Anna of France

Anna was born in 1795 in St Petersburg, Russia. She had been earmarked as bride to be of Louis Napoleon of Holland (Future Napoleon III) however when in 1823 empress Josephine of France died, Tsar Constantine put her forward as a candidate for marriage to Emperor Napoleon.

She only met Napoleon on the day of their marriage ceremony (June 10, 1823) and her subsequent coronation as empress.

Her relations with her husband were always cordial but never really romantic, she had sexual relations with him so rarely that she refused to bare him a child. Napoleon considered divorcing her but was disuaded by his ministers. Her marriage to the emperor greatly strengthened the relationship between France and Russia.

Anna was an arrogant person, who took great pride in the pomp and power she possesed. As the aging emperor's health got worse during the health scare of 1826 she took on more responsibility, signing for him on many official papers.

However, she was unpopular with the people, compared to Josephine. She didn't take on any great building projects, but nor did she spend her time as a subdued woman. She had numerous affairs with members of the court but, as famously quoted from a private conversation she had with Talleyrand, "I do not do it with men who do not possess titles".

She was detested more and more as the emperor got weaker, and in 1832 when the emperor was nearing the end she was removed from court, and sent to stay at Malmaison. Anna regularly stated she didn't like the place as it was "Her [Josephine's] Palace", this may have been a deliberate posting by Napoleon. However, Anna did return to Napoleon on January 5th and remained at his side until his death on the 7th.

She attended the emperors funeral and then vanished almost completely from public life, until 1835 when she was invited by the emperor's mother to attend her stepson, the new emperor. Anna remained with Napoleon II until his death in 1837 but her health was declining, she had been spending more time in her native Russia and the constant travelling had exhausted her. Finally in May 1839 her health succumbed and she died in her imperial sloop whilst returning from another trip to Russia.

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