The marriage of Joachim Murat, the great-nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte (August 1769 - May 1821), to Algerian writer Yasmine Lorraine Briki after a long love story sparked a controversy in Algerian and French newspapers, magazines and social media. Some agreed to it while others opposed it due to the French occupation of Algeria and for religious reasons.
The French press shed light on the story, in which Briki became a princess after saying “YES” and reversed a history marked by disagreement, fighting and hostility between both countries.
Born in Algeria’s Annaba province, the Princess migrated to France in 2004 to study in Sorbonne University in Paris, where she fell in love with Prince Joachim. The official civil marriage was on March 5, 2021.
The lovebirds celebrated their marriage in the town hall of the 10th arrondissement of the city of love, Paris, in the presence of some of their family members due to the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Some of the attendees included senior figures such as Grand Duke George of Russia and Prince Louis Sampion Bouglione.
A religious ceremony is expected to be held once the virus situation becomes better.
Majalla Magazine exclusively published the couple’s marriage story in the first interview for Joachim and Yasmine with the Arab press.
The groom Prince Joachim and the bride Princess Yasmine.
Q: Your Highness Prince Joachim Murat, it is an honor to meet you and your Princess. Tell us please about your grandfather who ruled Naples and your family’s relation to the Emperor.
A: I am a direct descendant through the eldest son of Marshal Joachim Murat, the King of Naples and the Two Sicilies, and his wife Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister. Thereby I am Napoleon’s great-nephew, and the successive marriages from the first generation make me a cousin to most European royal families.
Q: You are certainly very proud to belong to those who wrote France’s glorious history. Tell us about your feelings.
A: Yes, it is a great honor and pride. The great legacy qualifies me to take part in celebrations organized by historical associations or states, whether in France during the anniversary of the Napoleonic Empire, or in Italy for the anniversary of Joachim Murat, the king of Naples.
The passion for Napoleon and his family is all across the world. I try to be available as much as possible to participate in the events or conferences to which I am usually invited. For instance, I was in Russia in February with my cousin, the Grand Duke George, to honor the French and Russian soldiers who died during the Russian campaign in 1812.
I often participate in other European royal families’ events, weddings, feasts, receptions and, unfortunately, funerals.
Q: Do the French know your story or does the new generation no longer read?
A: Napoleon I is the most renowned figure in the history of France. The French know all the great moments in the history of the First Empire: the coronation of the Emperor in Notre Dame de Paris; the victory of Austerlitz; the civil law; Waterloo; and, the exile in Saint Helena.
All the books on the First Empire or Napoleon are bestsellers in France. One of the most-watched series on French television was the one on Napoleon’s life, starring Christian Claver, John Malkovich and Gerard Depardieu.
Today, Americans are preparing for a TV series about Bonaparte’s life on Apple TV and Netflix. Sadly, few people today know about the history of the Second Empire and Napoleon III. Few ever study about this major period in the country’s history.
Q: Were your origin and social differences an obstacle to your marriage?
A: Frankly speaking, there has never been a problem. Today, all heirs of royal families, even those who ruled kingdoms like England, Spain or Sweden, marry the one they love regardless of the different cultures and origins. This is the case with Yasmine.
Q: Are you familiar with Algeria? Do you plan to visit it after COVID-19?
A: Unfortunately, I haven't been there yet. Algeria is a very beautiful country that I have wanted to visit for a long time. I’ve always heard about it from my family, as the deep friendship between Emperor Napoleon III and Prince Abdelkader is a significant memory. I hope to be able to pay it a visit as soon as the health conditions become better.
Q: Are you allowed to join a political party or even create a party?
A: Yes, I have the same rights and duties as all French citizens. But, I am not a member of any political party.
Q: Do you wish that the monarchy system is reapplied as in England? Or is the republican system considered ideal for all the peoples?
A: Napoleon created an empire but based on a republican constitution. However, I do not believe the republican system is the unique and ideal model for all peoples across the world. In my opinion, the republican system serves the French well.
Q: What work do you do for a living?
A: I have represented strategic French industries at the international level for many years. In fact, I lived in India for seven years and worked as a manager of a subsidiary of the French High Tech Group. Today, I am a director at a Paris-based international technology company.
Q: What is your wish?
A: I wish to build our home and discover Algeria with my wife, of course. Also, I wish to get rid of the “Cancel Culture” which ends constructive relations among peoples.
Q: Do you know the royal families in the Arab World?
A: I have long-lasting and sincere friendships with royal families in Morocco, Egypt, Afghanistan and Libya. However, I haven’t had the pleasure of being introduced to the royal families in Gulf States.
I know the Gulf region, but alas I haven’t spent enough time there. I hope to visit Gulf countries to discover all the changes and innovations that are flourishing in this region.
