Queen of Sweden and Norway. Swedish name in full: Eugenia Bernhardina Desideria. Born in Marseilles, she was the daughter of wealthy silk merchant François Clary and his wife Françoise Rose Somis. Sometime in the 1790's, Désirée met poor young soldiers Joseph and Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon courted her, and the two became engaged in 1794. Her sister Julie later married Joseph Bonaparte. Désirée's parents objected to the match, and Napoleon needed more money and social standing to aid his grand aspirations than she would bring to the marriage. The engagement was broken in 1796, and Napoleon immediately married Josephine de Beauharnais. Désirée married Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's most trusted marshals, on August 17, 1798 at Sceaux. In 1810, her husband was elected Crown Prince of Sweden and adopted by the childless King Carl (Charles) XIII. After he led military campaigns against Norway, the throne of that country became his adopted father's in 1814. He was crowned King Carl XIV John in 1818. The Queen never acclimated well to the Swedish traditions, language, or climate, and spent long periods of time in Paris, away from her husband and only child, Oscar. She returned to Sweden in 1823, and was crowned as Queen Desideria in 1829. She was widowed in 1844, and her son, King Oscar I, died in 1859. She passed away in Stockholm following a night at the opera at the age of 83.
Bio by: Kristen Conrad