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Napoleon Bonaparte’s iconic bicorne hat, worn during his reign as the French emperor, achieved a remarkable sale at a recent French auction, fetching nearly two million euros ($2.1 million). The prestigious Osenat auction house conducted the sale, surpassing its own previous record set in 2014. The bicorne, adorned with Napoleon’s signature black color and French flag insignia, garnered global attention from collectors. The auction featured items from the late businessman Jean-Louis Noisiez’s collection, including a Legion of Honour medal and silver spurs owned by Napoleon, all of which exceeded initial estimates.

The final price for the bicorne hat, totaling over double the estimated value and nearly four times the reserve price, demonstrated the immense interest in Napoleon memorabilia. Auctioneers declined to disclose the identity or nationality of the buyer, who participated in the spirited bidding. The hat, last owned by Jean-Louis Noisiez, who passed away the previous year, holds historical significance as part of the emperor’s image during a pivotal period of his rule.

Napoleon’s distinct fashion choice, wearing the hat sideways, not only contributed to his unique silhouette but also served a practical purpose on the battlefield. This particular hat was worn by Napoleon during the middle years of his reign. The emperor, who rose to prominence during the French Revolution, donned the bicorne in a manner easily recognizable by his troops. Despite owning around 120 such hats over 15 years, most have been lost to history.

The successful auction coincided with the upcoming release of a biopic on Napoleon directed by Ridley Scott. The film explores Napoleon’s life, showcasing massive-scale battles across Europe and delving into his complex relationship with Josephine. Actor Joaquin Phoenix, who plays Napoleon, described the emperor as “socially awkward” yet “romantic.” Phoenix noted the challenges of researching Napoleon’s life, citing conflicting historical accounts and emphasizing the film’s focus on inspiration rather than rigid historical accuracy.

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The first four episodes of Netflix’s The Crown, marking the final season, have faced criticism from a majority of critics. This season delves into the events of the late 1990s, with a particular focus on Princess Diana’s relationship with Dodi Fayed and her tragic death. The portrayal of Diana’s character, including the use of her “ghost,” has garnered negative feedback from reviewers, with some describing it as a departure from the show’s earlier strengths.

Critics express dissatisfaction with the writing, with The Guardian giving the series a one-star review, stating that the “Diana-obsessed series is the very definition of bad writing.” The challenges of portraying events within living memory are noted, with some suggesting that the show has lost its balance and is now plummeting in quality.

Despite the negative feedback, there are acknowledgments of strong performances from the cast. Elizabeth Debicki’s portrayal of Diana receives praise, with one review calling it “outstanding.” However, the use of Diana’s ghost and the handling of certain events, such as the car crash scene, have been criticized as desperate or self-defeating.

While The Times offers a four-star review, praising the emotional depth of the season, other critics point out what they perceive as historical inaccuracies and a reliance on speculative elements. The Financial Times suggests that the series takes emotive shortcuts, externalizing the complexity of the royals’ shock and grief, indicating a lack of inspiration.

The Crown has also faced criticism for its depiction of other characters, including Dodi Fayed and his father Mohamed Al-Fayed. Some critics argue that certain portrayals amount to a brutal hatchet job on these characters, deviating from the more nuanced versions presented in earlier seasons.

Despite the mixed reviews, Variety’s Aramide Tinubu believes that the new season has helped the show “reclaim its glittering throne.” The second half of the final season, set to be released in December, will cover additional significant events in the royal family, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Prince Charles and Camilla’s wedding, and the courtship of William and Kate.

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