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 Discussion Point 2: The Extravagant Queen 
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TsmnDs wrote :

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But perhaps their countries were in a healthier state financially?

Yes it is exact, but those who say that Marie-Antoinette spent more than the others Queens mislead :wink:

I agree with you both Jasmine d'Adelaide and Monika...Marie-Antoinette did not have the choice...she was to be well avoided even if times were hard… like a Queen she had obligations on this level there…
And if she were frivolous at the beginning of her life, after 1783 she was very simple, she wore dresses "en Gaulle" (and people reproached her this simplicity) and no more jewels :D

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Sat May 19, 2007 8:27 am
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Hmmm... perhaps the "en Gaulle" is more an example of her frivolity than an expression of her economy?

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Mon May 21, 2007 8:16 am
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I don't think so. In my view, the "en gaulle" dress is most of all the example of French people insincerity. When Marie Antoinette appeared with this kind of dress on a portrait, they did not praise her simplicity, they immediately said that she did it on purpose. To make the Austrian cloth manufacturers richer, and the French silk maufacturers poorer ! How dared they ?

Whatever Marie Antoinette may do, she got all wrong ! These people were so dishonest... :?

That is, in my opinion, the only thing that the "en gaulle" dress proves, alas...

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Mon May 21, 2007 8:47 am
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I agree with you Pim :wink:

Marie-Antoinette wore these dresses because they were simple, light, practical and nonconstraining... it is all... frivolity does not have its place here... :wink:

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Mon May 21, 2007 8:57 am
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Whatever Marie Antoinette may do, she got all wrong ! These people were so dishonest...


Yes, I agree.

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Mon May 21, 2007 11:15 am
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Dufour in her biography mentions a number of examples of what she considers the Queen's extravagance...I agree this has to be put in context and in turn compared to former favourites and other members of the Royals. But Dufour does make a pertinent point...MA's generous nature to others bordered sometimes on the obsessive and was a problem in a time when the King was daily facing the question of cleaning up and controlling the State finances. When dealing with the allowance of her dear Lamballe, Ma insists so strongly that Maurepas is obliged to observe:

"What to say to a Queen, who says to her husband, in front of me, that her whole life's happiness depends on it?"

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Fri May 25, 2007 10:09 pm
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I suppose doling out large sums of money to one's friends as a gesture of affection (which is what it was, in her case) might seem rather frivolous in a time where most people were very concerned with keeping it for themselves.

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Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:01 am
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I'm loving Pimprenelle's initial response to this topic, and agree with her on all points.

Also, I always find it surprising to hear modern Western peoples speaking of Marie Antoinette's frivolity in condemnation as if it were the height of excess. In my opinion, many of those who live in Western countries live in a similar state of frivolity and excess when compared to the world as a whole.

The idea that Marie Antoinette destroyed one of the oldest monarchies in Europe because of an addiction to shoes is ridiculous.

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Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:47 pm
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Exactly Gabrielle! Who are we to condemn Marie Antoinette's frivolity? It's not like western society is so much less frivolous than the world of the Queen.

On another note, Marie Antoinette's extravagances have been greatly blown out of proportion, and it is generaly made to look that it was solely her spending that led to the French Revolution. This is simply Jacobin propoganda that has hung on for the past 200 years! The expenditure of the entire royal family and aristocracy was on par with that of M.A.'s (if not exceeding it.) The royal aunts were infamous for their extravagances, spending 3 million livres on a single trip to a hot spring resort, as well as the spending of the Comte de Provence and Artois. M.A. was not doing anything out of the ordinary!

