Costumes of the Coronation of Napoleon I, First Emperor of the French, and Consecration of the Empress Josephine

I. Great dress of the Emperor:

The imperial purple velvet coat, dotted with golden bees; in the embroidery are entwined branches of olive, of laurel and of oak that surround the letter N. The lining, the border and the épitoge are in ermine. The open left side of the coat reveals the sword supported by a white satin sash embroidered and trimmed with golden twists; the robe of white satin embroidered with gold on all the seams, the bottom of the robe embroidered and garnished with a golden twist. The tie and the shirt collar are of lace. The gold laurel wreath on his head, the scepter in his right hand, and the “hand of justice” in the left, the Grand Collar of the Order on the épitoge. The white satin cothurnus, embroidered and laced with gold.

II. Undress of the Emperor:

A coat of purple velvet, embroidered with gold and silver; the lining of white satin embroidered with gold on the cuffs and collar. The velvet coat is of the same color, embroidered with gold cobs on the seams; collar and cuffs of white velvet, embroidered in the same way. Black felt hat, topped with white feathers, diamond piping. Tie and shirt collar of lace, the Grand Collar and Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honor; sword enriched with diamonds on the hilt-guard, diamond known as the “Regent”; the white satin sash, embroidered and topped with gold twists, white velvet shoes with satin rosettes, embroidered with gold.

III. Great dress of the Empress:

A coat of purple velvet, sown with golden bees; .in the embroidery, are entwined branches of laurel, of olive and of oak, that surround the letter N. The lining and the border are in ermine. The coat is fastened with a clip, on the belt on the left side. The long-sleeved dress, of silver brocade, strewn with golden bees embroidered on seams … the bottom of the dress, embroidered and trimmed with gold fringes, the bodice and upper sleeves are studded with diamonds. The golden crown, enriched with pearls and colored gemstones, necklace and earrings with engraved gems, surrounded by brilliants, the collar lace in gold lamé.

IV. Undress of the Empress:

The court mantle is in colored velvet with embroidery ten inches tall, and attached to the belt by two clips, the dress with short sleeves is in white satin, embroidered and studded with golden bees; the waist and the slashed sleeves are furnished with diamonds, the collar is in lace; diadem, comb, earrings and necklace are in diamonds.

V. Dress of the Pope:

A cope of golden cloth, embroidered with “bouquets detachés”, lined with colored moire; … the hood and the orfroi are embroidered in the same way, … the ratchet is trimmed with lace; … the tiara is in silvered cloth; … the three crowns and the cross are in gold, enriched with diamonds, pearls and colored gems; … the stole and the slippers are of golden stuff.

VI. Dress of a Princess:

Court dress in white silk, with long-sleeved, embroidered with gold, … Court tail of colored velvet attached to the belt, and it is sown and embroidered with gold, … the collar is of lace; … white feather headdress; … egret, necklace and earrings are of diamonds.

VII. Dress of a Lady of the Palace, carrying the offerings:

Court dress with long sleeves, of satin, embroidered on seams and on the trimming; … court mantle of colored velvet, fastened at the waist; … silver embroidery; … lace collar; … the headdress is of hair and pearls. The tray-cloth is of batiste, embroidered in gold lamé.


All pictures of the coronation are taken from "Livre du sacre de l’Empereur Napoleon" by Isabey, Percier and Fontaine. Text by Frederic Masson. Bibliothèque Nationale, Réserve des Imprimés, Paris.

[ 35 ]

Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde Impériale

Édouard Detaille, 1867

[ 26 ]

If anyone is interested I found this post that has a whole bunch of links and info on Napoleonic era uniforms

[ 27 ]


French Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars, Illustrations by Hippolyte Bellangéc, c. 1843 via Wikimedia Commons

[ 105 ]

Napoleon: Total War concept art by Björn Hurri

[ 40 ]

The Battle of Waterloo, 18th June 1815 by Nicolas Toussaint Charlet (x)


The Battle of Waterloo, 18th June 1815 by Nicolas Toussaint Charlet (x)

[ 69 ]


Uniformes hussard, 1807, Musée de L’Empéri, Salon de Provence, France.

[ 103 ]


"Major Forrester, an Officer of the 15th of King’s Hussars, taken from Life," by Robert Dighton, 1804

[ 59 ]


First meeting of Napoleon and Josephine, by Jules-Georges Bondoux. Detail.

[ 73 ]


Leroy Neiman: Napoleon Bonaparte.

[ 88 ]