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July 01, 2011

Advice to Marie Antoinette

While thinking about Will and Kate's recent reception in Canada, as they are on their royal tour, I couldnt help but think of this story about Marie Antoinette. 

One day in 1771, when she was just 15 years old, a new bride and at her new home in France, she chose to walk on a beautiful day from Marly to Versailles.  Once word got out that the dauphine had embarked on a walk (about 5 miles) it was only natural for people to start gathering so that they could catch a glimpse of the young Dauphine! Here is the comte de Mercy's account:

"The people who had assembled to watch her pass were transported with joy. When she arrived at the entrance to the park of Versailles the Dauphine perceived a great crowd and disappeared like a flash, and still on foot."

So she arrived to Versailles and there were tons of people standing around, just waiting to catch a glimpse of her.  At 15, she started to run quickly away.  Mercy did not quite understand why she ran so he asked her about it.  She responded that she had ran away because there were so many people.  The clever comte took this moment as a learning experience and reminded her that she should pay attention to the people, greet them and let them see her while being graceful, and "not showing any repugnance."  Happy Friday!

5 comments

  1. I think if I was 15 and I saw a crowd of people coming at me I might runaway too. Its great to see Catherine have so much style and poise with the spot light being on her.
    Nice picture from movie because thats when she arrived at versaille and every one was looking down at her. I wonder if that happened in real life and thats why she ran away?

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  2. Poor Marie Antoinette for being chided for a perfectly natural response for someone unaccustomed to attention! Heavens, I wouldn't have just run away, I would have hid in some dark hidden corner somewhere and cried!

    It must have been so difficult for her to be seen as a display piece in France compared to Austria where she had privacy.

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  3. If people think we make a big deal over Kate's clothes now, it must be comforting to know she'll probably never lose her head over it.

    Great post! I'm a big fan of your site!

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  4. From accounts of her she seemed such a sweet child! Poor dear.

    xo The 18th Century Blog

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