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 The Charity of Marie Antoinette 
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Post The Charity of Marie Antoinette
Hello,
I have come across a couple of references to Marie's charitable nature, including one regarding a poor boy that she came across which is mentioned in the Sofia Copolla film. Another writer from her time testifies that she absolutely relished any chance to good. Does anyone have any information relating to real instances that show her compassionate and charitable side? I think that this is a subject often overlooked when discussing the queen.

Thanks,
Ray

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Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:24 am
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Post Re: The Charity of Marie Antoinette
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2008/01/queens-compassion.html
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2007/02/charitable-works-of-louis-xvi-and-marie.html

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Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:02 am
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Post Re: The Charity of Marie Antoinette
I think I remember her wanting to help the little boy before she conceived her first child. Most likely this was out of her frustration that she wasn't pregnant, but I also believe that she truly cared about children and helping out when a situation presented itself. I remember reading how she wouldn't let go of the boy and kept saying "he's mine, he's mine."


Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:48 pm
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Post Re: The Charity of Marie Antoinette
That information was really interesting!
I knew about the children she adopted and about the charitable work that were, to a certain degree, customary for kings and queens but toward which she was particularly disposed; I didn't know about the story of the madman, though.

I emember a couple of other episodes that hit me. One is about her children playing with common children. I know she tried very hard to convince Marie Therese to play with a poor girl treating, and to serve her in some occasions. Marie Therese was quite proud and stubborn as a child, and MA thought that feature to be something to correct. Louis Charles, on the other hand, was, according to her words, anaware of social standings, and she once wrote she was happy of that, commenting "we usually learn too soon who we are". This is not really about charity, but it says a lot about her charachter.

I also remember reading that, after the royal famly were caught in Varennes, they were momentarily housed in someone's house (I can't remember who, sorry), and MA istinctively gave part of her food to some poor girls who were passing out of the house. Then someone stopped them from receiving it alleging that she wanted to poison them!

I think she was very compassionate by nature, and one can see that in all her personal relationships. She was, especially, very caring toward others. Of course, this meant that she was also well disposed toward charitable works.

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Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:37 pm
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Post Re: The Charity of Marie Antoinette
I agree, MA was very charitable by instinct. That's said, when she was younger, she often forgot that some of the money that was alotted to her had to be granted for charitable actions. She wasted a lot of money gambling, so that she resorted to asking money to those who played with her... To me, she was naturally generous and kind hearted, we can notice that when she acted on a whim. But in her everyday life, she was absorbed by so many superficial things to devote herself to charity, like other queens such as Marie-Thérèse of Spain and Marie Leszcinska, being also far less devout.

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Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:48 pm
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Post Re: The Charity of Marie Antoinette
Yes, I think her main problem, at least in her first years at Versailles, was not to distinguish between her private life and public duties very well. I mean: in private life she was really a very generous person. She was ready to do anything for the one she loved. And not only she was concerned about her friends: when she saw a child in difficulty, as you said, she was ready to adopt him, and was also very concerned with charitable works.
But maybe she didn't really see them as part of something bigger, I mean a sovereign's duty. A lot of money could have been used better, and she didn't understand that it would have been important to do something more, also on an official plan, to improve the condition of the starving people.
At the same moment, I can someway understand her. I see her as a quite lonely person, put inside a game which was bigger than her and that she didn't have the means to understand fully. The natural thing for a lot of us in that situation is trying to do the nest with what you have around you; but this can lead to misunderstanding of the consequences of your actions. She spent a lot of money in gambling and in parties, jewels and so on, and all of this without being a cold or cinic sort of person.
Maybe this is part of the charm her character has upon me...maybe because I see in her a frailty that I could have had as well.

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Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:56 pm
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Post Re: The Charity of Marie Antoinette
Thank you so much dear Delicate Fleur for those two amazing links! I was so enraptured reading them that I forgot that I had linked to another site and only realized it when I moved my mouse to post a reply. Thank you also Rosalie for your interesting and thoughtful posts. Finally, last but not least, I thank you all (everyone) for your wonderful comments and insightful contributions. This is what makes Marie Antoinette Online so deliciously sweet.

Sincerely Grateful,
Ray

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"...little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her...I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult."
Edmund Burke, (1790)


Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:11 am
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Post Re: The Charity of Marie Antoinette
Ludy wrote:
But in her everyday life, she was absorbed by so many superficial things to devote herself to charity, like other queens such as Marie-Thérèse of Spain and Marie Leszcinska, being also far less devout.

What sort of charitable works did Maria Leszczyńska undertake? I read somewhere else on this site that she spent more on diamonds in 2 months (or years) than Marie Antoinette did in her entire reign.

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Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:50 am
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Post Re: The Charity of Marie Antoinette
Délicate fleur wrote:
Ludy wrote:
But in her everyday life, she was absorbed by so many superficial things to devote herself to charity, like other queens such as Marie-Thérèse of Spain and Marie Leszcinska, being also far less devout.

What sort of charitable works did Maria Leszczyńska undertake? I read somewhere else on this site that she spent more on diamonds in 2 months (or years) than Marie Antoinette did in her entire reign.


Queen Marie and her daughters, the Mesdames de France, were patronesses of many charitable organizations. I have not heard that Queen Marie spent so much on diamonds. Are you sure it was not La Pompadour?

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Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:54 pm
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Post Re: The Charity of Marie Antoinette
Therese wrote:
Délicate fleur wrote:
Ludy wrote:
But in her everyday life, she was absorbed by so many superficial things to devote herself to charity, like other queens such as Marie-Thérèse of Spain and Marie Leszcinska, being also far less devout.

What sort of charitable works did Maria Leszczyńska undertake? I read somewhere else on this site that she spent more on diamonds in 2 months (or years) than Marie Antoinette did in her entire reign.

Queen Marie and her daughters, the Mesdames de France, were patronesses of many charitable organizations. I have not heard that Queen Marie spent so much on diamonds. Are you sure it was not La Pompadour?

Perhaps it was. I thought I read it here, so that doesn't necessarily make it accurate.

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Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:51 am
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