Marie Antoinette's World: Intrigue, Infidelity, and Adultery in Versailles

Will Bashor (Author)


This riveting book explores the little-known intimate life of Marie Antoinette and her milieu in a world filled with intrigue, infidelity, adultery, and sexually transmitted diseases. Will Bashor reveals the intrigue and debauchery of the Bourbon kings from Louis XIII to Louis XV, which were closely intertwined with the expansion of Versailles from a simple hunting lodge to a luxurious and intricately ordered palace. It soon became a retreat for scandalous conspiracies and rendezvous--all hidden from the public eye. When Marie Antoinette arrived, she was quickly drawn into a true viper's nest, encouraged by her imprudent entourage. Bashor shows that her often thoughtless, fantasy-driven, and notorious antics were inevitable given her family history and the alluring influences that surrounded her. Marie Antoinette's frivolous and flamboyant lifestyle prompted a torrent of scathing pamphlets, and Bashor scrutinizes the queen's world to discover what was false, what was possible, and what, although shocking, was most probably true. Readers will be fascinated by this glimpse behind the decorative screens to learn the secret language of the queen's fan and explore the dark passageways and staircases of endless intrigue at Versailles.

Product Details

$24.95  $22.95
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
July 30, 2020
6.2 X 9.1 X 0.9 inches | 1.25 pounds
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About the Author

Will Bashor is the author of the award-winning Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution and Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie. He holds a doctorate in international studies from the American Graduate School in Paris and is professor of global issues at Franklin University. He lives in Barcelona, Spain. Visit him at


An intimate portrait of the scandals plaguing the genealogy of Marie Antoinette and a genuine effort to assess her psychology, this fascinating book also reveals private moments with her inner circle as well as the machinations of her enemies. A vastly entertaining read as well as an excellent assessment of the living conditions of the Queen at Versailles, where rumors and stench spread as easily as love intrigues and syphilis.--Servanne Woodward, Western University Canada
A brilliant, and sad, history of the French monarchy and its descent into hell. Reality, gossip, and myths about the last royalty of France meld into a fascinating account by a true connoisseur.--Jean-Clément Martin, l'Université Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne
Insightful and illuminating, Bashor's book takes its readers on a thrilling tour behind the firmly closed bedroom doors and decorative screens of Versailles, where we eavesdrop on the gossip, read the secret messages behind the fans, and witness a world filled with pleasure, ruled by etiquette and dominated by sexual intrigue.--Josephine Wilkinson, author of Louis XIV: The Power and the Glory
Already an established authority on the intimate life of Queen Marie Antoinette, Will Bashor goes a step further in placing her experience within the wider context of court society at Versailles stretching back through an emotional genealogy into the previous century. The result is a saucy re-telling of a tumultuous life in splendid detail.--Jonathan Spangler, Manchester Metropolitan University
Will Bashor's latest book about Queen Marie Antoinette masterfully intertwines the intimate details of the Queen's life at Versailles with a broad panoply of the debauchery that characterized the French monarchy from the reign of Louis XIII to the outbreak of the French Revolution.--Leland Conley Barrows, Voorhees College
A bold, evocative, and compelling portrait of Marie Antoinette, unlike any that have come before. Will Bashor confidently takes the reader on a well-researched, passionately written, historical piece that reveals fascinating, hard-to-deny insights into her intimate life. Readers will forever see Marie Antoinette in a whole new light.--Elissa Shaw, author of the blog Chasing French History
Based on period memoirs and letters, respected biographies, and scurrilous eighteenth-century pamphlets, Will Bashor's new work on Marie Antoinette looks behind the closed doors, underneath the gold and diamond-encrusted gowns, and into the boudoirs of Versailles and elsewhere. This is no excursion for the faint of heart, and Bashor bares it all, from the various positions in which Marie Antoinette found herself to further speculations about what the century's long 'den of iniquity' had been spreading. He weaves a narrative of intrigue, debauchery, licentiousness, and jealousies into historical non-fiction. His new work makes Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) seem boring and tame.--Susan Conner, Albion College