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The Last Napoleon

Shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday, 1st of June 1879, in KwaZulu, an independent Kingdom in southern Africa, five European horsemen were riding pell-mell towards another small force of British soldiers, of the five men, one wears the uniform of a British officer, the others in the dress of locally recruited irregular volunteer cavalry. At the head of the other group, is two bearded veteran officers - Colonel Henry Evelyn Wood and Lieutenant-Colonel Redvers Buller, both men hold their country's highest award for bravery, the Victoria Cross.  Buller exclaimed, "Why the man rides as if the whole kaffir impi were after him" The British officer reins in before the column. Buller, a bluff, forthright man, asked, "What the devil is the matter, Sir?" The British officer in a faltering voice replied, "The Prince... The Prince Imperial is killed." Buller interjected, "Where?"  The officer pointed to a hill on the horizon, at which Wood and Buller raise their field glasses, and through them they saw some twenty Zulu warriors leading away three horses. Buller questioned the officer further, "Where are your men?  How many did you lose?"  The officer can only blurt out that he does not know. Buller can only reply in total distain for the officer standing before him, "You deserve to be shot Sir...and I hope will be.  I could shoot you myself."  Wood and Buller in an almost pantomime gesture turn their backs on Lieutenant Jahleel Brenton Carey, of Her Majesty's 98th Regiment of Foot, not wishing to look upon a man they considered to be a coward, a man who would become the scapegoat for the death of the exiled heir to the French Imperial throne.

The story of the life of the 'Last Napoleon' begins at 3 a.m. on the morning of the 16th March 1856.  One hundred and one cannon reports announce the birth of an heir to Imperial French throne.  The Empress Eugenie had been safely delivered of a son - His Imperial Highness Eugene Louis Jean Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte.  The only legitimate son of Napoleon the III. The birth had been a semi-public matter with at least one hundred official witnesses watching that the line of succession was a true one, and that the Bonapartist dynasty was secure.

   Napoleon the III was considered by the other royal and imperial families of Europe as little more than an upstart, who had proclaimed himself emperor, only four years before in 1852.  In a manner similar to that of the way in which his uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte, had come to power after the turmoil of the revolution. Some gossips actually inferred that Napoleon the III was the issue of an illicit dalliance between Napoleon Bonaparte and his brother Louis's wife, Hortense, the daughter of Napoleon's first wife Josephine. 

  Napoleon the III had spent his early life as an exile in Austria, spent part of the time with his 'cousin', Napoleon Francis Charles Joseph, the son of Napoleon and his second wife Marie Louise Hapsburg.  A young man whose early death and the restoration of the Bourbons would only bear the title Napoleon the II for nine days. Louis Napoleon returned to France and plotted the overthrow of the restored Bourbons.  His plot discovered he was forced to flee to America to evade capture.  He returned again to France, and was imprisoned for another attempted coup d'tat.  After six years in the prison at the castle of Ham, he escaped to Britain, from where he plotted his return.

   In 1848, when the tide of revolt swept across Europe, Louis Napoleon was performing a different duty.  Fearful that the spark of upheaval might spread across the English Channel, upright men rushed to join the ranks of Special Constabulary of the Metropolitan Police to preserve the British Monarchy, numbered amongst them was Louis Napoleon, the future Emperor of France, born of a family which revolution had brought to the fore, he now did his bit to insure the status quo in Great Britain, by exercising his newly found civil authority.  We know for a fact that he arrested at least one man for being drunk on London Bridge. But across the English Channel, Paris was in turmoil, a saviour was needed, and who better than a Bonaparte to save France at her time of need.  Louis Napoleon answered the call, before 1848 had reached its bloody end - he was elected by the people of France as President of the Republic of France.

   Within four years he proclaimed himself Emperor and announced the arrival of the Second Empire. In 1853, he married Eugenie de Montijo, the daughter of a penniless Spanish duke, whose origins were as equally clouded as his own. This new Napoleon would stand side-by-side with Britain and Turkey against Imperial Russia in the Crimean War, of 1854-55, and thus endear himself to Queen Victoria.  Indeed the Queen on hearing that the Empress Eugenie was finally pregnant following a series of miscarriages, advised the Empress to stop riding, which she did and so gave birth to the Prince Imperial.

