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June 11, 2008

Archduke Maximilian Franz of Austria tells the Princes of the Blood what he really thinks

Joseph Hauzinger,  Archduke Maximilian Franz of Austria, son of Empress Maria Theresia of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor Franz I. Stephan of Lorraine, is visiting his sister Queen Marie Antoinette of France and her husband King Louis XVI of France. 1776. Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Archduke Maximilian Franz paid a visit to his sister, Marie Antoinette, Feb 1775. But when he arrived at the French Court he did not go by, Archduke Maximilian Franz, rather, the Comte de Burgau. Who is the Comte de Burgau you may ask??

Well, the constraints of etiquette and ritual were so suffocating and intricate to those who did not live within the system at the court of
France, that it was difficult for
visitors to figure out what the heck was going on around them. Also- the formal rules gave pretty much no precedence or privileges to foreign royalty soooo almost all foreign royals travelled to Versailles,
incognito.

How fun!! like a real life masquerade, in broad day light! Of course, its hard to fool everyone all the time, and our Archduke did not choose a totally fool proof design. One of the Queens friends, the Comte de La Marck (Flemish nobleman; prince d'Arenberg) saw right through the Archduke.


18th century masquerade, from Marie Antoinette, 2006.

"There was not the slightest doubt that it was the archduke under an incognito title, who should have paid the first visit to the Princes of the House of Orleans, House of Conde, the House of Conti and the House of Penthievre."
Maximilian was basically like 'shove it Princes of the Blood'

"He did not do so (visit their lazy Highnesses) and his failure to do so was construed as a claim that they should have paid the first visit and called upon him and that he had taken umbrage."
So since the Archduke made it so far as to visit the French Court he saw no reason why the Princes of the Blood couldn't swing by and say 'hey man thanks for coming, you must come over for poker juedi, and the Duc d'Orleans is having that hot Cavendish chic over next week. Theres gonna be a sweet party in the gardens of Saint Cloud. You gotta come.' 


3 comments

  1. Oh man, don't even get me started on those princes of the blood!

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  2. Fun, and accurate post!
    I love your blog, but I have an issue: the portrait you have on your header is NOT Marie-Antoinette. It represents Madame Louise, one of the daughters of Louis XV.
    True, it used to be called "La Petite Reine" ("The Little Queen") until someone noticed that the eyes of the lady were brown, not blue like Marie-Antoinette's.
    It is, by the way, displayed at the current Marie-Antoinette exhibition at the Grand Palais, with portraits of the Queen's entourage.

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  3. how interesting- I never even noticed the eyes!

    ReplyDelete