On the occasion of the Vienna World’s Fair in 1873 the large sections of wall between the walnut panelling were hung with important Brussels tapestries,
which are today too fragile to be used as wall hangings and are therefore displayed separately.
When Napoleon occupied Vienna in 1805 and 1809, he chose Schönbrunn as his headquarters. During this time he probably used this room as his bedroom.
His marriage to Marie Louise, the daughter of Emperor Franz II (I) in 1810 was intended to seal the peace between the two rulers. A son was born of this union, styled
the Duke of Reichstadt. After the defeat and abdication of Napoleon, Marie Louise brought her two-year-old son to Vienna, where he grew up at his grandfather’s court.
An especial favourite of his grandfather, he shared the latter’s interest in botany.
The portrait of him as a child shows him gardening in the park at Laxenburg Palace. The young duke suffered from tuberculosis and died in 1832 at the age of only twenty-one.
His death-mask and his beloved pet, a crested lark, today remain as mementos of Napoleon’s only legitimate son.