   Within six hours of his birth Louis, or as he was affectionately called "Lou-Lou", was installed as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, and within days his name was enrolled on the list of Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard, by the age of six he was promoted to the rank of corporal. He was a physically frail child, and so he in order that he might attain a martial resolve, his education was placed in the hands of General Froissard.  Young Louis matured quickly, but he was not without an irrational side to his nature, a trait that many would blame on his so-called tainted Spanish blood.

   In 1868, he would visit the cradle of the Bonaparte family, Corsica. However, other events lent a hand to the fate of the Second Empire.  The disastrous French intervention in Mexico during the mid-1860's and the subsequent desertion of the Austrian Archduke, Maximilian, to his fate by a firing squad, had done little to for the reputation of Napoleon the III. In an attempt to regain his position and reassert the family name, Napoleon the III declared war against a confederation of German States, headed by Prussia, in July 1870. 

   The young Prince Imperial was just fourteen years of age when he accompanied his father to the front between Metz and Saarbrücken The Prince Imperial was dressed in the uniform of a sous-lieutenant of the Imperial Guard. The action of Saarbrücken was destined to be the only notable French victory of the entire campaign, and the young prince looked on as sixty thousand French troops put pay to a token force of one thousand Prussians.  But it was his debut on the field of battle, the rightful place of anyone who bore the name of Bonaparte.  Within weeks the Prussian defeat at Saarbrücken was avenged, the Prussian war-machine rolled relentlessly across France, the professional soldiers of the Prussian forces sweeping the ill-trained conscripts of the French army before them. Napoleon the III found himself besieged at Sedan, with his only option to surrender his forces to save any further loss of life.  The Empress Eugenie was forced to flee in disguise from the capital city that her husband's vision had created; already groups were forming from the populace to defend their city.  They would in time become the Communards, and suffer great deprivations as they struggled to defend their Commune.  Sharing their Parisians' suffering were a number of British military officers who had volunteered their services as first aiders in a unit entitled the English Ambulance, among their number was a French educated officer whose regiment had recently been disbanded, his name was Jahleel Brenton Carey.

   A small escort led the Prince Imperial from French soil across the Belgium frontier; he embarked from Ostende for Britain and exile.  In England the Prince was reunited with his mother.  The Empress rented a house named Camden Place in Chislehurst, Kent.  When the Emperor was released from captivity in 1871; he was permitted to join his family in exile.  The house became a court in exile, the then Prince of Wales becoming one of the first to be received the Imperial exiles.  Her Majesty Queen Victoria pitied their plight, and she was very fond of her former brother-in-arms, but in the 1870's there were still those alive who remembered when the name Bonaparte was the scourge of Europe.

   A decision had to be made as to the Prince's education that the events of the Franco-Prussian War had halted abruptly.  He had the services of a personal tutor, one Augustin Filon, who suggested that he should embark on course of study at King's College, in the Strand.  But the monotony of the academic surroundings proved too much for young Louis, and he only lasted one term.  He longed for a military career in keeping with family traditions, but he was an imperial exile in a foreign land, what options were open to him? His mother came to his rescue, using her feminine charm she beguiled the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, the Duke of Cambridge, and obtained for her son the opportunity to attend the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, in south London, where gentlemen cadets of the Royal Engineers and the Royal Artillery were taught the art of war.

   Louis entered the Academy in November of 1872, with respect to his studies he was hampered by imperfect knowledge of English, which lead to some moments of near comedy.  The Prince also held some violently partisan views on the Academy's professor's rendition of the Battle of Waterloo.  But at last he was happy with his lot, but his happiness was shattered in January of 1873, an aide appeared at the door of his classroom, the news was grave his father, Napoleon the III was dying.  A carriage hurried Louis the few short miles from Woolwich to Chislehurst, but he arrived too late his father was already dead.  Thousands of Frenchmen loyal to the Imperial cause crossed the Channel to pay homage to their former Emperor, who was laid to rest in a side chapel of Saint Mary's Church, Chislehurst. With his father's death they were many in France eager that Louis became the leader of the Bonapartist party, which despite all things still had a voice in the French parliament, but he declined, stating that if the French people elected him in a plebiscite he would return, however, he must first attain his majority as he was still only seventeen, and therefore could not even be considered. So he returned to Woolwich and to his studies.

   He graduated in February 1875, he had come first in fencing and riding and seventh overall in a class of thirty-four cadets, he might have came fourth overall had he not been placed second in the French written examination. His thirty-three companions all received commissions into the British Army, Louis had to content with an honorary lieutenancy in the Royal Artillery, after Benjamin D'Israeli had intervened stating that an heir apparent to a foreign throne could not pledge allegiance to the British sovereign, especially if that heir bore the surname of the monster Bonaparte.

