Napoleon III receiving Queen Victoria at Cherbourg, 5 August 1858
Between 4 and 8 August 1858, the Emperor Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie visited Cherbourg. On their arrival, they inaugurated the railway line linking the town to Paris. The following day, 5 August, they welcomed Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who had been invited to view the opening of the Arsenal's second basin, called the Napoleon III basin. This is a French artist's representation of the Emperor, wearing the full-dress uniform of a French admiral, receiving Queen Victoria on board the French flagship, 'Bretagne', at Cherbourg for a banquet. He stands at the top of the gangway, waiting to receive his guests, who have arrived by royal barge and are waiting at the bottom of the gangway. Napoleon III was anxious to demonstrate to his British guests that his improvements to the naval base at Cherbourg did not constitute a threat to Britain. Thus, he invited Victoria and Albert, together with several politicians and naval officials, to inspect the improvements as a mark of trust.
Jules Achille No
- Image reference: BHC0637
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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