Apologies for the infrequent updates lately; I’ve been working on a side project involving Caroline Murat’s 1810 letters to her husband, which may or may not turn into something bigger down the line. So here is one of those letters, written in the middle of Caroline’s very long absence from Naples that lasted roughly nine months, from late 1809 through the beginning of August 1810. At the time of this letter, Caroline was in Paris, awaiting the return of Napoleon, who was traveling around Europe with his new bride, Marie-Louise. Caroline’s health had prevented her from joining her brother’s travels; like her sister Pauline, her health was very unstable in general; additionally, she had become pregnant during her brief reunion with Joachim in Paris when he came for the Emperor’s wedding. She longed to return to Naples, but like every member of the Imperial family, Caroline required Napoleon’s permission to take her leave from Paris. Meanwhile, Murat was in Naples preparing for his expedition against Sicily. Caroline expresses her anxiety but also tells him of a pleasant visit to Neuilly, where she had lived with Joachim in the early 1800s during his governorship of Paris; the chateau, which the Murats had been required to forfeit along with the rest of their French property when accepting the crown of Naples, was now in the possession of her sister Pauline.
Source: Lettres et documents pour servir à l’histoire de Joachim Murat, Vol 8
Queen Caroline to her husband
Paris, 11 May 1810
My dear friend, I am always so impatient to receive your letters and as long as I do not know exactly what you plan to do, I will be worried. It is very sad to be such a great distance away from people one loves. I assure you that all the memories are mixtures of sorrow. What are they doing? How are they? This is the habitual thinking. I see you taking your walks on the long terrace, writing with your ministers or bringing our dear children with you and speaking at each instant of their mama. Write me if I guess correctly and if you return all my memories.
My dear friend, this latest separation seems more unbearable for me than the others. You were so good, so perfect to me in your last moments, that those proceedings touched me to tears and still penetrate me with tenderness. I confess to you that when you do justice to all my feelings for you, I am the happiest of women. Believe that my happiness, the happiness of my whole life, consists only of the happiness of the father of my children, of the one that I regard as my best friend.
You see that the Emperor is still traveling, which makes us very sad in Paris. Last night, I had again spent the evening at Paulette’s, it was a superb time; this beautiful evening, this Neuilly, this river, had again strongly recalled to me my poor children; I believed I would see them running on this great road that led them to Villiers. How fast is thought, and how much it recalls to you the object of your affections, despite the distance, despite everything.
I ask at each instant if the dispatch rider has arrived, because truly I am very anxious at not receiving your news; happily I know from M. Baudus that you are well and you are happy with the children, but that does not suffice for me, and it is from you alone and by you that I want to be reassured about your health.
Farewell, my dear friend, my health is still in the same state. Kiss our children for me and tell them you give them kisses on my behalf. Farewell again, I kiss you.