   Back in France the Republican press mocked him, labelling 'Napoleon the Third and a Half' and 'the Imperial Baby'.  Louis ignored the newspaper comments, and when his age group was due to be called for conscription, he submitted his name for the draft, rather suffer the possible disgrace of being declared an outlaw for draft-dodging.  Needless to say the Republican Government did not call on his services, but his gesture had not gone unnoticed.

   Louis was fast becoming very popular in the right circles in England.  A romance blossomed with the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Beatrice.  But he was restless - he yearned for action at least once before he settled into a life of privilege on one side of the other of the English Channel.  If he had the chance he could prove himself to those who ridiculed, then he felt certain the French people would accept him back as their Emperor, how better for a Bonaparte to prove himself worthy than on the field of battle.  In 1877 he volunteered his services to the Austro-Hungarian Kaiser Franz Josef, whose Balkan states where being used as a battlefield for the Russo-Turkish War.  Perhaps in an act of atonement to the Austrian Emperor, over the unfortunate involvement of Napoleon III in the "Mexican Adventure", which had led to the death, by firing squad, of Franz Josef's brother, Arch Duke Maximillian, whilst serving as Emperor of Mexico.  Franz Josef politely declined his offer.

   At the beginning of 1879, there seemed to little in prospect save for possibility of his marriage to Beatrice.  On the 11th February, 1879, grave news reached London, without the consent of the Home Government, His Majesty's Governor General of the Cape Colony and High Commissioner for South Africa, Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere had declared war on the independent tribal kingdom of KwaZulu, and three British columns had invaded KwaZulu from the British Colony of Natal on the 11th January. The military commission of the campaign had been placed in the hands of Lieutenant-General Lord Chelmsford, General Officer Commanding Southern Africa, who had recently brought to a successful conclusion the Ninth Cape Frontier War against the AmaXhosa people of the Transkei. 

   All had gone well to begin with the much-vaunted Zulu impis were defeated in initial skirmishing. However, on Wednesday the 22nd January 1879, Lord Chelmsford divided his main column, Number Three Column, taking with him towards the direction of the Zulu capital, oNdini, or Ulundi, almost two thousand men in an effort to flush out the main Zulu army, which consisted of some twenty-five thousand warriors.  Chelmsford left behind him some one thousand, seven hundred British, colonial and loyal African soldiers at his transit camp in the shadow of a mountain named Isandlwana, which lay just seven miles, as the crow flies, from the Natal border and a place called Rorke's Drift.  Whilst Lord Chelmsford was hunting for the Zulu army some ten miles off to the east, the Zulu impi was in fact encircling his force remaining at Isandlwana. One thousand, three hundred and twenty-nine troops perished at Isandlwana, less than one hundred white men survived the massacre.  Fifty-five officers were amongst the dead, more officers died at Isandlwana than had died in the entire Waterloo campaign of 1815, and not until the horror of the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916 would that toll be rivalled.

   The news of the defeat brought forth a call for reinforcements, at least two of his former classmates from Woolwich were already in KwaZulu, Louis felt it his duty to volunteer.  He pleaded with the Duke of Cambridge to go.  He had valid public reasons - he wished to show his gratitude to Victoria, and to fight his first campaign for Britain.  There were, of course, other reasons, private and urgent.  A military record would endorse his claim to the French throne as nothing else could, but he could not seen for political reasons to side with Britain in any continental war, or either a campaign in the Indian sub-continent in case he caused offence.  The AmaZulu presented themselves as the perfect foe, after all no Frenchman could possibly take umbrage at his fighting against a savage nation.  Here was his opportunity to prove himself for the entire world to see. The Duke of Cambridge was willing to let Louis indulge, but D'Israeli 'had never heard of anything more injudicious'.  Louis's little enterprise was stymied, until his mother entered the fray, the Empress Eugenie took up his cause with Queen Victoria, who obviously was not a disinterested party as for as Louis was concerned.  Eugenie's motive must have been political the adventure could do no harm to Louis's credibility in France. Faced with the interference of two obstinate women as he referred to them D'Israeli relented, and with Cambridge's agreement Louis was to be permitted to go to the front as a "spectator" in a private capacity. Cambridge wrote in confidence to Lord Chelmsford stressing Louis's status, but warning the general to keep in check the Prince's spirited behaviour. The French on the hand were outraged.  There was an obvious political divide - to the Bonapartist party he was already Napoleon the IV, whilst the Republicans feared him as a threat to their power, but still regarded him as a Frenchman.  Now he was deserting his own people to risk his Imperial neck for the hated English in what was referred to at the time as "a petty dispute with some obstreperous blacks at the other end of the world".  Louis assured his own party that his reasons were political, and he wished to gain experience and improve his knowledge of the art of war, some would say with a view to practising it on some of his fellow countrymen on his safe return.

