DESIREE CLARY, FROM MARSEILLE TO SWEDEN
An episode from the series SECRETS OF HISTORY - PORTRAITS
A simple commoner from a bourgeois family, Désirée Clary became the first monarch of the Bernadotte dynasty, which still reigns over Sweden.
She owed her social rise to her relationships, notably Napoleon, her first lover. In 1798, she married Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Marshal of the Empire, who got the Swedish crown after heightened secret negotiations.
Refusing the court's etiquette, strong-willed and struggling with the northern climate, she returned to France, where she fell in love with Louis XVIII's Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Duke of Richelieu.