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Wondrous Beauty:The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte

Carol Berkin

Betsy Patterson, the belle of Baltimore society, caused a stir on both sides of the Atlantic when she married Napoleon Bonaparte's younger brother. Her family objected, but her brother-in-law carried the weight which ultimately doomed the couple when he forbade her entrance into any European port. Finding a new home in England, Betsy gave birth to the couple's child and then enjoyed the intellectual freedom of salons and parties, all the while carefully investing and amassing a great deal of wealth. She fought the courts and government for her son and his heirs to be granted their rightful place in French society, but died without success.