Napoleon Bonaparte was emperor of France, an all-conquering hero to the French at the start of the nineteenth century. But one little known fact is the way in which he lost his virginity. It appears to have happened in a notoriously seedy area of Paris with the misleadingly grand title of – the Palais Royal.
A seedy encounter leads to his loss of virginity
Napoleon was 18 at the time and clearly a little anxious about his continuing virginity. After a night at the opera, the young future emperor was wandering through the Palais Royal when he spotted a prostitute.
I looked at her; she stopped, not with the impudent air common to her class, but with a manner that was quite in harmony with the charm of her appearance. This struck me. Her timidity encouraged me, and I spoke to her.
With the typical nervousness of a virgin, Napoleon interrogated the woman about her occupation and how she felt about it until – probably a bit exasperated – the prostitute suggested that they get down to business.
I describe this encounter in a recent episode of Private Lives – a documentary series made by Like A Shot productions and airing on UKTV in the UK and other channels around the world. You can watch the relevant clip below.
In 2019, I appeared in every episode of Private Lives broadcast on UKTV’s Yesterday channel in the UKTV and other channels around the world such as the Smithsonian. Historical subjects included Napoleon and Hitler.
Presented by Tracy Borman, curator of the Royal Palaces in England. I covered the private lives of six fascinating historical characters:
Princess Margaret – the late sister of the present Queen Elizabeth II. Margaret never stuck to the rules and caused constant scandal during her life. She’s featured in the Netflix series The Crown
Edward VIII – the king of England who gave up his throne to marry an American commoner and divorcee Wallis Simpson. The British Empire was rocked by Edward’s decision but what really lay behind it?
Napoleon – the diminutive French emperor who conquered most of Europe but was destroyed in his attempt to take Russia. His passionate affairs, tempestuous marriage and crushing defeat by the English exposed
Hitler – you’d think there was nothing left to say about Hitler but we delve into his fascination for teenage girls, frustrated artistic ambitions and the corrupt ambition that brought him down
Al Capone – the gangster known as Scarface terrorised Chicago but also had a great many admirers. The establishment seemed powerless to act as this street punk made vast profits from racketeering but eventually they got him on tax evasion
Peter the Great – the mightiest tsar that ever ruled Russia. A very odd character who loved dwarves, heavy drinking and women. His parties were notorious. His cruelty, even to close family, was highly disturbing.
Happy viewing – and hope you learn more about Napoleon and Hitler!!