A marriage of separations

One of the many Murat-related side-projects I’ve been meaning to get to for a while now, has been to put together a decent estimate of how much time Joachim & Caroline Murat spent apart, for one reason or another, during their fifteen years of marriage. I finally made myself sit down and do the work, and it was honestly pretty eye-opening. Using four different biographies, I was able to find pretty exact dates from when one or the other left for a long period of time–whether one of the numerous military campaigns in which Murat participated, one of Caroline’s extended stays in Paris during their reign in Naples, or any other reason they were apart for more than a week or so at a time. 

I wouldn’t go so far as to try to break this all the way down to the exact number of days or even weeks they spent apart; I was aiming for an idea of roughly how many years and months. I knew it would be years; but I have to admit I was shocked by the final number I came up with. 

I calculate that Joachim & Caroline Murat spent approximately 83.5 months apart–or just shy of seven full years–out of a marriage totaling about 15 years and 10 months. 

Here’s a chart I made, to give their separations a visual representation: the purple blocks are the rough delineations of the times the couple were apart.

Here is the full list I came up with of their extended absences:

mid-April 1800 – 1 July 1800 (Murat goes to Dijon to take command of the cavalry of the Army of Reserve; Caroline remains in Paris) – ~2 1/2 months

early August – late October 1800 (Murat in charge of organizing/training division of grenadiers/light infantry at camp near Beauvais; Caroline remains in Paris) – ~3 months

23 November 1800 – 6 May 1801 (Murat to Dijon to command Army of Observation; Caroline remains in Paris) – ~5 months

early October 1801 – 4 January 1802 (Caroline returns to Paris while Murat remains in Milan) – ~3 months

early February 1802 – June 1802 (Murat back in Milan while Caroline remains in Paris) – ~4 months

July – August 1803 (Caroline returns to Paris from Milan; Murat joins her a month later)- ~1 month

25 August – late December 1805 (1805 campaign) – ~4 months

9 March – late April 1806 (Murat to Germany to oversee his new Grand Duchy of Berg; Caroline remains in Paris) – ~1 1/2 months

25 July 1806 – mid-July 1807 (Murat back to Dusseldorf and then participating in 1806/1807 campaigns) – ~1 year

late February – 3 July 1808 (Murat sent to take command of French forces in Spain) – ~4 months

mid July – 5 August 1808 (Murat takes the waters & stays for a bit w/ Lannes) – ~1/2 month

21 August – 25 September 1808 (Murat departs for Naples two weeks before Caroline; they reunite on the 25th) – ~1 month

20 November – 4 December 1809 (Murat goes to Paris; Caroline eventually joins him there) –~1/2 month

30 January – 27 March 1810 (Murat returns to Naples while Caroline remains in Paris) – ~2 months

18 April – 3 October 1810 (Caroline remains in Paris after Napoleon’s wedding, returning to Naples while Murat is gone on his Sicilian campaign) –~5 1/2 months

26 March – 30 May 1811 (Murat goes to Paris when Napoleon’s son is born; Caroline stays in Naples) –~2 months

17 September 1811 – 31 January 1813 (Caroline goes to Paris for an extended stay; Murat remains in Naples; they reunite for one week–5-12 May–before Murat departs for the 1812 campaign) –~17 months

12-29 April 1813 (Murat travels through his southern provinces) –~1/2 month

2 August – 4 November 1813 (1813 campaign) –~3 months

23 January – 2 May 1814 (Murat commands his troops in Bologna; Caroline serves as regent in Naples) –~3 1/2 months

17 March – 15 October 1815 (Murat’s final campaign; he returns to Naples in defeat and takes his final departure from Caroline around 9:00 PM on 19 May 1815; he is killed on 15 October.) –~8 months

The biographies I used to pull all of the dates referenced above:

-A. Hilliard Atteridge, Joachim Murat: Marshal of France and King of Naples, 1912

-Florence de Baudus, Caroline Bonaparte: Soeur d’empereur, reine de Naples, 2014

-Joan Bear, Caroline Murat, 1972

-Hubert Cole, The Betrayers, 1972


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