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Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:25 am
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Post Re: Discussion Point 2: The Extravagant Queen
What a wonderful Posts on this topic. Thank you all.
And of course, we all know now that Marie-Antoinette was THE scapegoat.......! Yes, France was in dire straights....Yes, the court spending was out of hand, but mostly through "hangers on", nepotism and sheer wastage through bad management. The fact is that the French "mob" was suffering from a bad case of "the tall poppy syndrome", and they were therefore an easy pray for the extremist and vulgar revolutionaries' propaganda. And what better target than a "foreigner" in such a staunch nationalistic environment; then attach all the most stinging rumours, lies and fabrications to the "foreigner" and the sheepish masses will be justified to believe what they wanted to believe all along in the first place.
The facts are: Marie-Antoinette was The Queen; She was looked up to for direction in style and fashion; It was expected of Her to look Divine and Majestic;
and She loved Fashions and was extremely feminine and beautiful as well.
Being the Queen, being extravagant and a little frivolous would go without saying. I feel that is part and parcel of Royalty as it should be. And yes, some of Her Gowns did cost a few years wages, but I feel that was Her right and privilege and I would expect such a Divine Queen to be attired thus.........
In summing up: Beautiful Queen Marie Antoinette certainly appears to be a victim of circumstance. But She had style, class, Elegance, Grace and courage to throw away......

X

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Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:46 am
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Post Re: Discussion Point 2: The Extravagant Queen
I don't know that much, but I think it's difficult to judge if she was frivolous according to our standards. I mean, she was used to living in an environment where it was normal to spend a lot of money for clothes and other things.
And I think it would be wrong to connect the fact she liked beautful things, and spent a lot of money for them, with the difficulties common people had; if France was starving it was above all because of structural and historical causes. I think she paid for faults which were not hers.

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Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:25 pm
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Post Re: Discussion Point 2: The Extravagant Queen
Rosalie wrote:
but I think it's difficult to judge if she was frivolous according to our standards.


I agree. Even though many people in their memoirs say this, would we have different views if we were in different times? You see, in these times we don't have such finery, so we would say she was frivolous. Perhaps all ladies were like this, in the eighteenth century.


Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:14 am
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Post Re: Discussion Point 2: The Extravagant Queen
Rosalie wrote:
I don't know that much, but I think it's difficult to judge if she was frivolous according to our standards. I mean, she was used to living in an environment where it was normal to spend a lot of money for clothes and other things.
And I think it would be wrong to connect the fact she liked beautful things, and spent a lot of money for them, with the difficulties common people had; if France was starving it was above all because of structural and historical causes. I think she paid for faults which were not hers.


I totally agree, and yes, it was normal then, especially for The Queen to spend a lot of money on Her Gowns and appearance in general. Whether this is to be called frivolous or not is merely semantics. The 2nd point you made, I feel is very valid too.....

Madame Vigée-Le Brun wrote:
Rosalie wrote:
but I think it's difficult to judge if she was frivolous according to our standards.


I agree. Even though many people in their memoirs say this, would we have different views if we were in different times? You see, in these times we don't have such finery, so we would say she was frivolous. Perhaps all ladies were like this, in the eighteenth century.


Absolutely! I too doubt if we would have different views. And indeed, if such finery was readily available now, I for one would definitely wear them when and where I could, and as often as I could....... Lots of Ladies would! In fact, I have a few now, but the Occasions to wear them are scarce, to say the least. :(
So, I guess I am to be judged frivolous too.... And most Ladies in the 18th century were like this; well, those that could afford it of course.

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Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:11 am
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Post Re: Discussion Point 2: The Extravagant Queen
Yes, I think she was frivolous and extravagant especially when she was younger and immature. I cannot say that that was neccery bad, she lived in rich environment, she was very beautiful, as a queen people expected that she look better than others look, wear beautiful dresses and jewelry. Extravagant also, she had lots of imagination, we can see that in a way how she decorated, what she dressed and her hair. French was in serous debt during end of reign of Luis XV and later costs of war in America, which France helped, made things even worst. Marie Antoinette did not ruin France with her expenses or made people starving.
Anyway, aristocrats in 18 century were in some way frivolous, man and women, their fortune gave them possibility to be. Rococo that many people now consider as a bad taste, extravagant, in that time was common style.
Personally I like many things in rococo .
:wink:

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Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:05 pm
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