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Old September 3rd, 2013, 03:47 AM   #41

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Was she not having an affair with one of the guard's officers and did she not build her own little disney dreamland to parade around in? That's pretty daft when people are starving outside the palace gates.

I vaguely remember seeing that in a documentary a while ago and was always given the impression that that was the case.
she did not build a Disney dreamland, though she had beautiful gardens laid out at the Petit Trianon (hardly unusual for upper class people at this time). She built a rustic village at the Petit Trianon, it is called the Hammeau and you can still visit it today. I was there last week, it is beautiful. There was a farm there which was run by a couple who looked after the cows, and there was a dairy where the Queen and her friends made butter.

people who knew the Queen personally said that she was kind and generous. that was the opinion for instance of her perfumer, Fargeon, whose biography 'A Scented Palace' I have just read. he was a staunch Republican, but he had personal affection and respect for the Queen. She adopted or took into her protection several children of the poor, and twelve poor families were given homes at the Trianon, and she paid all their expenses out of her own allowance. she gave generously to the poor of Versailles in times of hardship.

her only affair, if it was an affair,was with Axel Fersen, probably not until after the revolution had started, and the royal family had been moved to the Tuilleries.
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 11:46 AM   #42

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I recently watched the Danish film "A Royal Affair", and I do believe this very illustration made an appearance in it.

In the film the Danish Queen is having an affair with the King's enlightened chief advisor, so you can kind of see the connection.
Nice film, but the Danish Queen's lover was a doctor, not an officer.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 12:04 AM   #43

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Nice film, but the Danish Queen's lover was a doctor, not an officer.
Are you referring to real life, because in the film the doctor quite clearly assumed the role of chief advisor. In fact it was pretty clear, again according to the film, that he even graduated to basically running the whole country until he was ousted.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 12:23 PM   #44

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Are you referring to real life, because in the film the doctor quite clearly assumed the role of chief advisor. In fact it was pretty clear, again according to the film, that he even graduated to basically running the whole country until he was ousted.
I mean the man in the picture above dressed in French military uniform. Moreover, we could see an emblem of royal France - three lilies, so it couldn't has something in common with Danish affair.

But I agree with you that situation described in the movie is similar to story of Marie Antoinette. Reactionary forces used rumours and pamphlets to ruin reputation of the queen's friend and finally beheaded the poor guy.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 01:15 PM   #45

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I mean the man in the picture above dressed in French military uniform. Moreover, we could see an emblem of royal France - three lilies, so it couldn't has something in common with Danish affair.

But I agree with you that situation described in the movie is similar to story of Marie Antoinette. Reactionary forces used rumours and pamphlets to ruin reputation of the queen's friend and finally beheaded the poor guy.
Oh sorry, I understand now.

You make a good point, but I suppose the makers of the movie thought that the casual viewer wouldn't spot the oddities.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 02:19 PM   #46

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She was remarkably stupid and I think she was genuinely clueless of the situation in France and her impending doom. She spent all her money building a dream world and being a little tart with the guard's officers. I doubt her self centred and myopic views ever moved further than her powder puffs.
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She was the 18thC version of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Unfortunately they aren't going to suffer the same fate.

While I agree with much of what Louise C has said about the good character of Marie Antoinette, the Earl of Rochester accurately states the views that the pamphlets of the day conveyed to the Court of Versailles and the French public about the character and activities of the Queen of France.


Those pamphlets conveyed the view that Marie Antoinette was indeed a tart – an insatiable sex addict with a taste for both men and women. Marie Antoinette in real life did enjoy the company of handsome and frivolous young men and women who liked to play innocent games with her at Petit Trianon. The pamphlets and rumors that swelled around Versailles built that up – calling the queen’s activities “orgies”.

The Earl of Rochester says the Queen was having it off with officers of her guard. There is no real evidence that ever occurred. Yet, the pamphlets of the time portrayed just that to the French public. Below is an example of what of the gravures of the time showing Marie Antoinette enjoying sex with one and perhaps more of her palace guards.

Click the image to open in full size.

There was also wide resentment of her expenditures for the Petit Trianon. In 1789, when the Estates General convened members of the Third Estate asked to see the rooms of the Petit Trianon that were decorated with rubies and diamonds – such was the common held belief in the Queen’s extravagance.

