Eugénie (yōjēˈnē, Fr. özhānēˈ) [key], 1826–1920, empress of the French (1853–70), consort of Napoleon III. Born in Spain, she was christened Eugenia María de Montijo de Guzmán and was the daughter of the Spanish conde de Teba and of a woman of Scottish descent. Exceptionally beautiful and charming, she was presented (1851) to Prince Louis Napoleon, who fell in love with her and married her in 1853. She took an active part in the politics of the Second Empire, acting as regent when Napoleon was at war. In 1870 she strongly supported the measures that led to war with Prussia (see Franco-Prussian War). Deposed (Sept., 1870) after Napoleon's capture at Sedan, she fled to England, and with the death (1879) of her only child, the prince imperial, she retired to Farnborough, Hampshire, where she and her husband and son are buried. In later life she made numerous trips abroad.
See biographies by M. Paléologue (tr. 1928), R. E. Sencourt (1931), R. Wellman (1941), and H. Kurtz (1964); N. N. Barker, Distaff Diplomacy (1967).
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