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 Louis and Antoinette's personal relationship... 

How did Louis and Antoinette feel about each other?
They were friendly, but not much more. 45%  45%  [ 15 ]
They were in love with each other the whole time. 33%  33%  [ 11 ]
They were indifferent to each other and didn't see enough of each other anyway. 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
They were in love at one point and it tapered off... 15%  15%  [ 5 ]
They didn't like each other at all. 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 33

 Louis and Antoinette's personal relationship... 
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I think a post has been accidentally deleted, so sorry!!!

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:08 pm
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I must admit I don't confide in Chalon's biography that much. See the terrible way he portraies Gabrielle de Polignac ! He even dares to misquote the queen ! Yes, he does ! He changed Antoinette's words in one of her letters to her friend.

I thinks that, in his desire to rehabilitate Marie Antoinette, he goes too far. That's why I feel uncomfortable while reading him. Could you rely on a scholar who misquotes his character ?

"If my heart did not hold with so strong links to my children, you, and two friends I have, often, I would like to die", the queen wrote. Chalon changed this ! He suppressed Gabrielle and put "my husband" instead ! Is this scholarship ?

In my opinion, to evaluate the religious convictions of someone is very difficult, for these are personal matters, and no one is in Antoinette's heart. That's why this perception depends from the authors, rather poor for Castelot, for instance, very high for Chalon.

I am tempted to believe that Marie Antoinette was a quite spiritual person, however maybe in a special, "wilde" way. I don't find the appropriate word, not even in French ! I mean that, in her letters, we find a kind of superstition. I think "emotional" could be a proper adjective...

Emotional she cried for musics, before beauties of nature, she kept exclaiming "how beautiful it is !" while watching the break of day... I see her spiritual feelings this way, most of all.

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Last edited by Pimprenelle on Mon Dec 25, 2006 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:16 pm
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The title of the book of Chalon "Chère Marie-Antoinette" shows that he is an admiror of the Queen. :D
I don't think that he invented things indeed, but he interprets them in order to wash Marie-Antoinette of any suspicion. In his opinion it is Polignac who is at the origin of her great expenditure etc...
After 1786, it's especially near her children that Marie-Antoinette comforted herself, she was more and more near to them and she followed their education more and more near.
She was not a confirmed practising of religion, even if indeed it helped her very well. :wink:

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:18 pm
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Yes, I do hope Chalon is an admirer of Marie-Antoinette, as am I! :P Dear friends, I am aware of his flaws, in the disparaging way he talks about Empress Maria Theresa, and Gabrielle, and even Louis! I am reading it with all of this in mind!!! I read carefully, with discernment.

Chou-Charles, what do you mean that the queen was not confirmed in practising a religion? She wrote that she died "in the Catholic, Roman, and Apostolic religion, the religion of my father, in which I believe and have always professed." She was Catholic all her life, not always devout, sometimes minimally observant, but she practiced all the same. Pimprenelle, I agree, the faith of someone's heart cannot be analyzed. But when someone makes public and written professions of faith, that cannot be ignored.

I also do not think we can say for certain how much Louis and Antoinette enjoyed or disliked their marital intimacies at any given time of their marriage, except at the beginning, we know they had difficulties. I have never read that either of them hated sex. But how could we know? What is between a married couple is private and intimate.

I think we can agree that after the Sophie's birth the queen experienced health problems, possibly post-partum depression, magnified by the enormous public hatred and then by Sophie's death. She needed to restore her mental and physical equilibrium, necessitating a break from child-bearing.

At this time she also began to pay more attention to the external practices of her religion, and this propensity increased with the death of Louis-Joseph and the extreme sorrow over that event. Other authors, such as Desmond Seward, have mentioned this, not just Chalon. :wink:

Now what is wrong with someone turning to their faith in a time of trouble?

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:41 pm
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Therese wrote :

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Yes, I do hope Chalon is an admirer of Marie-Antoinette, as am I


As I am too! :D

Quote:
Chou-Charles, what do you mean that the queen was not confirmed in practising a religion? She wrote that she died "in the Catholic, Roman, and Apostolic religion, the religion of my father, in which I believe and have always professed."


Ah it is difficult to say... I excuse me I have some difficulties with my English... :lol:

Indeed Marie-Antoinette was catholic , and she always was it, her mother having raised her in this spirit. But I wanted to say that she was not a big big catholic. If she had had the choice between a mass or a sledges race , she would have chosen the race. But I feels it like that, through the books which I read.
In her letters she little refers to her faith, except in her last letter indeed. She practised the religion by conviction I agree, but without more.


Quote:
I have never read that either of them hated sex.


Several historians speak about it. They waited 7 years before having relations in love, but I think that they did not have a great desire too. Marie-Antoinette was not really attracted by the sex, she never claimed it with her husband. And indeed she was useful of pretext in the event of disease to avoid sleeping with Louis XVI.
I think that Marie-Antoinette did not really have pleasure in the relations in love. And Louis XVI also...

Quote:
Now what is wrong with someone turning to their faith in a time of trouble?


