- Désirée: "Jean! Please forgive me! I have been such a fool! [...] I cannot live without you!"
- Bernadotte: "But Désirée, it cannot be. You are promised to another!"
- ―Désirée confessing her feelings to Bernadotte, 1795.[src]
Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary (1777 – 1860), later known as Desideria, was a French noblewoman, the one-time fiancé of Napoleon Bonaparte, the wife of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, and the Queen of Sweden and Norway from 1818 to 1844.
The daughter of a wealthy merchant in Marseille, Désirée was set to cross paths with two notable military men when she became engaged to Joseph Bonaparte. She later met her fiancé's brother, Napoleon, and through some sort of negotiation ended up engaged to him, while Désirée's older sister married Joseph.
During the French Revolution, Désirée became a target for sans-culottes, who intended to abduct her for a ransom, as she was very wealthy. To avert this, Napoleon sent his fellow captain Jean Bernadotte and the Assassin Arno Dorian to protect her while she visited relatives in the Louvre district of Paris. As Arno fought off the attackers, Désirée was struck by Bernadotte's charms, and a mutual romance began to blossom. However, because she was promised to Napoleon, she resisted Bernadotte's advances despite her feelings.
Eventually, Napoleon became aware of the romance, and asked Arno to look into the matter. Finding evidence that Bernadotte intended to ask for Désirée's hand, Arno attempted to stop Bernadotte and spare Napoleon any embarrassment, but arrived too late. As Bernadotte confronted his superior, Désirée demanded he leave her alone.
However, Napoleon soon lost interest in Désirée and began seeing Joséphine de Beauharnais. Freed from her engagement, Désirée asked Arno to find a despondent Bernadotte, whom she feared had been visiting Paris' courtesans. After Arno escorted Bernadotte back to Désirée, the couple was attacked once more, but the three were able to fight off their attackers again. Bernadotte then proposed to Désirée, to which the latter accepted.
In 1798, Bernadotte and Désirée married. In 1810, when Jean was elected heir-presumptive of the Swedish throne, Désirée became Queen of Sweden, and later Norway.