Napoléon Bonaparte, by contrast, became a royal by outright conquest: son of the Revolution, he became the self-proclaimed and self-crowned emperor of the French. To the best of my knowledge, he had no near royal (or even noble) ancestry. Ditto for his first wife, Joséphine, born de Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie, who was crowned empress alongside him.
This general-turned-emperor also adopted, as his own daughter, a relative of hers through her first husband, Aléxandre François Marie, Viscount of Beauharnais (guillotined in 1794).
Stéphanie Beauharnais was his first cousin, once removed, and like her relatives, the imperial couple and her second cousins (Joséphine had two children, Eugène and Hortense), became a royal by association.
And the same can be said of the rest of the Bonaparte family as well (Napoléon had brothers, uncles, nephews, and cousins). Yes, he even arranged a marriage between his brother and step-daughters.
But of course, there is nothing to strengthen a parvenu dynasty like marrying into an established royal family. The emperor eventually divorced his first wife and remarried with Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria (daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II), although the reason for the divorce was the failure of his first empress to provide him with an heir (a la King Henry VIII of England).
His stepson and adopted daughter also made impressive dynastic matches (the one, to a princess of Bavaria, and the other, to the grand duke of Baden).
Anyhow, I was wondering about other notable examples in history of persons who were not born royal, but became so by conquest, adoption, or association.
I'm not sure how exactly one would characterize the upstart dynasties of Serbia (the houses of Obrenovic and Karageorgevich), Montenegro (the house of Petrovich-Njegos), and Albania (the house of Zog). But the houses of Karageorgeviches of Serbia and Petrovish-Njegos of Montenegro certainly did a good job of strengthening genealogical ties to established royal dynasties of Europe.
King Alexander I of Serbia (whose sister, Helen, married a Romanov prince of Russia) married a princess of Romania who was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Czar Alexander II of Russia. His cousin, Prince Paul, married a princess of Greece and Denmark also descended from Czar Alexander II of Russia, as well as King Christian IX of Denmark.
King Peter II married the morganaut Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark, and Crown Prince Alexander married the morganaut Princess Dona Maria da Glória of Orléans-Braganza. So despite his commoner and noble ancestry, Hereditary Prince Peter today is also of much royal and noble ancestry. He descends from, among others, Queen Victoria of Great Britain, King Christian IX of Denmark, Czar Alexander II of Russia, Princess Imperial Isabel of Brazil, Prince Carlo of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, King Louis-Philippe of the French, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, and King Fernando VII of Spain.
Prince Alexander of Serbia (1924-2016, son of Prince Paul) didn't do too badly on the royal marriage market, either. Unfortunately, the Montenegrin dynasty is on the verge of extinction, insofar as the male line is dying out; plus, after the marriage of Crown Prince Danilo and Princess Jutta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, there hasn't been any impressive royal match.
But getting back to my original topic: can anybody name additional examples like the cases of the Bonaparte and Beauharnais families?
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