Oh nothing is wrong!
But I have more the impression that Marie-Antoinette turned to her children :D

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:02 pm
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Yes, Chou-Charles, I see what you mean. No, Antoinette was not like Madame Elisabeth or Madame Louise about her faith. I think she found God in nature and family and friends, and certainly she found Him in caring for her children, as a good mother should. Yes, she may have preferred dancing or sleighing to Mass, but the bottom line is she showed up at Mass, anyway. Even after being in Paris all night, she and Artois were dutifully at Mass, yawning their heads off. She did not neglect mass and it is never recorded that she mocked religion, which was a popular past time at Versailles, especially in the Choiseul coterie.

As for her love life, I just do not know. I know from being married myself, one cannot judge a whole marriage from phases people go through. Who knows? I do not. As I said before, I think that Louis and Antoinette, in the long haul, had the kind of fidelity/love/devotion that matters more than ectasy in the bedchamber. I do think that they were both traumatized by the early scrutiny of their private life.

I think she put her children before any extra pious practices, as a mother should. But when her children were taken from her, she had no where to look but to Heaven. Still, she fought for her life, wanting to be reunited with her children if possible. That is just what it is to be a mother....

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:17 pm
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Quote:
Now what is wrong with someone turning to their faith in a time of trouble?

Nothing, of course ! But, as I already said, I think it is all a matter of interpretations. Depending on our own convictions, we naturally tend to see some specific details of the character we are studying.

Many French authors being republican atheists, they never emphatize on religiousity about Marie-Antoinette. In my view, Chalon is an exception in this pannel. You also have Pierre Belaiche-Daninos.

But the general opinion I got from reading Bertiere, Lever and many others is that the queen was not very concerned with religion. Her letters are not of a devote either. It would be interesting to compare her correspondence to Madame Elisabeth with this regards. This I never did...

About Louis and Antoinette's marriage, I really don't see why it would be so important that they had a happy sexual life. They were not supposed to, after all. All they had to do was to produce heirs, which they did.

Both Lever and Bertiere think that Antoinette did not like to make love with her husband, for the "épreuve", so long and so difficult, had traumatized her. This does not implicate as a consequence that she was not faithful to him.

Anyway, I agree with you that we could never know about all these private matters. How far did Antoinette live her religion and her carnal intercourses will forever remain her privacy.

All we can do is wondering, and comparing her words and writings. And, while doing so, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to forget about our own biases.

I guess that's why "my" Marie Antoinette enjoies most of all composing, chanting, painting with her friends, sitting in her secret garden forever on the screen of my mind. :wink:

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:21 pm
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Therese wrote :

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but the bottom line is she showed up at Mass, anyway. Even after being in Paris all night, she and Artois were dutifully at Mass, yawning their heads off. She did not neglect mass and it is never recorded that she mocked religion, which was a popular past time at Versailles, especially in the Choiseul coterie.



Yes I agree with you, Marie-Antoinette went always to the mass when it was necessary, and she really wanted to go there. But she did not do any more :wink:


Quote:
As I said before, I think that Louis and Antoinette, in the long haul, had the kind of fidelity/love/devotion that matters more than ectasy in the bedchamber.



It's what I think too! They were a couple faithful and devoted until the end, this is why they were husband and woman in an admirable manner. We will never know what it occurred in their true intimacy indeed... We can just suppose that they were not like Marie-Thérèse and François of Austria, and that they did not practise sex too frequently.

Quote:
Still, she fought for her life, wanting to be reunited with her children if possible. That is just what it is to be a mother....


Ah... it is so nice! :D

Yes Marie-Antoinette gave the priority to her role of mother before others role when it was needed, and she did it admirably well! :D

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:30 pm
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Pimprenelle wrote:
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Now what is wrong with someone turning to their faith in a time of trouble?

Nothing, of course ! But, as I already said, I think it is all a matter of interpretations. Depending on our own convictions, we naturally tend to see some specific details of the character we are studying.

Many French authors being republican atheists, they never emphatize on religiousity about Marie-Antoinette. In my view, Chalon is an exception in this pannel. You also have Pierre Belaiche-Daninos.

But the general opinion I got from reading Bertiere, Lever and many others is that the queen was not very concerned with religion. Her letters are not of a devote either. It would be interesting to compare her correspondence to Madame Elisabeth with this regards. This I never did...

About Louis and Antoinette's marriage, I really don't see why it would be so important that they had a happy sexual life. They were not supposed to, after all. All they had to do was to produce heirs, which they did.

Both Lever and Bertiere think that Antoinette did not like to make love with her husband, for the "épreuve", so long and so difficult, had traumatized her. This does not implicate as a consequence that she was not faithful to him.

Anyway, I agree with you that we could never know about all these private matters. How far did Antoinette live her religion and her carnal intercourses will forever remain her privacy.

All we can do is wondering, and comparing her words and writings. And, while doing so, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to forget about our own biases.

