EEU 1Empress Eugenie: Born in Granada, Spain, Eugénie de Montijo was the last Empress Consort of the French between 1853 and 1871, and husband of Emperor Napoleon III. While their marriage was thought to be questionable due to it being a love match – not arranged for any diplomatic purpose – and she was treated with some contempt by her people, Eugénie proved to be a wise and fair consort, often acting as Regent in Napoleon’s absence. In fact, so enamoured was Napoleon of his wife that he presented her with a lavish wedding gift; the Blue Heart, or Empress Eugénie Diamond. Influencing the trends of fashion throughout Europe, she also proved to be a strong advocate for the papal temporal powers in Italy, which caused her much slander by the anti-clericals of France. After the battle of Sedan and the capture of her husband, Eugénie fled Paris and went into exile, where she lived out the rest of her days.

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