Pauline Bonaparte Borghese
Pauline Bonaparte was born into the most humble of beginnings in Corsica. Their family was large, boisterous, and very poor. Possessed with great beauty and spirit, she was a woman who reached out for life wherever and whenever she could find it. In the year 1793, when the French Revolution made Corsica unsafe, the Bonaparte family moved to France. Her brother, Napoleon, was young, ambitions, and had the highest of dreams.
As he rose through the military ranks and gained fame and wealth, he made sure to pull every member of his family out of the dregs of poverty with him. And Pauline was no exception.
When she was seventeen years old, Napoleon arranged for her to marry a fellow officer named Victor Emmanuel Leclerc.
She soon bore him a son who they named Dermide. When her husband was posted to the West Indies, she gladly followed him there. But life in the world was fraught with trouble. Life was not easy there and Victor suffered numerous military losses. He soon fell ill with yellow fever and died, leaving Pauline a very young widow. Pauline and her young son returned home with the body of her husband.
In the spring of 1803, Napoleon introduced her to Prince Camillo Borghese and they were married a year later.
With her young son, Pauline travelled to Rome where she and Camillo began their lives together in the beautiful Villa Borghese.
Camillo commissioned a statue of Pauline from the great sculptor Canova, the now-famous portrait of Pauline as the goddess Venus.
Their marriage, however, was not always happy, even though a deep love and strong physical attraction existed between them. When her son, Dermide died in childhood of fever, Pauline’s life fell into a slow painful decline and she and Camillo became estranged. Pauline lived in France (with a series of lovers) and Camillo remained in Italy taking a mistress of his own. It was a bitter separation, but one that still bore the fruits of their love.
The Princess of Nowhere is the beautifully told story of the life of one of the most passionate women of the 19th century. And who better to share the intimate details of her life than the direct descendant of Camillo Borghese, Prince Lorenzo Borghese. This easy to read tale unfolds with beautifully decorated pages at the start of each chapter. The story is told with understanding and tolerance in a non-judgmental way so that the reader is sympathetic towards both Pauline and Camillo while understanding the culture and social norms of the times. It is rich with detail and beautiful of voice – a novel worth lingering over, as full of passion as the woman it portrays.