|Joseph Ducreux After French, 1735-1802, Marie Antoinette as a Young Girl. Dates not recorded, oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston|
"She has a most graceful figure; holds herself well; and if, as may be hoped, she grows a little taller, she will possess every good quality one could wish for in a great princess. Her heart and character are both excellent."
How tall was Marie Antoinette? This statement was made when she was around 13. There have been many debates on how tall Marie Antoinette actually was, the number is unknown for sure. Speculation has found her to be anywhere from as tall as 5'6'' and a shorter 5' 2.5''.
5'6'' would be rather tall for the 18th century lady. As she had been observed and described we must remember she would always be found in her fashionable heeled shoes, and miles-high poufs. Along with posture fit for a queen (and helped by those grand corsets), she would certainly appear tall to contemporaries. She also had better nutrition than most. It can be agreed she was somewhere between the two but I would say closer to 5' 2.5''.
By the 18th century height was at an all time low! (between the 9th -18th cent.'s) Yes, people grew shorter. The 18th century population was on average 2.5 inches shorter than their medieval ancestors.
If someone would be so kind as to measure the length of the death mask at Madame Tussaud's we can get an idea of how tall Marie Antoinette's height was based on the ideal cannon of proportions! (I know, that is dark) Too bad we do not have any exact numbers...