Napoleon III, Emperor of France, c 1860s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Carte de visite photograph by the Sterescopic Company, London. Napoleon III (1808-1873) asumed the title of Emperor of France in 1852, and the following year married the Spanish countes Eugenie de Montijo (1826-1920). Eugenie gave birth to Napoleon Eugene Louis Jean Joseph, the Prince Imperial, in 1856. Napoleon gave his country two decades of prosperity under a stable authoritarian government with the active support of his wife, who influenced his foreign policy. His empire ended in defeat in the Franco-Prusian war of 1871. The subsequent revolt in Paris forced the family to flee to England, where Napoleon died in 1873 after surgery to remove a gall stone. His son, the Prince Imperial, died in the Zulu war of 1879.