Archive for January, 2011
Question: Were Louis XVI and his children from Marie Antoinette the most "foreign" of French kings? Or was Louis XIV?
Since Louis XV married a Polish princess, was that the first time a "non-Germanic" queen ruled France? Weren't all of the Merovingian, Carolingians, Capetians, Bourbons, Valois "Franks"? Was Marie Antoinette the only Habsburg queen of France? Was it odd for Louis XV to marry a Polish princess?
Answer: Marie Antoinette was born an Archduchess of Austria, however, throughout the history of French Queens, there were three other Queens from the Spanish/Austrian background
Marie-Thérèse of Austria (1638 – July 30)
Anne of Austria (1601 -1666)
Elisabeth of Austria (1554 – 1592)
Queen Maria of France is probably the most "foreign" figure in the French royal family history. Maria Karolina Zofia Felicja Leszczyńska (June 23, 1703 – June 24, 1768) was a queen consort of France and a Polish princess. Marie's early life was troubled by her father's political misfortune. Ironically, King Stanisław's hopeless political career was eventually the reason that his daughter Marie became queen of France. Cardinal Fleury, Louis XV's Prime Minister, wanted to find his king a royal bride who would not drag France into any complicated political alliances. Since Stanisław's royal power no longer existed, Marie was chosen to marry the young French king.
Some other foreign French Queens were:
Margaret of Scotland (1424–45)
Mary of England (1496–1533)
Eleanor of Austria, Queen of Portugal (1498 – 1558)
Catherine de' Medici (1519 – 1589)
For a complete list of Queens of France visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_of_France
Marie Antoinette 1938 - (part14/16)
Question: What did Marie Antoinette mean by "Let them eat cake"?
Answer: She didn't say that phrase.
"Let them eat cake" is the traditional translation of the French phrase "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", supposedly said by a French princess upon learning that the peasants had no bread. As brioche is a luxury bread enriched with eggs and butter, it would reflect the princess's obliviousness to the nature of a famine.
Although commonly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, there is no record of these words ever having been uttered by her; they first appear in The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, his putative autobiographical work (completed in 1769, when Marie Antoinette was 13), where he wrote the following in Book 6:
Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.
Finally I recalled the worst-recourse of a great princess to whom it was said that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: "Let them eat brioche."
Rousseau does not name the "great princess" and there is speculation that he invented the anecdote, which has no other sources.
Let them eat cake