   On the 28th February 1879, he boarded the hired transport ship Danube at Southampton - he waved a fond farewell to his mother, the Empress, who collapsed as the ship left the harbour.  Normally, any British ship bound for the Cape of Good Hope, would re-supply at Saint Helena, but the captain rather prudently excluded this port of call for his schedule, for fear of upsetting his Imperial passenger.  The ship reached Cape Town on the twenty-sixth of March, and Louis paid his respects to Lady Frere at Government House.  His voyage continued to D'Urban arriving on the evening of the thirty-first.  Louis had by now donned the uniform of an officer in the Royal Artillery.  He presented him to the Assistant Adjutant-General only to be informed that Lord Chelmsford was out on an expedition to relieve a besieged British column at a Mission Station at a place called Eshowe, close to the Indian Ocean coastline of KwaZulu. Louis impatiently waited for his Lordship's return. 

  Whilst in the appropriately named Royal Hotel, D'Urban, he happened to look outside and see a civilian riding by on grey BaSotho pony, Louis needed a horse as one of his had died during disembarkation and his other was ill.  Louis sent his manservant Xavier Uhlmann out to see if the rider, Meyrick Bennett, would part with his mount, initially he declined the offer.  Uhlmann pressed the matter, and identified who the intended purchaser was, at which Bennett relented.  The horse was called Percy; Bennett warned that it was apt to be skittish.

   Louis was taken ill with a fever, but he recovered before Lord Chelmsford returned to D'Urban, flush with the success of a victory over the Zulus at a place called Gingindlovu, which means the place of the elephant.  Chelmsford invited Louis to be an extra aide de camp on his personal staff. Louis eventually made his way up country and on the 2nd of May 1879 at a camp named Khambula, he was reunited with two of his companions from Woolwich, Lieutenants Arthur Bigge and Frederick Slade.                                                          

   Both these officers had fought in the action at Khambula, on 29th March, which had in fact proved the turning point in the campaign - Louis listened avidly as they recounted the battle, wondering when it would be his chance to see some action. Shortly after on the 8th May Chelmsford appointed Colonel Richard Harrison, Royal Engineers, as his Acting Quartermaster-General, despite his title Harrison's task was military intelligence, which to some would appear to be a contradiction in terms. Harrison's staff was limited, he had two officers, Brevet Major Francis Grenfell and Lieutenant Jahleel Carey, and one Lance Corporal, by the name of Martin.  Chelmsford decided that a position on Harrison's staff would be an ideal billet for the Prince Imperial.  Thereby permitting the General to stop being a royal tour guide, and get on with the matter in hand, defeat the Zulus.  Thus Louis was appointed to the colonel's staff.  He very quickly found a soul mate in Carey.  Thirty-one year old Carey was the son of a Devon vicar, who had been educated at the Lycee Imperial in Paris.  As mentioned early, he had served as a first aid volunteer in the Franco-Prussian War.  In addition he had previously seen active service in West Africa and Central America.  Because of his Parisian education he affected certain French mannerisms, also well speaking the language with a marked Parisian accent.

   Louis sought out some wounded Frenchmen who had been serving the volunteer irregular horse units, which had borne the brunt of the casualties at an action called Hlobane, which had been fought on 28th March.  All the men he found were survivors from the Paris Commune, determined to seek a new life in southern Africa, now they found the lives again threatened by war. The French press were interested in Louis too, so much so that L'Figaro, sent a correspondent, Paul Deleage to follow his progress, Deleage made his own way to the British encampment, only to discover that the Prince Imperial had been permitted to be a first hand spectator and had embarked on a reconnaissance deeper into KwaZulu. Louis had been allowed, with Colonel Harrison's permission, to accompany a strong probing patrol, of some three hundred veteran volunteer horsemen, both European and African, to test the Zulu strength ahead of the line of march. 

