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Jerome Bonaparte


Jérôme-Napoléon Bonaparte, French Prince, King of Westphalia, 1st Prince of Montfort (15 November 1784 – 24 June 1860) was the youngest brother of Napoleon, who made him king of Westphalia (1807–1813).

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Jerome Bonaparte was King of Westphalia.

The youngest brother of Napoleon I, at an early age entered the French navy as a midshipman. In 1801 he was sent out on an expedition to the West Indies, but the vessel being chased by English cruisers, was obliged to put in to New York. During his sojourn in America Jerome Bonaparte became acquainted with Miss Elizabeth Patterson, the daughter of the president of the Bank of Baltimore, and though still a minor, married her in spite of the protests of the French consul on the 24th of December, 1803.
The emperor, his brother, whose ambitious views were thwarted by this marriage, after an ineffectual application to Pope Pius VII to have it dissolved, issued a decree declaring it to be null and void. After considerable services both in the army and navy, in 1807 he was created King of Westphalia, and married Catherine Sophia, princess of Wurtemberg. His government was not wise or prudent, and his extravagance and his brother's increasing exactions nearly brought the state to financial ruin.
The Battle of Leipzig put an end to Jerome's reign, and he was obliged to take flight to Paris. He remained faithful to his brother through all the events that followed until the final overthrow at the Battle of Waterloo. After that, under the title of the Comte de Montfort, he resided in different cities of Europe, but latterly chiefly at Florence. After the election of his nephew, Louis Napoleon, to the presidentship of the French Republic, in 1848, he became successively governor-general of Les Invalides, a marshal of France, and president of the senate.
From his union with Miss Patterson only one son proceeded, Jerome, who was brought up in America, and married a lady of that country, by whom he had a son, who served as an officer in the French army during the Crimean war. The offspring of this marriage was not, however, recognized as legitimate by the French tribunals. Of the three children that were born to Jerome Bonaparte from his second marriage one was Prince Napoleon Joseph, who assumed the name of Jerome, and was well known by the nickname 'Plon-Plon'. He died in 1891, having married Clotilde, daughter of King Victor Emmanuel of Italy. He had three children: Victor (born on the 18th of July, 1862), Louis, and Marie Letitia. The first of these, since the death of Nopoleon III's son, the Prince Imperial, was generally recognized by the Bonapartist party as the heir to the traditions of the dynasty. He had to leave France in 1886, a law being passed expelling pretenders to the French throne and their eldest sons.