British Queen celebrates


Napoleon Bonaparte's iconic hat from his reign as the French Emperor in the 19th century has fetched an impressive €1.9m ($2.1m; £1.7m) at an auction held in Paris.

The bicorne black beaver felt hat, estimated initially between €600,000 and €800,000 (£525,850-£701,131), exceeded expectations in its final sale.

The buyer's identity remains undisclosed, adding an air of mystery to the acquisition of this historic piece.

Historians highlight the significance of this hat as part of Napoleon's distinct image, notably worn sideways, aiding his recognition on battlefields. With an estimated collection of around 120 bicorne hats throughout his life, only about 20 are believed to survive today, mostly held in private collections.

This particular hat, part of a collection of Napoleonic artifacts curated by an industrialist who passed away recently, stands out as a coveted treasure for enthusiasts and experts alike.

The auction house emphasized the hat's significance as the "holy grail" among Napoleon-related items. Its unique positioning, worn with the corns parallel to the shoulders - known as "en bataille" - distinguished Napoleon from his officers, who typically wore their hats perpendicular to their shoulders.

Auctioneer Jean Pierre Osenat elaborated on the hat's symbolic importance, noting its omnipresence during Napoleon's public appearances, battles, and even in private moments. He described it as the embodiment of the emperor's image and power.

This particular hat, auctioned by Osenat in Fontainebleau, boasts a cockade affixed by Napoleon himself in 1815 during his return from exile in Elba to Antibes, marking a brief resurgence in power.

The auction also featured other intriguing items from Napoleon's era, including a silver plate looted from his carriage post the 1815 Waterloo defeat and a wooden vanity case containing razors, a silver toothbrush, scissors, and personal belongings owned by the historical figure. Photo by Daderot, Wikimedia commons.