Princess Marie Bonaparte

Princess Marie Bonaparte

Princess Marie Bonaparte
Princess George of Greece and Denmark
Born (1882-07-02)2 July 1882
Saint-Cloud, France
Died 21 September 1962(1962-09-21) (aged 80)
Saint-Tropez, France
Burial Royal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece
Spouse Prince George of Greece and Denmark
Issue Prince Peter
Princess Eugénie
House House of Bonaparte
House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Father Roland Bonaparte
Mother Marie-Félix Blanc

Princess Marie Bonaparte (2 July 1882 – 21 September 1962) was a French author and psychoanalyst, closely linked with Sigmund Freud. Her wealth contributed to the popularity of psychoanalysis, and enabled Freud's escape from Nazi Germany.

Marie Bonaparte was a great-grandniece of Emperor Napoleon I of France. She was a daughter of Prince Roland Bonaparte (19 May 1858 – 14 April 1924) and Marie-Félix Blanc (1859–1882). Her paternal grandfather was Pierre Napoleon Bonaparte, son of Lucien Bonaparte, who was one of Napoleon's rebellious and disinherited younger brothers. For this reason, despite her title Marie was not a member of the dynastic branch of the Bonapartes who claimed the French imperial throne from exile. Her maternal grandfather was François Blanc, the principal real-estate developer of Monte Carlo. It was from this side of her family that Marie inherited her great fortune.


  • Early life 1
  • Married life 2
  • Sexual research 3
  • Freud 4
  • Later life 5
  • Death 6
  • Legacy 7
  • Ancestry 8
  • Titles, styles, honours and arms 9
    • Titles and styles 9.1
    • Honours 9.2
  • Works 10
  • Notes 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13

Early life

She was born at Saint-Cloud, a town in Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France and called Mimi within the family.[1] Her maternal grandfather had left an estimated fortune of FF 88M when he died in 1877. However, his widow, born Marie Hensel, left mostly debts for her three children, including Marie's mother Marie-Félix, to pay off upon her death in July 1881. Prince Roland protected his wife's fortune by persuading her to renounce that of her late mother before the amount of her debts became known.[1] Marie-Felix died of an embolism shortly after Marie's birth, leaving half of her FF 8.4M dowry to her husband and half to her daughter.[1] Most was managed in trust during Marie's youth by her father, who had few financial resources of his own. Marie lived with her father, a published geographer and botanist, in Paris and on various family country estates where he studied, wrote and lectured, leading an active life in Parisian academic circles and on expeditions abroad, while her daily life was supervised by tutors and servants.[1] Afflicted by phobias and hypochondria as a youth, Marie spent much of her time in seclusion, reading literature and writing the personal journals which reveal her inquisitive spirit and early commitment to the scientific method reflected in her father's scholarship.[1]

Married life

Several candidates for future husband presented themselves or were considered by Prince Roland for his daughter's hand, notably a distant cousin of the princely legacies.[1]

On 21 November 1907 in Paris, Marie and George were married in a civil ceremony, with a subsequent Greek Orthodox ceremony on 12 December 1907, at Athens.[1] Thereafter she was known as Princess Marie of Greece and Denmark (Princess George of Greece and Denmark in British usage).

By March 1908 Marie was pregnant and, as agreed, the couple returned to France to take up residence. When George brought his bride to Denmark for the first visit with his uncle, Prince Valdemar's wife,

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Société Psychanalytique de Paris: Marie Bonaparte et la création de la SPP (French)

External links

  • Bertin, Celia, Marie Bonaparte: A Life, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1982. ISBN 0-15-157252-6
  • Loewenstein, Rudolf, Drives, Affects and Behavior: Essays in Honor of Marie Bonaparte, 1952


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Bertin, Celia (1982). Marie Bonaparte: A Life. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. pp. 17–19, 24–25, 64, 66, 82–84, 94, 96–98, 105–106, 120, 136.  
  2. ^ Bertin, Celia (1982). "A False Happiness". Marie Bonaparte: A Life. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. pp. 85–86.  
  3. ^ a b  
  4. ^ Mieszkowski, Katharine (4 April 2008). "Getting It on for Science". 
  5. ^ Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, Vol. 2, pg. 421 (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1955).
  6. ^ Cohen, D. 2013 Freud and the British Royal Family, in "The Psychologist", Vol. 26, No. 6, June 2013, pp.462–463
  7. ^ Huberty, Michel; Giraud, Alain; Magdelaine, F. and B. (1994). L'Allemagne Dynastique, Tome VII -- Oldenbourg. France: Laballery. p. 286.  


