Learn: Wikipedia entry for Duke of Reichstadt - Napoleon II of France
THE DUKE OF REICHSTADT.–”Remember that I would rather know my son to lie in the Seine than to be in the hands of the-enemies of France. The fate of Astyanax, captured by the Greeks, has always seemed to me the saddest in history.” (Napoleon to Joseph Bonaparte, March 16, 1814.) And yet this was precisely the fate of the great Emperor’s only son, nor did he even enjoy the privilege of living among the Greeks. Napoleon Francois Joseph Charles first saw the light on March 20, 1811, in the Tuileries; even in the cradle he received the title of King of Rome. In 1814 the unhappy child was living in the castle of Schonbrunn bearing the title of Prince of Parma; from 1818 onwards every effort was made to educate this sole legitimate heir to the French imperial throne as ” the chief private person under the monarchy, with the exception of the Archdukes”, and he was made Duke of Reichstadt. On July 22, 182 2, a merciful Providence saved this piteous victim of Metternich’s policy from an even more discordant fate than he had yet experienced in his short life. The Viennese sculptor Franz Klein, whom we have already met as the maker of Beethoven’s life mask, had received permission to take the death mask of Napoleon II. Four specimens are known to exist: one, which we reproduce here, in the Musee Carnavalet, a second in possession of Prince Victor Napoleon, a third in the Musee Lorrain at Nancy, and a fourth in the Municipal Museum of Baden, near Vienna. (Edouard Wertheimer: Der Her nog von Reichstadf, Stuttgart, 1912.) Photograph by Giraudon, Paris.
Black & White Photos and quotations from: Benkard, Ernst, & Green, Margaret (1927). Undying Faces, A Collection of Death Masks. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.