Friday, December 2, 2011

Napoleon Bonaparte and Queen Louise of Prussia

The Treaty of Tilsit
Napoleon receives the Queen of Prussia at Tilsit, July 6, 1807.
The painting also shows King Frederick William III of Prussia and Tsar Alexander I of Russia.
(Painting by Jean Charles Tardieu)

Queen Louise accompanied her husband with the hope of helping him secure better terms for Prussia. Unfortunately, Napoleon proved to be adamant. In the course of this infamous and momentous meeting, the French emperor offered the beautiful queen a rose, which she took, and asked furtively, "With Magdeburg, Sire?" Napoleon sternly answered: "Madam, it is mine to give, yours to accept what I offer!" This rebuff proved to be the Queen's breaking point, for she was already by this time suffering from ill health and was so worn out with anxiety for her husband and the whole country. Her grief for her suffering people and her hapless country took its toll, and Queen Louise died before she could ever see Prussia's victory and the overthrow of Napoleon Bonaparte. Before she died, she was said to utter the words: "Were they to open my heart, they would find Magdeburg engraved upon it."


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