Having swept all before her on the European clay, Williams was heavily fancied to continue her hot streak when the tour made the switch to grass at the start of June.
As has become custom, Williams - and several other members of the Top 10 - eschewed playing a tune-up event before Wimbledon, leaving the path clear for the unexpected trio of Elena Vesnina, Daniela Hantuchova and Simona Halep to triumph in Eastbourne, Birmingham and 's-Hertogenbosch, respectively.
There were plenty of surprises at the All-England Club too, with a number of high-profile names suffering premature exits. Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Sara Errani, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki all fell early, however, it was Williams' fourth round loss to Sabine Lisicki that really set tongues wagging.
Lisicki's devastating power on the court and disarming personality off it captured the public's imagination, a relationship that blossomed further when she backed up her upset of the defending champion with an equally thrilling semifinal victory over Agnieszka Radwanska.
On the other side of the draw, the exits of Azarenka and Sharapova left 2011 champion Petra Kvitova as most people's pick to reach the final. Yet in this most unpredictable of fortnights it came as no real surprise when she slipped up against Kirsten Flipkens, leaving the door ajar for Bartoli.
It was an opportunity that Bartoli, appearing in her 47th Grand Slam, was not about to let slip by.
After brushing aside Flipkens, the Frenchwoman produced a near-flawless display in the final. Hogging the baseline and striking the ball flat and early, Bartoli overwhelmed Lisicki, 61 64, to finally fulfill her childhood ambition of lifting the famous Venus Rosewater Dish.