Room IV - The King of Rome
This small room, dedicated to the son of Napoleon and Maria Luisa of Austria, was opened in 1934, following the acquisitions of a collection of relics and autographs connected to Anton Prokesch-Osten, tutor and friend of the young Bonaparte. The room and the objects in it, retain an intimate character, which reflects the short and somewhat hidden existence of Napoleon’s son. At his birth he was given the title King of Rome, a city he never in fact reigned over. He was forced to leave Paris in 1815, grew up at the court of Vienna, and was entrusted to various institutions, while his mother was busy governing the Duchies of Parma and Guastalla. He died when he was only 21, on the 22nd July 1832, under the title of the Duke of Reichstadt.
A group of allegorical drawings by Bartolomeo Pinelli and Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, hung on the right wall of the room, celebrate the birth of the King of Rome, while, on the left wall, a large watercolour shows a table centrepiece planned for the marriage of Napoleon and Maria Luisa.
In one of the cases a card game known as Jeu de l’Hombre because of its Spanish origin, is displayed. It is particularly precious because the pieces are of fine Chinese manufacture, made of mother of pearl. The game was given to Napoleon when he was in exile on St Helen’s, by the English nobleman Mountstuart Elphinstone, and it should have been inherited by his son, however his premature death left it in Prokesch’s hands.