No one is more synonymous with the French Revolution than Marie Antoinette. Notorious spendthrift, Austrian spy, and licentious adulterer, Marie became the focus point for everything the French public despised about the Monarchy and the wider Aristocracy. After all, upon hearing the French peasants could not afford bread, she said “Let them eat cake!” Except she didn’t. A vaguely named “Grand Princess” supposedly uttered that statement before Marie Antoinette’s arrival in France. Is it possible many of Marie’s infamous traits were exaggerations, if not outright slander? If so, who was the real Marie Antoinette and what kind of Queen was she? Continue reading
HALLOWEEN 2016: BY MARIANNA KAPLUN
Curious thing, but we don’t often hear about happy, friendly ghosts. More often they seem to be unfriendly spirits who cannot rest. In August 1901 one English woman Miss Charlotte Anne Moberley visited France. When she walked through the Petit Trianon, a small château in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, she saw a woman at the window of a building, which was not there in 1901. Continue reading
JULY / AUG 2014: BY CHARITY BISHOP
Did Marie Antoinette ever utter those famous words, “Let them eat cake?” in response to the starving masses of Paris? Whether she did or not doesn’t matter; it encompasses the indulgent lifestyle of the French aristocracy, in comparison with the poverty of the people of France, during the pivotal months leading up to the French Revolution.
History is written by the victors, and we can’t trust the voices of contemporary Parisians due to bias. Perspective colors every aspect of life, and someone on the outside looking in has no more insight into Marie Antoinette than she had into the poor people of France. If she said it, and if she didn’t, it nevertheless served its purpose in vindicating the loss of her head. If you can transform a human into a monster who cares little for her subjects, there is no “sin” in dispatching with her life. Continue reading