Madame de Pompadour was her own greatest creation. It was Louis XV who turned Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson into madame la marquise de Pompadour; but it was Jeanne Poisson who made Madame de Pompadour the dazzling personage known to history. She was, after all, an actress, and she assumed the role of mistress to the king with aplomb, as she did its subsequent evolutions. Whatever the heartache and disillusionment, the exhaustion and disgust, she stayed in character. She died convinced of the purity of her intentions, with a clear conscience, and with a control of iron over her life’s last act.