Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Queen Hortense: Recollections by the Duchess d'Abrantes

From the memoirs of Laure Junot, Duchess d'Abrantes:
"Hortense de Beauharnais was at this time, 17 years old; she was as fresh as a rose, and though her fine complexion was not relieved by much color, she had enough to produce that freshness and bloom which was her chief beauty; a profusion of white hair played in silky locks round her soft and penetrating blue eyes. The delicate roundness of her figure, slender as a palm tree, was set off by the elegant carriage of her head; her feet were small and pretty; her hands very white, with well-rounded nails. But what formed the chief attraction of Hortense was the grace and suavity of her manners which united the Creole nonchalance with the vivacity of France. She was gay, gentle and amiable; she had wit, without the smallest ill temper, is enough to be amusing. A polished and well conducted education has improved her natural talents; she dances excellently, sang harmoniously, and performed admirably in comedy. ...She became one of the most amiable princesses in Europe. I have seen many, both in their own countries and in Paris, but I never knew one who had any pretensions to equal talents. She was beloved by everyone..."

Queen Hortense


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