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 Marie Antoinette's reputation...seeking expertise 
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Post Marie Antoinette's reputation...seeking expertise
To what extent did Marie Antoinette deserve her reputation which contributed to the fall of the royal family?

Can anybody provide me with a list of key events which ultimately disenchanted the population with its monarchy (in which Marie Antoinette was involved)...I am trying to formulate a question for a school investigation...

Thankyou :D


Mon Feb 20, 2006 7:45 am
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Hey in reply to your question. It is argued that in many respects the queen did deserve her reputation but then there is lots of evidence that suggests that if she did have affairs which is impossible to prove rumours where fuelled by the courtiers who didnt like her and Austrian background, there were other issues like her so called over-spending- i have read different points of view some suggest that if she bought a dress it would be exagerated to be 10 dresses or something. But there were factors like the economic problems e.g. the french support of the American revolution which lost them millions of francs, there was also the fact that there were extremely poor harvests and people starved yet the nobility and the monarchy still continued to live in style. There is of course the fact that the revolution was seen as one from above meaning that the borgousie encouraged the revolution. The enlightenment brought new ideas and liberalism. But the french revolution was fuelled by the idea of the queen and kings 'absolute' ruling which meant that the economic depression was blamed on them. The queen also failed to produce an heir until 7 years after her marriage, but when she did she was already being blamed for the fact that people believed she obviously wasn't a worthy or virtuaious queen. :) hope that helps I dont know much but thats what I do know!


Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:13 pm
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I agree with Cat this actually is a very complicated matter. First of all, even before her arrival, Marie-Antoinette was nicknamed "the Austrian woman" by the anti-Austrian party at Versailles.

The population immediately fell for this sweet teen (14, actually), but rumors were rapidely spread about her. They still loved their 19 queen, but not for long... Terrible pamphets were written against her, damaging her reputation. She was supposed to betray her "impotent" husband. Who wasn't impotent at all !

As Cat wrote, when she finally had children (she had 4), purpoted fathers were named for each of them. She reacted to disaffection by hiding in her little Trianon, where she had huge works made to create an English garden, and then a hameau. People were sure she spent paramount money to built these caprices. During the revolution, they kept searching for the golden columns and the diamonds rivers... well, actually, they were just theatrical sceneries !

They also said she gave huge amounts of money to her friends. She defended herself, on trial, by answering these people had charges they had to be paid for. But it's true she relyed on friendship rather than on rank to attribute important charges (her best friends Madame de Lamballe and Madame de Polignac as superintendant and governess, for instance).

They said she always served Austrian interests, and even that she sent much money to her brother the emperor Joseph. In fact, she would have like to protect Austrian interests, but she couldn't, her husband not wanting to have her involved in politics. She never sent money to her brother, but this war with Netherlands he provoked costed a lot to France.

During the revolution, she was accused of all evils. She was supposed to plot with foreign monarchies, which was true. She actually did, because she wanted to protect France against was she called "the factitiouses". For, in her eyes, this revolution was nothing but anarchy. Only one government was possible : kingship by dvine right. And she desperately fought for it.

In this view, she organized the flight to Montmédy, that was stopped at Varennes.

Maybe, if this escape has been a success, absolute monarchy would remain in France. But, honestly, I doubt it, for the change was necessary.

Gosh ! What a difficult matter you have ! It's so complicated... To put it shortly (for I'm a talkative person, sorry...) I don't think you can put too much responsability on individuals. Neither Antoinette, nor Louis. Revolution, for centuries, was in germs. This has to happen, sooner or later.

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Mon Feb 20, 2006 7:21 pm
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