France still split over Napoleon as it marks bicentenary of death

France still split over Napoleon as it marks bicentenary of death

The Guardian

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President to tread fine line as he lays a wreath to ‘commemorate rather than celebrate’ anniversary

On 5 May 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte died in a surprisingly small bed surrounded by his French coterie in exile in a damp and reportedly rat-infested house on the British island of Saint Helena.

His last words, uttered shortly before he expired around 5.59pm local time were relayed back: “La France, l’armée, tête d’armée, Joséphine …” (France, the army, head of the army, Joséphine). He was 51.

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