  • "Le Printemps sur mon Jardin." Paris: Flammarion, 1924.
  • "Topsy, chow-chow, au poil d'or." Paris: Denoel et steele, 1937.
  • The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe: A Psycho-Analytic Interpretation with a foreword by Sigmund Freud – 1934 (translated into English, 1937)
  • Topsy – 1940 – a love story about her dog
  • "La Mer et le Rivage." Paris: for the author, 1940.
  • "Monologues Devant la Vie et la Mort." London: Imago Publishing Co., 1951.
  • "De la Sexualite de la Femme." Paris: Press Universitaires de France, 1951.
  • "Psychanalyse et Anthropologie." Paris: Press Universitaires de France, 1952.
  • "Chronos, Eros, Thanatos." London: Imago Publishing Co., 1952.
  • "Psychanalyse et Biologique." Paris: Press Universitaires de France, 1952.
  • Five Copy Books – 1952
  • Female Sexuality – 1953



  • 2 July 1882 – 21 November 1907: Princess Marie Bonaparte
  • 21 November 1907 – 21 September 1962: Her Royal Highness Princess Marie of Greece and Denmark

Titles and styles[7]

Titles, styles, honours and arms


The story of her relationship with Sigmund Freud, including assisting his family's escape into exile, was made into a television film in 2004 as Princesse Marie, directed by Benoît Jacquot, starring Catherine Deneuve as Princess Marie Bonaparte and Heinz Bennent as Freud.


She died of Tatoï, near Athens.[1]


She practiced as a psychoanalyst until her death in 1962, providing substantial services to the development and promotion of psychoanalysis. She translated Freud's work into French and founded the French Institute of Psychoanalysis (Société Psychoanalytique de Paris SPP) in 1926.[1] In addition to her own work and preservation of Freud's legacy, she also offered financial support for Géza Róheim's anthropological explorations. A scholar on Edgar Allan Poe, she wrote a biography and an interpretation of his work.

On 2 June 1953, Marie and her husband represented their nephew, King Paul of Greece, at the coronation of Elizabeth II in London. Bored with the pageantry, Marie offered psychoanalysis to the gentleman seated next to her, the future French president François Mitterrand. Mitterrand obliged Marie, and the couple barely witnessed the pomp and ceremony, finding their own activity far more interesting.[1]

Later life

Later she paid Freud's ransom to Nazi Germany and bought the letters Freud had written to Wilhelm Fliess about his use of cocaine from Fliess's widow when he could not afford her price. Freud wished the letters destroyed, but Marie refused, insisting that they were of historical importance. She agreed never to read them, however, and they were not published until 1984. She was also instrumental in delaying the search of Freud's apartment in Vienna by the Gestapo and later arranged for Freud to smuggle abroad some of his savings in a Greek diplomatic pouch. She persuaded Anton Sauerwald, a Nazi, to sign the papers enabling Freud to leave Vienna and also arranged for the transport to London of his books, collection of antiquities and analytic couch.[6]

Robed in the diplomatic immunity of a member of a reigning European royal family and possessed of great wealth, Marie was often able to help those threatened or despoiled by World War II. When the Greek royal family were in exile or Greece was under occupation, she helped support her husband's banished relatives, including allowing the family of her husband's nephew, Prince Philip of Greece, to occupy one of her homes in Saint-Cloud and paying for their private schooling while sending her own children to public lycées.

Although Prince George maintained friendly relations with Freud, in 1925 he asked Marie to give up her work in psychoanalytical studies and treatment to devote herself to their family life, but she declined.[1]

In 1925, Marie consulted Freud for treatment of what she described as her frigidity, which was later explained as a failure to have missionary position intercourse.[4] It was to Marie Bonaparte that Freud remarked, "The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?'".[5]


She modeled for the Romanian modernist sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. His sculpture of her, "Princess X," created a scandal in 1919 when he represented her or caricatured her as a large gleaming bronze phallus. This phallus symbolizes the model's obsession with the penis and her lifelong quest to achieve vaginal orgasm.

Despite what she described as [1][3] Marie considered herself a "téleclitorienne" and approached Josef Halban to surgically move her clitoris closer to the vagina. She underwent and published the procedure as the Halban-Narjani operation.[3] When it proved unsuccessful in facilitating the sought-after outcome for Marie, the physician repeated the operation.[1]

Sexual research

[1] From 1913 to early 1916, Marie carried on an intense flirtation, then an

The couple had two children, Peter (1908–1980) and Eugénie (1910–1989).[1]

Although Marie occasionally joined her husband in Greece or elsewhere for national holidays and dynastic ceremonies, their life together was spent mostly on her estates in the French countryside. For months at a time, George was in Athens or Copenhagen, while Marie was in Paris, Vienna or traveling with the couple's children. That pattern allowed each to pursue activities in which the other had little interest.[1]

[1] Marie Bonaparte came to admire the forbearance and independence of Valdemar's wife under circumstances which caused her bewilderment and estrangement from her own husband.[1]