William Godwin's Diary


The Times, 12 March 1805, reported the news that Napoleon decided to invest himself with sovereignty over Lombardy, rather than his brother Joseph as had previously been planned. On 17 March 1805 the Italian Republic became the Kingdom of Italy, with Napoleon as king and his stepson, Eugène de Beauharnais, as viceroy. At a ceremony in the Duomo di Milano cathedral on 26 May 1805, Napoleon was crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy. This occasion was a major stage in Napoleonic France’s shift from a republic to a hereditary empire.