It is true that the Queen had reduced her expenditures in the late 1780s as she too tried to cut back in the face of the mounting deficit. However, the public was not aware of such reductions. There were also notable exceptions to the Queen’s move toward “economy” – as late as 1785, the Queen induced Louis XVI to spent a very large sum to purchase the Castle of St. Cloud because she was convinced that the air of Saint-Cloud would be good for her children. That castle cost 6, 000,000 livres - that’s 4 times more than the famous diamond necklace that cost 1,500,000 livres. So, there was much truth to her extravagance as a time when so many of the French were poor and starving.

Last edited by Axel; September 4th, 2013 at 02:47 PM.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 03:55 AM   #47

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“Let them eat cake”… It is one of the most famous quotes in history and forever linked to Queen Marie Antoinette who supposed said that when told her subjects, the French people had no bread.
Yet, that quote – so arrogant, so indifferent, so callous …was actually never said by Marie Antoinette.

It is just a part of the bad press she received. Marie Antoinette in fact was the object of a campaign of vilification that took place from the time she ascended the throne as Queen of France in 1774 during the next 15 years of her reign and then into the years of the French Revolution from 1789 to her death at the hands of the Revolution in 1793. This campaign took the form of crude pamphlets circulated at court and in Paris and then later more widely circulated through the country. In these “tabloids” of their day, Marie Antoinette was portrayed not only as extravagant, frivolous, arrogant and callous to the sufferings of her people, but as a bi-sexual nyphomahic, rapacious in her lusts for men and women, forever cuckolding her weak, impotent husband King Louis XVI. She was called a Messalina and compared to all the worst queens in French and European history.

Below are several engravings from pamphlets of the time –


- Marie Antoinette in bed with the Princesse de Lamballe


Click the image to open in full size.


- Marie Antoinette in close embrace kissing her favorite Duchesse de Polignac

Click the image to open in full size.


- Marie Antoinette with her brother in law , the king’s younger brother – the Count d’Artois, one of the Queen’s many rumored lovers.

Click the image to open in full size.


The campaign by the pamphlets of libel, pornography and vilification against Marie Antoinette was the subject of Chantal Thomas’ book “Wicked Queen” and Lynn Hunt’s book “Family Romance of the French Revolution” and numerous articles. It was also a prominent feature of the David Grubin documentary “Marie Antoinette” that aired a few years ago on PBS.

What are your views of the pamphlets and press treatment of Queen Marie Antoinette?

- Do you agree there was a campaign to attack and discredit her?

- If so, who were her attackers? And what was their objective?

- It’s said where there is fire, there is first smoke – do you see Marie Antoinette at all complicit in her own distruction? Or do you see her as simply a victim?

- How do you assess the effect of these pamphlets – on the reputation of Marie Antoinette? On the events of the French revolution? On the final treatment and fate of Marie Antoinette?
Thank you for this post. Even today there are those who believe MA was guilty of treason and the reason for the revolution. She was indeed a political sacrificial lamb; she needs to be exonerated and applauded for her loyalty to her husband and France, even in the face of death.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 12:14 PM   #48

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Thank you for this post. Even today there are those who believe MA was guilty of treason and the reason for the revolution. She was indeed a political sacrificial lamb; she needs to be exonerated and applauded for her loyalty to her husband and France, even in the face of death.
If we suppose that revolutionary government was legal, then some signs of treason existed. MA secretely bribed Mirabeau and other officials, arranged banquet for guard officers to encourage them against revolutionaries, negotiated with enemies during the war.

By the way modern France recognized the revolution as something positive because 14th of July and Marseillaise are official symbols.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 03:23 PM   #49

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If we suppose that revolutionary government was legal, then some signs of treason existed. MA secretely bribed Mirabeau and other officials, arranged banquet for guard officers to encourage them against revolutionaries, negotiated with enemies during the war.

By the way modern France recognized the revolution as something positive because 14th of July and Marseillaise are official symbols.

is not revolution itself treason?
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Old September 5th, 2013, 04:04 PM   #50

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is not revolution itself treason?
Only when the rebels win, then it's a revolution.
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