Désirée CLARY

Family tree of Désirée CLARY

Scandinavian politician

FrenchBorn Bernardine Eugénie Désirée CLARY

One-time fiancée of Napoleon Bonaparte, Queen of Sweden and Norway

Born on November 08, 1777 in Marseille, France , France

Died on December 17, 1860 in Stockholm, Sweden

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Désirée Clary was born in Marseille, France, the daughter of François Clary (Marseille, St. Ferreol, 24 February 1725 – Marseille, 20 January 1794), a wealthy silk manufacturer and merchant, and his second wife (m. 26 June 1759) Françoise Rose Somis (Marseille, St. Ferreol, 30 August 1737 – Paris, 28 January 1815). He had been previously married at Marseille, 13 April 1751 to Gabrielle Fléchon (1732 – 3 May 1758), without issue. Her sister, Julie Clary, married Joseph Bonaparte, and later became Queen of Naples and Spain. Her brother, Nicholas Joseph Clary, was created 1st Count Clary and married Anne Jeanne Rouyer, by whom he had Zénaïde Françoise Clary (Paris, 25 November 1812 – Paris, 27 April 1884), wife of Napoléon Berthier de Wagram, 2nd duc de Wagram (10 September 1810 – 10 February 1887), son of Marshal Berthier, and had issue.

Désirée received the convent schooling usually given to daughters of the upper classes in pre-revolutionary France, but, during the Revolution of 1789, convents were closed and Désirée returned to live with her parents. Her education was described as shallow. She was to be very devoted to her birth-family her entire life. In 1794, her father died. Her brother was arrested by the revolutionary government, and she was later to say that he was released by Joseph Bonaparte on her intervention, after which Joseph was presented to her family and married her sister. Désirée was presented to Napoleon Bonaparte, to whom she became engaged on 21 April 1795; but upon becoming involved with Joséphine de Beauharnais, whom he married on 9 March 1796, Bonaparte broke off his engagement with Désirée.


In 1795–1797, Désirée lived with her mother in Genoa in Italy. In 1797, she went to live with her sister Julie and her brother-in-law Joseph, who was the French ambassador to Rome. Her relationship with Julie was always to be very intense and deep. She was briefly expected to marry the French General Léonard Duphot, but he was killed in a riot in Rome in December 1797, on the eve of their marriage.

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Geographical origins

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