Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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BONAPARTE , Prince LOUIS-LUCIEN ( 1813 - 1891 ).

Son of Lucien (and nephew of Napoleon ) Bonaparte . Born 4 Jan. 1813 at Thorngrove, Worcs. He lived in England until 1848 , when he returned to France . There, after the Revolution , he was made a deputy for Corsica ( 28 Nov. ). When that election was set aside he was elected in July 1849 deputy for the Seine . He sat on the benches of the Right in the Assembly but took no direct part in his cousin's coup d'état in Dec. 1850 . Although Napoleon III created him a senator and prince he displayed little interest in the politics of the Second Empire and, when the Third Republic was proclaimed in 1870 , retired to England where he took up philology . His principal subject was Basque but he was also interested in other Celtic languages and published some of his studies on initial mutation; see particularly his Initial Mutations in the Living Celtic, Basque, Sardinian, and Italian Dialects , 1885 .

He possessed the only surviving copy (as far as is known) of the book Athravaeth Gristnogavl , by Morys Clynnog , and Wales is indebted to him not only for drawing attention to its existence but also for transcribing it for the Cymmrodorion and for giving them permission to publish it in 1880 .

He d. 3 Nov. 1891.


  • Encyclopaedia Britannica (14th ed.), iii, 836, Bonaparte (family);
  • Revue Celtique (1870–1934) , xiv, 1893 , 71-2;
  • Athravaeth Gristnogavl, le cair uedi cynnuys yn grynno'r hol brifbynciau syd i gyfaruydo dyn ar y phord i baraduys. Originally printed at Milan, A.D. 1568. Reproduced in fac-simile from the unique copy in the possession of H.I.H. Prince L. L. Bonaparte, etc. (London, 1880);
  • his letters (etc.) in Bangor Manuscripts at University College North Wales Library, Bangor 6205-24 - 6223 is a copy of his will;
  • Brynley F. Roberts, 'A gentle and amiable prince': Louis-Lucien Bonaparte and Welsh studies', Trans. Cymm., new series, vol.2, 1996, pp.79-99.


Professor John Ellis Caerwyn Williams, M.A., B.D., (1912-99), Bangor / Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959