   Louis was in his element - the opportunity for action had at last come to him.  On the 16th of May, as Zulu scouts were spotted on the ridge of the Itelezi Hill, on sighting the patrol they melted back from sight.  The reconnaissance commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Redvers Buller V.C., turned to his imperial guest to

point out the stealth of the Zulu warriors, only to see Louis draw his sword, which was the same sword that his great-uncle had carried at Austerlitz, and galloped headlong in pursuit of the Zulus, thus jeopardising the purpose of the mission.  Buller despatched troopers after the eager young man, who returned dejected he had not drawn blood.  Buller asserted his authority over this spectator with extreme wrath - "Your Imperial Highness, this is a reconnaissance, not a Zulu hunt...- Under no circumstances will I permit such reckless action again.  Do I make myself clear, Sir."  Sheepishly, the young Bonaparte admitted his error. On his return to the British lines, Buller, brave, reckless Buller, who only weeks before had personally risked his own life to rescue, not once, but three times, unhorsed men from the very clutches of the Zulu, voiced his opinion to his own superior, and to Harrison of the Prince's behaviour. 

   Despite Buller's objections Louis was soon out again on patrol, this time with Captain William Molyneux, one of Lord Chelmsford's aide de camps.   Molyneux asked Louis about his conduct during the previous patrol, enquiring if he thought that "by risking his life in order to grips with a few Zulus whose deaths, after all, would have made not the slightest difference to the outcome of the campaign."   Louis replied, "You are right, I suppose, but I could not help it.  I feel I must do something."   As Louis spoke a shot rang out to their left, nothing was seen, save for a trooper calmly reloading his rifle and continuing with his pace.  Molyneux concluded that the man had hit whatever he had been aiming at.  Not so the Prince, who again drew his sword and rode at full tilt towards the trooper.  Molyneux shouted, "Prince, I must order you to come back."   Louis pulled up at once, and turned to face Molyneux, he saluted the officer with his sword, before returning it to its scabbard, then he let fly at the captain, "It seems I am never to be without a nurse." 

   Sullenly he returned to camp.  On his arrival Colonel Henry Evelyn Wood, quipped to Louis, "Well Sir, I see you've not been assegaied yet."  Louis replied, "Not yet, but while I have no desire to be killed, if I have to fall I should prefer an assegai to a bullet, for it would show that I had at least been at close quarters."

   For his sins Louis was unofficially confined to camp, employed on the less than rigorous duty of drawing maps, a task which he seethed about, how could he accomplish his political purpose and re-establish the Napoleonic dynasty, armed only with mapping paper and a drawing pen?

   On Sunday, 1st June, 1879, Harrison gave permitted Louis to verify some of the detail of his maps, by being allowed to traverse the ground in question, in order to select a spot for the camp to move on the following day.  Jahleel Carey sought permission to accompany Louis, which was duly granted.  Two non-commissioned officers, and four troopers of Captain Bettington's Troop of the Natal Horse furnished an escort.  Six African troopers of Captain Shepstone's Native Horse were also assigned to parade at 9.15 a.m., but due to a mistake they reported to the wrong tent.  A renegade Zulu was assigned as a guide.  Eager to be about his task Louis left without waiting for the extra men to appear. Major Francis Grenfell fell in with the group and travelled with them in the direction of the Blood River, a little over twenty miles off to the east was Ulundi, the Zulu capital.  Harrison who was on another mission in the same vicinity came upon the little party, he suggested that their numbers were insufficient, to which Louis replied, "Oh no, we are quite strong enough." Harrison could see other mounted units scouting on the nearby hills - he felt that there was no unnecessary reason to dispute the matter further.  Harrison ordered Grenfell to return to camp with him, Grenfell turned in his saddle and said, "Take care of yourself, Prince, and don't get shot."  The Prince, replied, pointing to Lieutenant Carey, "He'll take very good care that nothing happens to me."

   For hours the small band went about their task, with Louis sketching the localities, seeking an appropriate campsite for several thousand men and their impedimenta.  At 3p.m. despite Jahleel Carey verbal misgivings, the patrol rode into a Zulu umuzi, or kraal, close to the banks of the Ityoyozi River.  The beehive huts were deserted, but betrayed signs of recent habitation.  Louis gave orders for the men to off-saddle their mounts and allow them to be graze.  Their Zulu guide was despatched to fetch water so that the white men could have some coffee.  Louis lay down beside one of the huts and relaxed, he was in his element, free from the constraints of being made to obey orders, he was now giving orders.  Carey and Louis mused over the victories of the 1st Napoleon in Italy in 1796; Louis's mind was obviously wandering towards his own future.  The men relaxed over their coffee, and enjoyed a pipe, but no one had deemed it necessary to set a guard.

