EUGÉNIE, de Montijo, Impératrice (1826-1920)

Autograph letter signed « Eugénie » on mourning paper to Jane Thorne
Chislehurst, [9 February 1873], 4 p. in-8, envelope included

“I can no longer look back, I dare not look forward, my horizon is lost in this painful present”

EUR 3.500,-
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EUGÉNIE, de Montijo, Impératrice (1826-1920)

Autograph letter signed « Eugénie » on mourning paper to Jane Thorne
Chislehurst, [9 February 1873], 4 p. in-8, envelope included
Some traces of trombone without affecting the text

Exceptional letter from Empress Eugenie, widowed for a month, filled with nostalgia and despair, delivering a poignant message about the loss of the Emperor Napoleon III
The Empress does not know that at the very moment she wrote these lines her dear Jane, the recipient of this letter, had died two days earlier


« Ma bien chère Jane, il y a juste un mois l’Empereur nous quittait pour toujours ici-bas, Dieu a délivré cette âme si cruellement éprouvée mais en partant il a délivré mon cœur. Cette maison déjà si triste est désolée car c’était pour le distraire que nous tachions de faire du bruit autour de lui, à présent tout est silence et deuil. Il n’a pas su que son fidèle Varaigne l’avait précédé de quelques jours, nous lui avons caché sa mort car je savais combien il avait de l’affection pour lui. Chaque jour effeuille un ami et le souvenir même des jours heureux se perd dans le deuil et le malheur. Je ne peux plus regarder en arrière, je n’ose regarder en avant, mon horizon se perd dans ce présent si douloureux. Mon cher fils [Le Prince Impérial] est bien malheureux aussi, tous deux vous serrons la main à vous et aux vôtres, Eugénie »


On January 9, 1873, at 10:45 a.m., Napoleon III died at the age of 64 at his residence in Camden Place. Nearly 60,000 people, one-tenth of them French, including a delegation of workers led by Jules Amigues, gathered in front of the body and participated in the burial on 15 January 1873 in Chislehurst. Subsequently, his widow Eugenie de Montijo built a mausoleum for him at St. Michael’s Abbey, which she had founded in 1881, and where he has since been resting alongside his wife and their only son, Imperial Prince Louis-Napoleon, who was killed at the age of 23 during a patrol during the Anglo-Zulu War.

Jane Thorne (1821-1873) is an aristocrat, lady of the Palace of Empress Eugenie de Montijo. She is one of the ladies of honor depicted with Eugenie in Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s famous painting.