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3. Napoleon: The Lover

Dan Snow's History Hit

22-11-2023 • 46 mins

CONTENT WARNING: This episode contains discussions about sex which may not be suitable for children.


Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the few commanders in history to be known for his capacity as a fierce fighter and a passionate lover. His romance with Joséphine de Beauharnais is one of the greatest in history and we know the intimate details about it because of the hundreds of passionate letters he sent to her over the years, some more explicit than others...


In episode 3 of Dan's Napoleon series, he's joined by sex historian and host of Betwixt the Sheets podcast Dr Kate Lister to explore another side of the French commander- his complex attitude towards sex, his obsession with Josephine and the way their relationship coloured his emotional life.


Meanwhile, Josephine was an incredible figure in her own right; she was a courtesan to rich men - glamorous and intelligent with an elegant figure and magnetic aura. When she met Napoleon in 1795, she was older than him and having had a number of strategic affairs with influential political figures, clever in her means of securing a stable life for her two children.


Ridley Scott's 'Napoleon' is in cinemas on November 22nd.


Produced by Mariana Des Forges, Charlotte Long and edited by Dougal Patmore.


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