Jérôme Bonaparte was the youngest brother of Napoleon. He joined the French navy in 1800 and on a trip to the United States in 1803 he met Elizabeth Patterson, the daughter of a Baltimore businessman. Despite opposition from her father and Napoleon, the two married and sailed for France in 1805. Complications on the way forced Elizabeth to seek asylum in England and give birth to a son, Jérôme, while her husband continued the journey to France to appeal for Napoleon's acceptance of their marriage. The appeal was rejected and the marriage was annulled. Jérôme was created a prince of the empire, promoted to Admiral, and appointed successor to the imperial throne in the event that Napoleon left no heir. In 1807 he was made King of Westphalia and married Catherine Frederica, Princess of Württemberg. Together they had three children.
Jérôme Bonaparte died on 24 June, 1860 in France and is buried in Les Invalides Paris, of which he had been governor. After the downfall of the second empire Elizabeth Patterson put forward the claim that her son should inherit the imperial throne. She was unsuccessful in her attempts and Jérôme spent most of his life in Baltimore.
For further information on Jérôme and his family miniatures, see E. Shushan, 'Amours en miniatures', Connaissance des Arts, no. 534, December 1996, pp. 106-111.