Versailles “Secret” (Diplomatic Correspondence: Denon to Vergennes)

“The Queen, who pretends to run things around here, talks a lot and never finishes anything. Violent and passionate, she is a victim of her tastes, and all of her politics is an attempt to reconcile her tastes and the objectives of her politics. Her main preoccupation is to triumph imperiously over her rivals, and by doing so to gain esteem in the eyes of her ladies in waiting; she hides intrigues behind intrigues and pays a lot for the pleasures that she enjoys little.”

Denon does not have much to say about the King, only that he is spineless and consequently all his virtues and goodness, in absence of character, turn into another misfortune. In the end it is shocking to learn that he writes to Vergennes not about Marie-Antoinette, but her sister, Marie-Caroline, and not about Louis XVI, but his Spanish cousin, Ferdinand.

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