Anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Death

Longwood Reception Room Where Napoleon Died 

On May 5, 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte died in this room in exile on St Helena Island.

Two years ago, on May 5, 2011, I was in Cape Town, South Africa, on my way to St Helena to do research for my novel.

Margaret at Groot Constantia May 5, 2011 Toasting the EmperorTo commemorate the anniversary of the Emperor’s death, my husband and I visited Groot Constantia, the still-operational vineyard that supplied the Emperor’s wine during his exile. This evening we’ll drink a toast with some of his favorite Grand Constance wine that we brought back to the United States with us.

The Emperor has been dead for 192 years, yet he has been a constant companion to me as I write my novel from his point of view. So, today, a part of me mourns his death while another part of me says Come on. Really?

If you’re not a writer, if you don’t cry over sad books, if you’re not a Napoleon enthusiast, that may sound odd to you. Chalk it up to the wonders of human imagination.


  • May 6, 2013 - 5:01 am | Permalink

    Interesting blog. You have grasped the complexity of Napoleon in a way that few seem to do – but then like you I am fascinated by him, less by his battles than the man beneath the skin..

    best wishes


  • mrodenberg
    May 7, 2013 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Hello, John,

    Thank you so much. That’s been my goal and passion for the last few years. I hope his portrayal in my novel will show that complexity.

    I’ve enjoyed your blog, too.

    All the best,

  • prof.vijaya kumar
    May 28, 2014 - 3:57 am | Permalink

    hello madame – i came 2 know ur interest in the biography of emperor napoleon first let me wish u all success in the proposed writing & publication of book . like u iam also admirer of napoleon & biographer of emperor since 25 years am doing collection research on this emperor . i have all ready published 6 books on napoleon in the Indian language all the books given me good name fame all over India . i have also delivered speech on emperor at various functions in university research centers. i became so famous that wherever i go people calling me as napoleon i feel happy listen such appreciation . i know lot of unknown details on napoleon . if u r in need of my help u may contact
    sincerely – prof. vijaya kumar .m.a.p.hd.f.i.n.s.Canada, biographer of napoleon & president the Napoleonic society of Karnataka India -post – gangavathi – pin code – 583227 / dt – koppal /state – Karnataka India
    email –

  • mrodenberg
    June 3, 2014 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Professor Kumar! I may very well be in touch with you. I’m glad to hear of your interest in Napoleon.

    All the best,

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