marie Amelie, Duchess of Hamilton
Stéphanie Louise Adrienne de Beauharnais
FatherClaude, 2nd Count des Roches-Baritaud
MotherClaudine Françoise Adrienne Gabrielle de Lézay-Marnézia
ReligionRoman Catholicism


Early lifeEdit

Born in Versailles at the beginning of the French Revolution, Stéphanie was the daughter of Claude de Beauharnais, 2nd Count des Roches-Baritaud (1756–1819). In 1783 the 2nd Count married Claudine Françoise de Lezay (1767–1791). The marriage resulted in the birth of first her older brother Alberic de Beauharnais (1786–1791) and then Stephanie herself. Her father remarried in 1799 to Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis (1775–1850).

On 13 December 1779 Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais, first cousin of her father, married Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie. On 23 July 1794, Alexandre was guillotined. Joséphine had affairs with several influential figures of the French Directory, including Paul François Jean Nicolas Barras. The latter would introduce her to his recent favorite Napoléon Bonaparte. Napoléon soon started courting her. On 9 March 1796 they were married.

General Napoléon Bonaparte was now stepfather to Eugène de Beauharnais and Hortense de Beauharnais, second cousins of Stephanie. As his prominence and wealth continued to rise, Napoléon found himself being de facto patron to both the Bonaparte and the de Beauharnais families. Stephanie would soon see her patron rise to become First Consul of France.


Her "uncle" crowned himself Emperor of the French on 2 December 1804. As a prominent member of the new Imperial Family, Stephanie held residence in the Tuileries Palace. Her new status allowed her to live a rather luxurious life.

This was a consequence of Napoleon's effort to secure an alliance with the Prince-elector of Baden. The alliance was to be secured through a marriage between the descendants of the two sovereigns, connecting the two dynasties. The Prince-Elector was to be represented by his grandson. Napoleon on the other hand lacked legitimate descendants of his own. He adopted Stephanie and named her "Princesse Française" (French Princess) with the style of Imperial Highness.

Grand Duchess of BadenEdit

The marriage of Stephanie and Karl (Charles), took place in Paris on 8 April 1806. On 25 July 1806 her new grandfather-in-law was named Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Baden.

By most accounts the arranged marriage was not particularly successful. Her husband was determined to continue living as a bachelor. He set residence in Karlsruhe. She was allowed to settle separately in Mannheim. Even the official complaints by the Emperor did not resolve this situation. The Grand Duke offered Schwetzingen to be their common summer residence. But only Stephanie accepted the offer. The situation changed somewhat when it became evident that the aging Grand Duke would not live much longer. The couple reconciled in an effort to produce heirs for the throne when her spouse succeeded to the throne in 1811.

The Grand Duke died on 8 December 1818. Stephanie remained a widow for the rest of her long life. She was reportedly a devoted mother to her three daughters. Her residence in Mannheim became a popular Salon for artists and intellectuals. Stephanie died in Nice, France at the age of 71, in 1860, 41 years after her husband.[1]


Statue of Stéphanie de Beauharnais near Mannheim Palace

On 10 June 1811 Stephanie's husband, Karl succeeded his grandfather as Grand Duke of Baden. He and Grand Duchess Stephanie would have five children:


  1. ^ "Death of the Grand Duchess Stephanie of Baden". New York Times. February 16, 1860.
  2. ^ Fritz Trautz: Zum Problem der Persönlichkeitsdeutung: Anläßlich das Kaspar-Hauser-Buches von Jean Mistler, in: Francia 2, 1974, S. 723[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit

Stéphanie de Beauharnais
Born: 28 August 1789 Died: 29 January 1860
German royalty
Preceded byas Margravine of Baden Grand Duchess consort of Baden
10 June 1811 – 8 December 1818
Succeeded by