Thursday, 11 March 2010

Marie Antoinette

I have been rather obsessed with Queen Marie Antoinette since i was about 12 and first read the Jean Plaidy book "Flaunting Extravagant Queen" which is rather oddi suppose as it became pretty much what i turned into !
Marie Antoinette is one of those characters in history who most people know something or other about. Often its wrong however . Most people would say she said "let them eat cake" when the peasents invaded Versailles (the home of the French Royal Family) calling for bread. This is absolute rubbish and the woman who actually said it was her husbands great grandmother ! People assume she was a spendthrift and stupid. Actually by the standards of her class and of the day she was neither. She was just a woman in the wrong place at the wrong time with a not very imaginative or responsive husband. She was a victim really and a very interesting one at that. Over the years i have read everything i have been able to get my hands on about her and the more i have found out the more fascinating she has become to me. She was a lady with an enormous amount of courage and joi de vivre. She faced her downfall and that of her husband and family with brave fortitude and maintained her dignity in extreme and violent circumstances. She was a woman of many facets , a brilliant hostess and style icon (which was required of a French Queen) and kind friend and mother. She was uniquely stylish and went against the mode of the time in dress and appearance , which played a part in her downfall as most of the people surrounding her never quite "got" where she was coming from. She was a free spirit in a stifling court but managed to carve out a life for herself and family. She was unfortunate to be a Queen in a country that was riddled with problems and change and her family paid the price for it. None of us can be responsible for the sins of our ancestors but Antoinette and her family paid the price for 500 years of absolute rule. Anyway , enough of the history lesson. If you ever get the chance , read up on her , she is fascinating , as were her family.

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