Joseph Fesch, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Date of Death


Joseph Fesch

French cardinal, diplomat, art collector and Prince of France

Date of Birth: 03-Jan-1763

Place of Birth: Ajaccio, Corsica, France

Date of Death: 13-May-1839

Profession: politician, diplomat, Catholic priest, art collector

Nationality: France

Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

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About Joseph Fesch

  • Joseph Fesch, Prince of France (3 January 1763 – 13 May 1839) was a French cardinal and diplomat, Prince of France and a member of the Imperial House of the First French Empire, Peer of France, Roman Prince, and the half-uncle of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • He was also one of the most famous art collectors of his period, remembered for having established the MusĂ©e Fesch in Ajaccio, which remains one of the most important Napoleonic collections of art. Born in Corsica, he was the son of Swiss-born Franz Faesch and Angela Maria Pietrasanta, and belonged on his father's side to the Faesch family, one of the most prominent patrician families of Basel, which had been ennobled in the Holy Roman Empire in 1562.
  • Like other of Napoleon's family members, he rose to great prominence in France following Napoleon's coup d'Ă©tat of 1799.
  • Fesch became Archbishop of Lyon in 1802, was named a Cardinal in 1803, became French Ambassador to Rome in 1804, became a French senator and count in 1805, became Grand Almoner of France in 1805, obtained the rank of a sovereign prince in 1806, was named a Prince of France in 1807 (a dignity he shared only with Napoleon's siblings, brother-in-law Joachim Murat and adopted son Eugène de Beauharnais), became a Peer of France in 1815 and was named a Prince of the Papal States by the Pope.
  • He was a member of the Imperial House as well as of the order of succession to the French imperial throne in accordance with the French constitution of 1804 (Title III, Article 9, "The Imperial Family"). He was Napoleon's most important diplomat in regard to Pope Pius VII, but Napoleon's relationship with his uncle deteriorated as his relationship with the Pope soured.
  • Nevertheless, Napoleon remained loyal to his uncle.
  • Fesch wed his nephew to JosĂ©phine de Beauharnais in Paris in 1804, the day before Bonaparte was crowned as Emperor of the French, and in 1810 he wed Napoleon to Marie Louise of Austria. After the end of the French Empire, he relocated to Rome with his half-sister Laetitia Bonaparte and took up residence at the Palazzo Falconieri, dedicating himself to art and to beneficence.
  • Like the rest of the Imperial House, he was banished from France from 1815.

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