'The Empres Eugenie', 1892.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photographic portrait of Empres Eugenie Marie de Montijo (1826-1920), wife of Napoleon III (1808-1873), taken by W & D Downey. Brought up in Madrid, from 1834 Eugenie lived with her mother and sister in Paris, where she was educated in the convent of the Sacre Coeur. When Napoleon became president of the Republic in 1851, Eugenie made the acquaintance of her future husband at social events. Their marriage was celebrated at Notre Dame in January 1853. A strong woman, Eugenie acted three times as regent during the absence of her husband, and was generally consulted on important questions of state. She visited Queen Victoria with Napoleon, and from that time on the Queen and Eugenie were close friends. This photograph appears in 'The Cabinet Portrait Gallery' series of celebrity portraits and biographies published in the 1890s. The series includes royalty, actors, academics and authors.