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 Jerome Bonaparte
  The two met when Jerome was visiting the United States after participating in the French expedition
to Santo Domingo. She was a belle of Baltimore,
the daughter of a wealthy merchant and former
gun smuggler William Patterson (1752-1835) who had been born in Ireland like Haslett. She was well- known for her intelligence and wit in addition to her charm and beauty, and the young Bonaparte fell
for her quickly. Their engagement and subsequent marriage on Christmas Eve in 1803 created alarm and opposition in the respective families on both sides of the Atlantic and concerns of an American alliance with Napoleonic France. Her dress alone for the ceremony was cause enough for scandal and was said to be able to fit into a gentleman’s pocket. They honeymooned in Washington, D.C., and also toured the American Northeast. They received support from his brothers Lucien and Joseph; however, Napoleon soon declared his youngest brother’s marriage null under French law requiring parental consent to marry under the age of 25, cut off his funds, and ordered him as an officer of the French Navy to return to France without Elizabeth. Thomas Jefferson explained to Napoleon via Minister to France Robert R. Livingston that the president
had no power to prevent marriages but also assured Napoleon that his brother had married into a family of the highest station in the United States.
When they traveled to Europe together on her
father’s ship in 1805 as husband and wife despite the declarations to the contrary, Napoleon ensured they were separated and prevented her from entering France and also excluded Jerome from the imperial line of succession and attempted, unsuccessfully, to have the marriage annulled by the Pope, emphasizing that Elizabeth was a Protestant. Instead, Napoleon as emperor annulled the marriage himself. He refused to meet with Jerome to discuss the matter and instead instructed his brother to write to him. Napoleon wrote,
“Your marriage is null. I will never acknowledge it” and instructed him to tell Elizabeth to return to the United States and offered her a pension if she did so and gave up the name of Bonaparte “to which she has no right, her marriage having no existence.”The couple remained separated, but Jerome continued to write to his wife professing his love. Their son Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte (1805-1870), known as Bo,
was born in London as she refused to sail home and concede to Napoleon.
Several other members of the Bonaparte family arranged political marriages to secure power in Europe, and Jerome ultimately gave in to his powerful older brother. Napoleon soon arranged to have his brother wed to Princess Katharina of Wurttemberg
in 1807, and he became King of Westphalia until
1813. As king, he continued to be a thorn in the side
of his older brother due to his lavish spending and pompous lifestyle. He also led troops in Napoleon’s Grand Armee. The kingdom fell in 1813 forcing him
to flee to France and the United States. He supported his brother during the ill-fated Hundred Days and was later granted the title Prince of Montfort by his father- in-law in 1816. Jerome’s influence continued on after his brother’s death in exile, and he was president of the Senate during the Second French Republic and the reign of his nephew Napoleon III.
Elizabeth lobbied for their son’s rights as a Bonaparte and ultimately received a pension until Napoleon’s exile in 1814. She retained her married name but finalized a divorce in the U.S. in 1815 after Napoleon’s downfall. She never remarried and became a very independent woman traveling back and forth
from Baltimore and various points in Europe and accumulated an estate worth $1.5 million in part via investments in real estate and finery.

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