Elizabeth Monroe

Fifth First Lady of the United States


Elizabeth Monroe was the wife of the fifth President of the United States, President James Monroe. Before his presidency, Elizabeth travelled to both France and England with James, where he served as the American minister. While living in Paris, Elizabeth famously saved the life of a French Revolutionary leader’s wife, who was being held in prison there. Elizabeth held a more reserved personality than the previous first lady, Dolley Madison, for which she was at times criticized. Inspired by her time spent in Europe, Elizabeth brought a more formal style of events to the White House, setting the standard for First Ladies to follow.

Elizabeth chose the furniture for the White House in 1817, much of which remained in the White House until the early 1960’s.

Elizabeth married James at just seventeen years old. Together, they had three children.


While living in France, Elizabeth was often called, “La Belle Americane.”


Elizabeth and James Monroe developed a friendship with Napoleon Bonaparte while living in France.