I have been concerned ever since I read it that Napoleon III might not be related to Napoleon I, but the recognized as illegitimate Duc de Morny was and should have been emperor. What about this?

Can you please write that again, this time as a legible sentence.

MadHatter, I think if you put hyphens before and after as (i.e., recognized-as-illegitimate) and a comma after was, the sentence becomes more understandable.

I understand the OP, but fail to see how it’s a cause of concern.

Maybe don’s full surname is Willard de Mornay and he wants his Empire back!

Ahh, Bach. That’s very significant.

I’m not sure what the question is asking, really, but you might try the Mailbag: Was there a Napoleon II?

The conventional view is that Napoleon III (b.1808) was the legitimate son of Louis Bonaparte (brother of Napoleon I) by his wife, Hortense de Beauharnais, whereas the duc de Mornay (b.1811) was the illegimate son of Hortense de Beauharnais by her lover, Flahaut de la Billarderie.

The idea that Napoleon III might not have been legitimate is just the sort of speculation which his political opponents would have encouraged. That his mother did give birth to an illegitimate son would have made this seem all the more plausible. It might even have been true. This however would still have left de Mornay without a valid hereditary claim, unless he could have proved that he was legitimate. Given his mother’s reputation, that might have been difficult. If they were both legitimate, Napoleon III would still have had the better claim.

One final point of detail - strictly speaking, Napoleon III’s claim to the throne rested on the vote of the French electorate in a referendum. What was important was not so much that Napoleon III was Napoleon I’s actual heir as that he was his political one.

No I don’t think I’m related, I’m just curious. I ran across a set of books called something like the–well it was the autobiography of Queen Hortense, whom I had not yet heard of. I looked through it a little enough to find out that she was trying to defend her reputation and had had a horrible life as queen. Then I got interested in the Second Empire of Napoleon III so I read about him, and how de Mornay may have been related to Napoleon I but not Napoleon III. APB’s answer is excellent. Now I want to know who was REBECCA
de Mornay, aside from being an irate community service employee in a Seinfeld episode, because I think Rebecca de Mornay is the name of a famous literary character. I know what happened to Napoleon II. I also read a biography or two about the Princess Mathilde, Napoleon III’s cousin, and since the Catholic Church forbids marriage between anybody closer than and including THIRD cousins, how come it was speculated at the time that Napoleon III might marry his Cousin Mathilde, who by the way was a 3X princess, being 1)born of the blood of Napoleon I, 2) I think is her mother was a queen, and 3) she married a prince. She was a sculptress and led an important Second Empire salon.