I guess that's why "my" Marie Antoinette enjoies most of all composing, chanting, painting with her friends, sitting in her secret garden forever on the screen of my mind. :wink:


Yes, dear Pimprenelle, she was very different from Madame Elisabeth, whose letters are pious treatises. Antoinette was down-to-earth, focused on health, friends, news, politics, family - very different. Not that Elisabeth's letters are stuffy - she has a very playful manner of writing to her dear "Bombe" (la Marquise de Bombelles), and has many political opinions as well. But essentially they are so different!!

Yes, with arranged marriages the function was to beget children and whether it was enjoyed or not is unimportant and certainly not something we can know or should know. It is private, as is the level of religious devotion.

But we can go by words and actions. She stayed with Louis. She professed her faith before she died, and would not accept a juring priest. Does this mean she was a saint her whole life? No? Does this imply she displayed heroic virtue? I would say, yes.

And the beauty of the days at Trianon gives more weight and power to the courage and martyrdom displayed in the difficult times.

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:38 pm
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[quote="Louis-Charles
It's what I think too! They were a couple faithful and devoted until the end, this is why they were husband and woman in an admirable manner. We will never know what it occurred in their true intimacy indeed... We can just suppose that they were not like Marie-Thérèse and François of Austria, and that they did not practise sex too frequently.[[/quote]

Ah, Marie-Therese and Francois had a truly great love, a grand passion. This, however, did not protect the empress from heartbreak at the hands of her beloved husband, because of his infidelities. I sometimes wonder if the empress thought her daughters would be happier in their marriages if they loved less?

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:45 pm
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Therese wrote:

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But we can go by words and actions. She stayed with Louis. She professed her faith before she died, and would not accept a juring priest. Does this mean she was a saint her whole life? No? Does this imply she displayed heroic virtue? I would say, yes.


Marie-Antoinette was proud and rancorous (she hesitated to write to the Commune of Paris to make it possible her lawsuit to be deferred). She never accepted the decree on the juring priest. I think she refused its services on October 16 by resentment, but too because she knew that she was always faithful to her religion, that of her parents. She did not have anything to reproach herself. :D

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Last edited by Louis-Charles on Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:52 pm
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Louis-Charles wrote:
Therese wrote:

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But we can go by words and actions. She stayed with Louis. She professed her faith before she died, and would not accept a juring priest. Does this mean she was a saint her whole life? No? Does this imply she displayed heroic virtue? I would say, yes.


Marie-Antoinette was proud and rancorous (she had hesitate to write to the Commune of Paris to make it possible her lawsuit to be deferred). She never accepted the decree on the juring priest. I think she refused its services on October 16 by resentment, but too because she knew that she was always faithful to her religion, that of her parents. She did not have anything to reproach herself. :D


Yes, she wanted nothing to do with the spirit of the Revolution. She was proud - in a good way!!!

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:57 pm
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Therese wrote:

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I sometimes wonder if the empress thought her daughters would be happier in their marriages if they loved less?


Honestly I don't think... Marie-Thérèse had the chance to marry by love, and she knew it. But she thought above all of the influence of Habsbourg in Europe and the policy. And for this reason she was to marry her daughters with foreign princes. The happiness of her daughters passed after the policy and the influence of Habsbourg, even if she loved really her children of course! :D

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:58 pm
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Louis-Charles wrote:
Therese wrote:

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I sometimes wonder if the empress thought her daughters would be happier in their marriages if they loved less?


Honestly I don't think... Marie-Thérèse had the chance to marry by love, and she knew it. But she thought above all of the influence of Habsbourg in Europe and the policy. And for this reason she was to marry her daughters with foreign princes. The happiness of her daughters passed after the policy and the influence of Habsbourg, even if she loved really her children of course! :D


Yes, policy came first with Marie-Therese, and the good of the Habsburg empire. But even so, she knew that even when you marry for love, you can still suffer.

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:01 pm
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Quote:
But we can go by words and actions. She stayed with Louis. She professed her faith before she died, and would not accept a juring priest. Does this mean she was a saint her whole life? No? Does this imply she displayed heroic virtue? I would say, yes.

I completely agree with you. Except for the last sentence. In my view, Antoinette displayed heroic virtue thanks to the blood that runs in her veins. Put in another words, because of this wild pride she sucked with Habsburg milk.

... I know she had nourrices, but... you see what I mean ! :wink:

Quote:
I sometimes wonder if the empress thought her daughters would be happier in their marriages if they loved less?

You know we see Marie Therese differently, dear. From her letters, in my opinion, it is obvious that all that mattered was Austria, in fine. She gives advises to Antoinette : to be patient with her shy husband, to caress him, never get angry... the aim of all this strategy is to manipulate him, as Caroline governed her husband in Naples.

I'll read Marie Therese's lettes again... But as far as I remember, she never refers to any "happiness". Happiness was not written in Antoinette's contract... only heirs ! :?

I also tend to think that temper and health mattered highly with regards to all this. Therese and Caroline obviously were strong tempered women, who enjoyed sex deeply. Antoinette was "austere by temper" said Joseph II... another condition, more nervous, more fragile, I guess.

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Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:03 pm
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