Louise Lannes, Duchess of Montebello (Régis de Crépy)

Here is a beautiful book written by Régis de Crépy which paints us the portrait of an unjustly overlooked personality of the Napoleonic period "Louise Lannes, Duchess of Montebello ". This is the first biography of the Maréchale.

More than the wife of a famous marshal of Napoleon

Louise, the daughter of an officer of the Maison du Roi, meets Lannes, who is more modest, but already general to Napoleon. After the marriage, she followed him on a diplomatic mission and from that moment never left him, met Joséphine de Beauharnais and remained in Napoleon's entourage even after the death of her husband. Becoming Lady of Honor to Marie Louise, she remained faithful to her beyond the fall of Napoleon.

For Louise, loyalty is essential. We see it when she refuses remarriages, when she fights for the project to rebuild the society desired by Napoleon (fusion of the elites, education and heritage conservation). Despite the difficulties, she remains lucid and objective throughout her life, her five children, whom she takes care of on her own, mainly in terms of their education, as well as the management and administration of several properties.

Louise embodies the women of the Empire: receiving the elite of the liberal world to become their Egeria, financially supporting the Globe adventure, rebuilding herself alone despite the Emperor's accusations. Louise and her life also served to rehabilitate the Marshal himself, because he was accused of anger and violent scenes, of being the enemy of the priests, of being very familiar with the First Consul and On him, also accused of organizing scandalous feasts and profiting from Napoleon's cash register…. Which is far from being the case. The couple is far from the legend: Lannes was not under the influence of his wife and Louise will not benefit from the Caisse de la Garde consulaire.

The sources are important: the normal and usual basic archives, but personal letters and unpublished correspondence have just been discovered, notably the letters of Marie Louise of Austria to the Marshal.
The precise history of the story and the way of telling it to us, thus offers us a very beautiful work of a woman.

Louise Lannes, Duchess of Montebello, of Régis de .Crépy. Editions de la Bisquine, 2017.

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