Saturday, February 20, 2010

Enemies Foreign and Domestic

I didn't mean to turn February into Adam Zamoyski month here at Stranger Things Have Happened, but I wanted to share one last anecdote from his very entertaining (and thought-provoking) book on the Congress of Vienna, Rites of Peace (NY, 2007):

When Napoleon Bonaparte died on St. Helena, in May 1821, the nation which had fought hardest to defeat and exile him, Great Britain, was preoccupied with the coronation of King George IV and his struggle to exclude his estranged wife Caroline from the ceremony. Supposedly, when a messenger brought George the news that "Your greatest enemy [i.e., Napoleon] is dead," he replied "No! By God! Is she?" (p. 561)

I guess that's funnier if you've watched A Royal Scandal.

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