Thursday, 24 June 2010

British Admirers of Napoleon

Have been reading Michel Martineau's latest blog. He has taken up one of the major themes I have pursued on these pages.

He quotes an article from the Magazie Marianne in 1999 which discussed the surprising interest in Napoleon in Britain and its former Empire.

The magazine contrasted this with the relative lack of interest in the victors of Waterloo: Wellington and Blucher.

There are many pubs in England named after Wellington, although he is I think less well known than Nelson, and was hated by a section of the country in his own lifetime.

For those who can stand back and put aside national prejudice, there really is no contest. Napoleon and Wellington were not on the same level.

Napoleon overshadowed all his contemporaries. I don't think there is anything else that needs to be said on the matter, although that does not prevent the British press and many historians from continually presenting a very biased view of him.

The article also mentions a number of non-British admirers of Napolon: Bill Gates, Newt Gingrich, Stanley Kubrick and General Pinochet. That list, particularly the last name, leaves me for once somewhat lost for words - except to say that I believe Mrs Thatcher quite liked him - Pinochet that is!

The picture of the then Queen and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret visiting Longwood in 1947 is reproduced with Michel's permission. I have referred to that visit and to the Royal family's criticism of the poor state of Longwood in previous postings.

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