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The first summer issue of Stéphane Bern's show "History secrets"is devoted this evening to one of the most unknown of French sovereigns: theEmpress Eugenie. Born in Spain to a Spanish father and an American mother, Eugenia María de Montijo de Guzmán was raised in Paris at the Convent of the Sacred Heart. Married to Napoleon III in 1853, she played an important role in the politics of the Second Empire, the emperor consulting her frequently.
Thus, Empress Eugenie supported the unfortunate expedition intended to place Maximilian of Austria on the throne of Mexico. A fervent Catholic, she opposed the reduction of the pope's temporal power, supporting the ultramontane party. Hostile to the establishment of a democratic constitution in France and the liberation of Italy, she also encouraged her husband to declare war on Germany in 1870. This Franco-German war (1870-1871) was to provoke the he collapse of the Second Empire, after the capitulation of Sedan on September 4, 1870. Driven from French territory by the Third Republic, Eugenie took refuge in England, where she was joined by the deposed emperor.
At the dawn of her life, Eugenie felt unloved and well ignored by the French whom she loved so much, she the patriot. Secrets d'histoire intends to repair this gap, with the participation of historian Jean des Cars, author of the book Eugenie, the last empress (Ed. Perrin). it will also be an opportunity to visit the castles and residences which marked the life of the Empress, from St Cloud to Compiègne via Biarritz and Cap Martin.
Secrets of history: Eugenie, the last empress. Wednesday August 4 at 8:35 pm on France 2. Replay on August 9 at 2:45 am.