15 Dec: Napoleon’s Second Funeral

Rerun. Napoleon was buried in an unmarked grave in St. Helena. But, 19 years later, on 15th December, 1840, he got buried again: this time at Les Invalides, Paris.


It was an ornate state occasion, involving multiple caskets, 500 sailors, 14 semi-naked female statues… and a lot of lardy cakes. 


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal what Napoleon’s cadaver looked like; explain why a previous petition to relocate his remains had failed; and discover an unexpectedly culinary description of the day from The Sunday Times… 


Further Reading:

• ‘Bring Him Home: How Napoleon Bonaparte’s delayed funeral came to be’ (Lapham’s Quarterly, 2020): https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/bring-him-home

• ‘Napoleon’s legacy: ashes, tombs and DNA’ (National Geographic, 2010): https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/napoleons-legacy

• ‘Secrets of Les Invalides: Home to war veterans and Napoleon’ (France 24, 2016):

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