John Jolliffe

‘The only man in Paris’

Eugenia de Montijo was born in a tent, during an earthquake, in Granada in 1826. Her father, a Liberal minor grandee, had joined the French army, been wounded at Trafalgar, and welcomed the replacement of the Bourbons by the mediocre Joseph Bonaparte in 1808. Threatened by the Carlist wars, in 1833 he sent his wife and two daughters to Paris, where Eugénie, as she became, grew up in the world of Stendhal and Mérimée (both of whom became close family friends), Balzac and Chopin.

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