Princess Yasmine: “This new life overwhelmed me with joy and honor.”
Below is the dialogue with Princess Yasmine:
Q: We know you are an intellectual, a great researcher in political science and an equestrian. Tell us about yourself. How did you come to France? Did you ever think you would marry a man from another culture? What did you wish for in your youth?
A: I came to France to continue my studies and above all to discover the world, discover other cultures and find new knowledge. Like all the girls of my age, it was my dream to find love and build a family, and fate wanted my love to be a prince.
I love horses and play polo and I got married to a descendant of the greatest horseman of the Napoleonic era. Marshal Murat led all of Napoleon’s cavalry and remains a basic reference in the equestrian world.
Q: How do you feel after becoming a Napoleonic princess and entering the world of princesses and dukes?
A: This new life overwhelmed me with joy and honor. I joined a royal family that has influence across the world through the Napoleonic heritage. This requires I become a role model and am serious in the various representational tasks I will get in the future.
I met with many princes, princesses, officials and history lovers. It's a wonderful life but, above all, it’s a huge responsibility.
Q: I think your marriage came at the right time in history, during which President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to achieve peace and correct bilateral French-Algerian ties.
A: My marriage to Napoleon’s great-nephew is a personal matter and has nothing to do with political ties between the Algerian and French governments.
Q: How did you meet? Was it love from the first sight?
A: Joachim and I met for work and it was love at first sight, but we maintained a professional relationship.
It took me quite some time to figure out he was a prince, but he always remained the same. He did not change or show any arrogance. Our career paths later split, but we met again a few years later and decided to culminate our love story.
Q: All Arab peoples and Majalla Magazine congratulate you on your marriage. But some Algerians, like many other people, do not know the truth and believe that Napoleon invaded Algeria.
A: We received many messages of congratulations and support from Algeria and the Arab world. We are very grateful and I would like to thank them and you warmly through this interview.
In fact, there were false allegations accusing Napoleon I of occupying Algeria in 1830, when actually he died in Saint Helena in 1821.
Napoleon III took over the rule in Algeria in 1848 and had to address a situation for which he wasn’t responsible. During his reign, he never stopped working to promote the policy of equality between the French and Algerians and the establishment of an independent Arab-Algerian kingdom.
Unfortunately, some publications choose an historical lie to fuel the debate between France and Algeria. They are taking advantage of our personal love story, which has really nothing to do with politics.
Q: As a princess, are you planning to continue doing your professional activity?
A: I will fully assume my role as a princess and continue my professional activity, better if possible. In all cases, my life with my husband will prevail.
I will also continue my activities in the cultural association “United Hope” to serve children from deprived areas, and I will continue the cultural dialogue between the East and the West.
Q: Do you have a message for the Arab world?
A: The Arab world is an infinite reservoir of treasures of knowledge, cultures and history, and all the poetry the world in general needs is present in it. It is our shared responsibility to promote this tremendous wealth and introduce it to the world.
(1) Napoleon Bonaparte, or Napoleon I, was born on August 15, 1769, and died on May 5, 1821. He was a French military commander and a politician of Italian origin. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful military campaigns against France’s enemies during its revolutionary wars.
He ruled France in the late eighteenth century as consul general, then as an emperor in the first decade of the nineteenth century, as his actions and organizations had a major influence on Europe’s politics.
Napoleon dominated European and international affairs during his reign and led France in a series of dazzling victories of coups d’état by allied military forces, in what was known as the Napoleonic Wars. He built a large empire that dominated most of continental Europe until 1815, when it fell and disintegrated.
Napoleon is considered one of the history’s most prominent military leaders, and his military campaigns are taught in many war colleges around the world.
Opinions about him vary. His opponents see him as a mighty tyrant who revived the imperial government, distributed positions and titles to his family and entered military adventures that destroyed the army.
Napoleon’s supporters, however, consider him a statesman and a patron of civilization. Attributed to him is the French civil law, known as the Napoleonic Code, which laid the administrative and judicial foundations for most of Western Europe and the countries that were subject to French colonialism and its mandate in later eras. This law was the most influential in Europe and the world since the fall of the Roman Empire.
(2) Joachim Murat was born on March 25, 1767, in Labastide-Fortuniere and died on October 13, 1815, in the Kingdom of Naples. He was a French military commander and one of the most senior figures of the First Empire.
He became a Marshal of the Empire and Prince of France during the reign of Napoleon I. He was also a Grand Admiral of the Empire, a Grand Duke of Berg and Cleves, then King of Naples from 1808 under the name Joachim I.
He became Napoleon I’s brother-in-law after marrying Caroline Bonaparte, the Emperor’s sister.