Jean-Christophe Napoléon (C) is one of Napoléon Bonaparte's last direct descendants.
ADRIEL REBOH / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
  • Prince Jean-Christophe Napoléon - a direct descendant of Napoléon Bonaparte - helped track down a priceless family heirloom after it was stolen in Paris.
  • The heirloom in question was a 40-carat diamond taken from the crown of France's last empress, Eugénie, which Jean-Christophe had given to his fiancée in an engagement ring.
  • According to Le Parisien, the jewel is valued at more than €1 million (R15 million).
  • By checking his fiancée's bank accounts, the couple were able to track the thief to a nearby hotel, where police were able to identify the man and later arrest him.
  • A source close to the investigation told Le Parisien that the thief likely did not realise the value of the ring that he'd stolen.

Napoléon Bonaparte's blood still courses through the veins of his descendants, it would seem.

One of his last direct heirs, Prince Jean-Christophe Napoléon, helped track down a thief who unintentionally made off with a priceless family heirloom.

Jean-Christophe was in Paris with his fiancée Countess Olympia von Arco-Zinneburg when a ring, set with a 40-carat diamond taken from the crown of France's last empress, Eugénie, was stolen from their unlocked Mercedes GL outside the luxurious Hotel d'Aubusson.

According to Le Parisien, the jewel is valued at more than €1 million (R15 million).

Jean-Christophe had given the ring to the countess, who is the daughter of Count Riprand of Arco-Zinneburg and Archduchess Maria Beatrice of Austria-Este. J, when they were engaged last month.

According to The Telegraph, the ring had been stolen from the countess' bag, which had been left in the unlocked car.

Hotel d'Aubusson in Paris where Jean-Christophe and his fiancée were staying.
Google Maps

The couple reportedly checked the countess's bank accounts and found that her credit card had been used at a sushi restaurant and then a nearby hotel where police were able to obtain an image of the suspect on CCTV.

Police were then able to track the thief, described as a 30-year-old Egyptian man with a criminal history, to his home, where he was arrested on Saturday.

"He [the thief] apparently didn't realise the value of the ring," a source close to the investigation told Le Parisien.

"The investigators did a great job. It was a race against the clock as the thief could have gotten rid of the jewel at any moment."

Jean-Christophe is the great-great-great-great-nephew of Emperor Napoleon I (who has no legitimate direct descendants) through the emperor's youngest brother, Jérôme, King of Westphalia.

He is one of the many pretenders to the now-defunct French throne, which is claimed also by Legitimists (supporters of the house of Bourbon) and Orléanists (supporters of the House of Orléans).

However, Jean-Christophe has said in the past that he is "a man of my time" and rarely makes public appearances.

The emperor's descendant is a London financier working in private equity for Blackstone - he's previously worked on Wall Street for the likes of Morgan Stanley and graduated from Harvard Business School, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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