Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, or my new favorite lady of the Early Republic

If you hear about Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte at all, it tends to be as a tragic footnote to Napoleon's rule. She married Napoleon's youngest brother, Jerome in 1803. They sailed for Europe not long after, and Jerome left a pregnant Elizabeth in Lisbon to try to calm a furious Napoleon. Instead, Napoleon banished Elizabeth from the French Empire and married Jerome off to a German princess before the couple's official divorce even came through. The wiki version of the story ends with a dejected, rejected Elizabeth returning to the U.S. to raise her young son.

She did go back to the U.S., but not in disgrace. America was fascinated by the almost-royal Elizabeth, who went to every party she was invited to dripping in jewels and clad in sheer French gowns. Before she was done, she would wrangle the promise of a title out of Napoleon, reject at least six more marriage proposals (many from titled men), and very nearly cause a constitutional crisis. 

Listen to the whole story here -- part of our episode on Americans and royalty, and one my absolute favorite stories to work on in a long time.

Source: https://soundcloud.com/backstory/drama-que...