   At 3.35 p.m. Carey suggested to Louis that they should saddle up, Louis replied, "Just another ten minutes."  Almost simultaneously the Zulu guide reported that he had seen a lone Zulu on the rise above the kraal.  The order was given to saddle-up, but some of the horses had strayed and it was a further ten minutes before all of them could be gathered and made ready.  Jahleel Carey mounted independently to the others.  The men stood by horses, with Louis facing them, he enquired of the other-ranks, "Are you all ready?"  To which the men replied they were.  Louis then gave the order "Prepare to mount", at which the men each put their left foot in the nearside stirrup - all were waiting for the Prince's next word of command.  As the word "Mount" came from his lips it was drowned by a ragged volley of rifle fire from the surrounding bush, from which broke some forty or so Zulus, yelling their war cry, "Usuthu!" as they came.  Trooper George Rogers's horse bolted with the din, stranding him on foot, he managed to load and fire his carbine before falling to a warrior's assegai.  Carey and the others rode off towards the river, Trooper William Abel fell from his mount, and his flight stopped by a bullet from a captured British rifle.  As for Louis, he struggled to mount his horse and in doing so his sword, Napoleon's sword from Austerlitz cluttered to the ground.  His horse, that skittish grey, was dragging him along as he clutched to a saddle holster.  He was passed at this point but Trooper Nicholas Le Tocq, a Guernsey man from Cobo Bay, Le Tocq was laying his stomach across the saddle of his galloping horse and could offer the prince no help, save for urging him in French to mount his horse.  But fate intervened and the leather of the saddle holster tore, sending Louis crashing to the ground, injuring his right arm.  Corporal Jim Grubb looked back to see Louis making off on foot pursued by seven Zulus.  The fleet-of-foot warriors gained on their prey and Louis who had run some three hundred yards turned to meet his destiny.  One warrior hurled an assegai, which struck the Prince in the thigh.  Louis plucked the spear from his leg, and drew his pistol from which he fired two shots, neither of which find a mark despite the close range.  Another warrior threw a spear, which entered his left shoulder, and eventually he slumped to his knees.  The Zulus closed in on him and he died under a flurry of assegai blades. 

   With no chance to rally Carey and the others rode on, until they encountered Wood and his men, which takes us back to the beginning of our story.  Due to the lateness of the hour, it was decided that it would have been futile to risk any further lives in the dwindling light of an African dusk.  Carey and his men rode into camp that night and imparted their sorrowful news to General Lord Chelmsford.  In the pre-dawn light of the following morning two regiments of regular British cavalry, several units of volunteer cavalry and a battalion of loyal African soldiers mustered to search for the Prince Imperial.  The correspondent from the L'Figaro, Paul Deleage, his eyes filled with tears yelled his abuse and at the officers, with the words, "Yesterday the Prince left this camp with but seven companions.  Today a thousand men will search for his body."  The search party found his body, where he had died, stripped of all its clothing, the body bore seventeen spear wounds of which one of three could have proved fatal.  The body was borne away, and amid great ceremony it was taken back through Natal, and eventually to England.  Where an almost state funeral took place at Chislehurst.

   Jahleel Carey was found guilty of cowardice by a court-martial convened hurriedly in the field, but so hurriedly was the court convened that no one had thought to swear the members of the court in.  Due to this oversight Carey was acquitted and the sentence of the trial overturned.

   One year later the Empress Eugenie visited the place of her son's death, and found it marked by a simple cross. Eugenie left Chislehurst, for Farnborough in Hampshire in 1881, and moved the bodies of her husband and son from Chislehurst to a mausoleum she had erected there.  Only a simple Celtic cross remains at Chislehurst as a memorial to Louis.  Eugenie, herself, lived until 1920, obviously haunted by thoughts of what may have been.

   As I close my story I will leave you with some thoughts, ponder if you will if Louis had not died in KwaZulu, then it not inconceivable that he would have been restored by a plebiscite of the French people to his father's throne.  Consider also that if he had married Queen Victoria's daughter, Beatrice, then the closest of alliances would have been formed between Great Britain and France, which would have pre-dated the Entente Cordiale by some twenty-five years.  And maybe, just maybe, if such an alliance had existed then might not a bloodier, greater war have been avoided.  The history of the twentieth century would have been vastly different then, had not cruel fate intervened.


© John Young 1994