Tag Archives: The real Marie-Antoinette

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What Changed My Mind About Marie Antoinette

I haven’t always liked Marie Antoinette. I still don’t. I admire her.
If you asked me eight years ago how I felt about the queen, I would say she’s horrible. I read a book about it. Yet also in the library was a book about the summer she and Louis fell in love and also how sickening rumors tore down her image. I had mixed feelings about Marie Antoinette. Information about her is so contradictory and confusing.
Mothers Day two years ago I was asked to give a talk in church. I was asked to include mothers–or mother type figures–in the talk. That was easy. Princess Elisabeth, the sister of Louis XVI. She had no children but helped her niece, Marie-Thérèse, become a survivor during the French Revolution. I had the Bourbon family fresh on my mind because I just read Susan Nagel’s book, Marie-Thérèse, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter.
The book left me plenty to think about. I was shocked by Marie Antoinette. Just how good of a mother, wife, and sister-in-law she was. I was touched when I read about a scene where Marie Antoinette counsels her daughter on how to present herself to the king with reverence and respect.
But it was the summer of 2014–my “Soul Searching Summer”–is when I officially knew I loved Marie Antoinette and that she’s a good role model.
I read a lot  on Elena Maria Vidal’s website Tea at Trianon –a site that presents straight facts that prove Marie Antoinette is a totally different from media portrayals and sensational biographies. My heart was softened when I read about other people’s memories of her and laughed at her interactions with Princess Elisabeth.
I came to love Marie Antoinette by learning about how she interacted with people. I’ve prayed and pondered about it. Marie Antoinette was truly good.
Image:
Queen Marie Antoinette of France and two of her Children Walking in The Park of Trianon  by Adolph-Ulrich Wertmüller
Marie-Antoinette with her children by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.

Marie-Antoinette: The Maligned Queen

I wrote how impressed I was with how Philippa Langley headed the operation to find Richard III’s grave.

Richard III. A very complex man. Shakespeare brought us the image of a murderous hunchback with a withered arm which caused the king to be maligned.

Is there a “maligned queen” in history?

Hollywood and sensational biographers keep bringing an image of an irresponsible  Marie-Antoinette only caring about looks, the most expensive luxuries in life, and her dashing lovers. And we keep falling for it.

Even I resisted the idea to give her her own post. Everyone knows who Marie-Antoinette is, so why bother? But as I researched her sister-in-law and daughter I was led to a different side of the queen who NEVER said “Let them eat cake.” Very few actually know the real Marie-Antoinette.

One of my favorite websites about strong woman is Elena Maria Vidal’s website Tea at Trianon.  Anyone truly interested in Marie- Antoinette needs to go there. Good layout, pictures, and FACTS about Marie-Antoinette. Vidal backs up her articles with credible sources and gives references where we can learn more. I like how she discusses when certain myths appeared, who made them popular, and their motives. Her article  “Marie Antoinette: A Reputation in Shreds” is a must-read for every student who studies the French Revolution era and every history teacher—including college professors.

Arrest of Louis XVI and His Family Varennes, 1791

Arrest of Louis XVI and His Family Varennes, 1791

Before I post about the three wise women of Christmas, I knew I had to post about Marie-Antoinette. She kept coming to my mind because she was a person who understood the true meaning of Christmas. I thought how she encouraged her children to give away their Christmas presents. How she didn’t leave her husband, and how she strived to keep the family together to the point of her hair actually turning white in prison.

Marie-Antoinette is one of the women I respect most in history.

Marie-Antoinette in the Temple

Marie-Antoinette in the Temple

 

Paintings:
Marie-Antoinette with Her Children by Élisabeth Vigée-LebrunVarennes, 21st June 1791, XIX sec. painting
Marie Antoinette in The Temple, XIX sec. painting