|The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries by Jacques-Louis David, 1812|
In 1814, Napoleon's empire lay in tatters. the War of the Sixth Coalition had ended in his defeat and now, under the terms of the Treaty of Fontainbleu, the former Emperor's rule of France was over and he was bound for exile. Napoleon left France on 20th April 1814 for his new home of Elba. Here he would be Emperor to just 12,000 inhabitants of the small island in the Mediterranean, its shoreline under regular patrol from the British.
|The journey of a modern hero, to the island of Elba, 1814|
He arrived on Elba on 4th May and, perhaps surprisingly, declared himself at peace with these new surroundings. Here he would live under the watchful eye of guards in relative peace, apparently quite content in his new, drastically reduced role. He instituted government reforms that improved life for the islanders and to all intents and purposes, appeared to have found something approaching satisfaction, even if it was a far cry from the successes he had known.
|Napoleon Leaving Elba by Joseph Beaume, 1836|
In reality, his true ambitions were to be far, far away from Elba and to this end, Napoleon had no intention of remaining in exile. Just three hundred days after he set foot on Elba, Napoleon stole away from the island headed, once more, to France.
Life in the Georgian Court, true tales of 18th century royalty, is available at the links below.
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