In the heart of the Rocher Gardens, dominating a bed of red and white flowers, the Empress Eugenie made her appearance with great pomp. This Second Empire figure wears a crown with a lace train, pearl necklaces and a pendant in the shape of a Latin cross.
His face, three-quarters left, has his gaze riveted on Cap-Martin. It was there, in 1891, that the widow of Emperor Napoleon III acquired land, built the Villa Cyrnos and became a friend and neighbor of the Principality of Monaco.
The reproduction of the bust of the Empress of the French, unveiled this Saturday morning by Princes Albert II and Jean-Christophe Napoléon (1), looks like the original, formerly sculpted by Georges Diebolt, to whom we owes the authorship of Zouave stone from the Pont de l’Alma in Paris.
“Two figures of
their time ”
Postponed several times last year, due to the health crisis, the commemoration of the centenary of the disappearance of Empress Eugenie (1920-2020) was finally held. A few months before that of Prince Albert-I (1922-2022). “Two figures of their time who had a certain affection for each other, despite their generational difference“, confided, this Saturday, prince Albert II in a speech full of historical anecdotes.
Twenty-two springs separated them. As soon as the Empress settled in Roquebrune, the former territory of the Principality, not a year goes by without the great-grandfather of the current Monegasque sovereign visiting him in his haven of flowers and greenery.
“They shared a lot, were driven by an avant-garde spirit and had this taste for technological progress”, summarizes Prince Jean-Christophe Napoleon. Especially for wireless telegraphy, which the Empress Eugenie loved. The two also experimented with the process aboard Albert-I’s yacht, Princess-Alice.
But also for aeronautics booming in Monaco at the beginning of the 20th century. “In January 1902, it was to show her interest in the Santos-Dumont airship that the Empress left her retirement and went to Monaco to meet him, in front of the photographers’ lens” , continues Prince Albert II.
before the hour”
A woman of exceptional longevity for the time – 94 years! – to whom Prince Jean-Christophe Napoleon was dithyrambic.
“I remember her: a very great piety and dignity, a great courage in the face of adversity, in particular in the face of exile and then the double mourning of her husband Napoleon III and her only son, the Prince Imperial. through eras, regimes and wars. Until her last day, she had a great interest in world affairs. She possessed a certain political influence with her husband. Finally, she was a feminist before her time and passionate about the arts and literature. “
It was she, in fact, who defended The evil flowers by Charles Baudelaire and Madame Bovaryby Gustave Flaubert.