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 Marie Antoinette's Expenditure 
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Comte/Comtesse
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Post Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
I was just wondering does anyone know what MA's annual expenditure was?


Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:49 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
Her allowance?
I don't know specifically but I know it fluctuated. For example after gining birth to the Dauphin it was raised considerable. Anyway she almost always went over.......

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Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:03 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
I've seen the figures in biographies, but don't recall the exact amounts. Her allowance, if memory serves, was about 117,000 livres per year. However, she usually spent three times the amount and routinely sent emissaries to the king to ask for additional money to cover her debts. By contrast, some of the nobles at court lived on 5,000 livres per year. I would hazard a guess that a working class person in Paris would have had at the most a few hundred livres per year.

These figures cover the few extravagant years when she was queen. She was quite extravagant. Her gowns might cost 5,000 livres, and for a few years, she did not wear the same gown twice, not ever. And, she changed clothes three times a day, so that's over a thousand outfits a year. Each outfit had its own shoes, jewelry, fans, gloves, and so on.

She also had to pay the servants in her household and give stipends to the noble women and men who served her. She had to pay for furniture, china, linens, and all the accoutrments of her household. Some items, such as linen and china services, were replaced on a regular schedule, like every two years, but as Louis put the whole court on a smaller and smaller budget, the length of time in the replacement schedule became longer and longer.

In the last years before the revolution, her expenditures decreased dramatically, but they were still significant.


Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:30 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
DreamersRose wrote:
I've seen the figures in biographies, but don't recall the exact amounts. Her allowance, if memory serves, was about 117,000 livres per year. However, she usually spent three times the amount and routinely sent emissaries to the king to ask for additional money to cover her debts. By contrast, some of the nobles at court lived on 5,000 livres per year. I would hazard a guess that a working class person in Paris would have had at the most a few hundred livres per year.

These figures cover the few extravagant years when she was queen. She was quite extravagant. Her gowns might cost 5,000 livres, and for a few years, she did not wear the same gown twice, not ever. And, she changed clothes three times a day, so that's over a thousand outfits a year. Each outfit had its own shoes, jewelry, fans, gloves, and so on.

She also had to pay the servants in her household and give stipends to the noble women and men who served her. She had to pay for furniture, china, linens, and all the accoutrments of her household. Some items, such as linen and china services, were replaced on a regular schedule, like every two years, but as Louis put the whole court on a smaller and smaller budget, the length of time in the replacement schedule became longer and longer.

In the last years before the revolution, her expenditures decreased dramatically, but they were still significant.

Not all tho

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Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:45 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
We should keep in mind that MA's "extravagance" was considerably less costly than Louis XV's mistresses. And the entire cost of the Royal Establishment---i.e. palaces, courtiers, servants,etc.---was but a fraction (13%) of the government's annual expenditures. I frequently see the cost of Versailles listed as one of the reasons for oppressive taxes and eventual bankruptcy. This is simply NOT true. The government went broke because of two centuries of disasterous wars, which brought no profit to France, but cost her dearly. It was from these past debts, and the interest due, that drained the treasury. Reducing the Royal lifestyle from 13% of revenue, to say a drastic 5% would not have made any difference in the scope of things.

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Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:02 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
A post today on Tea at Trianon about the "Madame Déficit" myth. http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2008/10/madame-dficit.html

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Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:40 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
Thanks!

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Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:52 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
Christophe wrote:
We should keep in mind that MA's "extravagance" was considerably less costly than Louis XV's mistresses. And the entire cost of the Royal Establishment---i.e. palaces, courtiers, servants,etc.---was but a fraction (13%) of the government's annual expenditures. I frequently see the cost of Versailles listed as one of the reasons for oppressive taxes and eventual bankruptcy. This is simply NOT true. The government went broke because of two centuries of disasterous wars, which brought no profit to France, but cost her dearly. It was from these past debts, and the interest due, that drained the treasury. Reducing the Royal lifestyle from 13% of revenue, to say a drastic 5% would not have made any difference in the scope of things.


Actually the Comte d' Atrois and Comte de Provence spent even more than Louis and Antoinette.

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Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:30 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
Hellou_Librorum wrote:
Actually the Comte d' Atrois and Comte de Provence spent even more than Louis and Antoinette.


This is true. And the Mesdames Tantes spent a great deal, too. Louis and Antoinette at least tried to be thrifty.

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Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:38 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
I find that extremely ironic to say the least.

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Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:09 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
Very. I am more and more convinced that much of what people believe about the Royal couple is based upon mere propaganda.

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Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:13 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
I also believe that , Therese!


Wed May 13, 2009 9:25 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
To me, there is no denying that MA's spendings were excessively important. The usual income queens used to recieve was not sufficient to her. She had to ask the kind for money several times to reimburse the debts she incurred when playing, Mercy even complained that she spent these sums instead of paying back her debts. She enjoyed gambling, which was forgotten in the rest of the Kingdom. Even if previous queens did, they played games that entailed less losses. What is more, Bertière is right when underlying MA was more blamed for what she spent on than how much she actually spent. I utterly agree that previous queens wore dear garnements : Marie-Thérèse of Spain sported dresses glittering with diamonds, but they were not fashionable clothes, and this all the difference. MA launched fashions, as royal mistresses did, but queens were supposed to embody the symbol of monarchy, whith all the ceremonial it includes. Fraser, and other biographs such as Chalon, keeps on arguing that her acquaintances acted the same way, or spent even more. That's undeniable, but on the other hand, it was precisely what she was reproached with. She was not a mere noble, she was the queen, and her husband was supposed to have been chosen by God. So, if I personallly understand and love MA, I can fathom out on the other hand why he behaviour was deemed so appalling. If you put yourself in the shoes of an average French person at that time, it was.

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Fri May 15, 2009 6:23 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
So if you are appalled by MA's fashion sense and clothing expenditure, how must you feel about Joséphine de Beauharnais, Empress of France? Outraged? After all, converted aristocrat or not, she left our poor Queen way behind on the fashion expense front! And she had also a powerful husband to bail her out....but everyone forgets that. And what about the Court mistresses? Did they have more right to flaunt their dress sense? Both Mme du Barry and Mme de Pompadour spent fortunes...and they were not, officially at least, in representative rôles!

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Fri May 15, 2009 9:03 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette's Expenditure
When Marie-Antoinette tried to dress simply she was criticized for not wearing clothes that befit her rank. Her expenses were nothing compared to others in the royal family, nothing compared to the mistresses Louis XV. I am telling you, we are dealing with another myth about the Queen.

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Fri May 15, 2009 9:08 pm
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