A Glued Together Portrait of the Queen


I have heard people talk about her beauty, and I admit I never shared their opinion; but she had something that was better suited for the throne, especially when she made an effort not to look pretty; for example, her eyes, we wouldn’t call them beautiful, but they expressed well her attitude: benevolence or aversion showed in her gaze more than in any other person. I am not sure if that nose belonged on her face, and her mouth was definately disagreable — that thick, protruding, sometimes overhanging lip, so often cited as something that gave her a touch of nobility and distinction, was more suited to express anger and indignation, and none of those are considered as attributes of beauty. Her skin was admirable, as were her shoulders; I have never seen prettier arms and hands; but her chest was flat and the waste could be more elegant. She moved in two ways, one was firm and hurried, the other slower and more balanced, almost caressing, but never undignified. Nobody curtsied with more grace when saluting ten people at once, giving with a turn of the head and a look to each what he deserved. To conclude, as we offer other women a chair, you were always ready to do the same with her throne.

Marie-Antoinette’s Page, Count Alexandre Tilly

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