The Emperor of the French (French: Empereur des Francais) is the title used by the reigning monarch of France, who is also the head of the House of Bonaparte. Napoleon Bonaparte was awarded the title by the
French Coat of Arms

Coat of arms of the emperor

French Senate in 1804, and he crowned himself emperor in Notre Dame later that year. The title is meant to emphasise that the emperor rules over the people of France, the French, as opposed to merely the land, France . It symbolizes the idea of a monarch for the people.

Official Grand Title

Napoleon I

When Napoleon I was emperor, he was simultaneously King of Italy amongst other things. His title was:

His Imperial and Royal Majesty Napoleon I, By the Grace of God and the Constitutions of the Republic Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, Mediator of the Swiss Confederation.

Napoleon II, Maximillian, Napoleon III, Napoleon IV

The Kingdom of Italy was entailed to Napoleon I's stepson, Eugene, and so the references to the kingdom were removed from the title. The attempts to veil the monarchy in "By the Constitutions of the Republic" also disappeared. The new title was:

His Imperial Majesty [name], By the Grace of God and the will of the Nation, Emperor of the French, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, and Mediator of the Swiss Confederation.

Napoleon V, VI, and VII

Napoleon V was a descendant of Jerome, brother of Napoleon I, and King of Westphalia. As a result, when he inherited emperorship, Napleon V was also king of Westphalia, which was included into the new title. At the behest of the German and Swiss governments, the titles of protector and mediator were dropped, and replaced with Head of the Council of Europe, thus:

His Imperial and Royal Majesty [name], By the Grace of God and the will of the Nation, Emperor of the French, King of Westphalia, Head of the Council of Europe.

Unfortunately for historians, the addition of the kingship meant that the number of French monarchs named Napoleon was not equal to the number of Westphalian monarchs named Napoleon. Therefore Napoleon V was officially Napoleon V&II. Outside Westphalia however, the emperor-king is usually only referred to by their French number.

List of Emperors

Name Portrait Life Reign Marriages Succession right Cognomen
Napoleon portrait Napoleon I 1769-1833 2nd December, 1804-1833 Josephine

1796-1809 Marie-Louise 1809-1833

The Great
Napoleon II., Herzog von Reichstadt Napoleon II 1811-1851 1833-1851 Sophie of Bavaria Son of Napoleon I The Peacemaker
Maximillian Maximillian 1832-1867 1851-1852 Charlotte of Hapsburg Son of Napoleon II The Weakling
Napoleon III 1844-1868 Napoleon III 1808-1873 2nd December 1852-9th January 1873 Second cousin of Maximillian

Nephew of Napoleon I

The Usurper
Napoleon IV Napoleon IV 1856-1880 9th January 1873-1880 unmarried Son of Napoleon III The Beloved
Victor Napoleon Napoleon V 1862-1926 1880-3rd May, 1926 Second cousin of Napoleon IV The Good
Louis Prince Napoleon Napoleon VI 1914-1997 3rd May, 1926-3rd May, 1997 Son of Napoleon V The Unlucky
Charles Napoleon Napoleon VII 1950-present 3rd May, 1997-present Son of Napoleon VI none

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