by Juliet Grey
myths about the Tragic Queen.
... 1. Marie Antoinette never said “Let them eat cake.”
She did however say, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (“Let them eat brioche”), and it may have fact been uttered by Maria Theresa, the Spanish-born Queen of Louie XIV. Marie was said to have made many financial and material contributions to the poor peasantry and citizenry of France.
2. Marie Antoinette was not a blond.
She was strawberry blond. Turns out Madame du Barry, King Louis XV’s saucy mistress, nicknamed Marie “la petite rousse.” The little redhead.
3. Marie Antoinette was not French.
She was Austrian. And the hopes of peace between two countries was pinned on her to smooth some ruffled feathers. Unfortunately Marie became the scapegoat of many of France’s problems.
4. Marie’s shopping benders did not bankrupt France.
France’s was broke long before she showed up at Versailles. France was further depleted by Louis’s generous gift to the American colonists that funded the American Revolution. But the lady did like to shop.
5. Marie Antoinette never milked her own cows.
I had never heard this one, but according to Grey, she did commission a small cottage on her grounds at Petit Trianon which had a working farm and dairy with additional cottages for impoverished farmers.
6. Marie Antoinette was not promiscuous.
She was actually a virgin for the first seven years of her marriage.
7. Marie Antoinette was not the power behind the throne.
She freely admitted her lack of political talent, but also stated that Louis XVI did not allow her any input or influence over his government.