Life Lessons From Josephine

Get a pre-nup.

The modern stereotype is of gold-diggers refusing to sign them, but marriage contracts aka pre-nuptual agreements have been around forever, and were designed to protect the woman - Josephine was considered a better catch than Napoleon when they got together. In Judaism a Ketubah is considered such an integral part of marriage that it is framed and displayed, and it protected the wife in case of death or divorce.

For more on Josephine's marriage contract see: The History Blog - Blog Archive - Napoleon and Josephine had a prenup

Hire a make-up artist, or better yet an artist.

Josephine asked her portraitist Jean-Baptiste Isabey (1767 - 1855) to paint her face, not just her image on miniatures. Many of his works are on display in the Wallace Collection, including this one

Grab a pashmina

Yes they are 'out' in many lists, but a good one lasts for decades, and they are perfect for travel or cool nights. One once saved Josephine and Napoleon's lives - she went back to get hers, and they missed a bomb intended to assassinate them.

Legend says that the champagne coupe is based on the breast of Marie Antoinette or Josephine ... this is unlikely as it had been around long before they were born. The coupe became popular for champagne after Prohibition as it helped 'open' the sweeter champagnes then in vogue. Today we drink drier champagne better suited to the flute, which concentrates the flavours and makes the bubbles last longer. That's how Pol Roger serve their wonderful wines at their Champagne home (they also support the Wallace Collection) And no, the champagne flute was not based on any body part of Napoleon.