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 Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France 
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Post Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
I have read conflicting biographies regarding this question. According to Madame Campan she was not stripped totally naked publicly in front of dozens of courtiers but other reports suggest men were shoving each other to get a good view through keyholes. It is very difficult to imagine a young 14 year old going through the traumatising humiliation of being stripped down to total nakedness because of "etiquette" in front of a multitude of voyeurs. In fact Antoinette was a very modest person and even bathed in a special bath shirt to hide her nakedness. It is disturbing, to say the least. that a young adolescent girl could be forced to submit to this appalling culture of etiquette. Even my cat stops using her catlitter box if I go into the bathroom and waits with back arched until I leave. She needs privacy as every living thing does.


Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:11 pm
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
I had my doubts when I read about this too. However, when I read about Marie Antoinette's niece, Marie Louise, who became Napoleon's second wife i tend to believe it really happened as reported. Marie Louise, aged 18, was put through the same procedure when going from Austria to France for the wedding.

You're right. It's a humiliating, embarrassing tradition and not one to make you feel at home.


Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:08 pm
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
I think she was probably stripped down to her underclothes only.

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Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:48 pm
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
We had a huge back and forth on this in another venue.

Bear in mind that privacy was largely invented in the eighteenth century. Aside from what a luxury it would have been for people living in a one-room hut ("Mommy, is he HURTING you?") even Louis XIV would sit on his "pierced chair" in front of others.

Overall, I would think this was a very formal event and I doubt anyone misbehaved (by the standards of the time) too overtly. Certainly not on the Austrian side - Marie-Therese was not a woman you wanted to mess with.

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Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:10 pm
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
Yes, as discreetly as possible MA was helped to remove every single thread of Austrian clothing and replace it with a completely new French outfit. This took place in a pavilion which straddled the borders of both France and Austria and symbolized her new nationality. She gave up everything Austrian, even her little dog and her childhood companion and maid. From the moment she walked through the doors into the French side everything she had was French.


Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:03 am
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
Wasn't the lawn/muslin of the chemise de reine imported from her brother's weavers in Belgium and Alsace? She was criticized for not using fabrics from Lyons. A difficult position as the Queen of France; opulent silks - decadent. Simple tastes - foreign.

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Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:05 am
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
That doesn't sound familiar, at least not for her exchanging her Austrian citizenship for her new French one. All clothing, maids of honor, household for her steps into her new country were provided by France. I think Austria provided only what was needed to the point of shedding Austrian items and donning the French trousseau.

It sounds more like the behavior that drew such harsh criticism upon her later as she matured and became sure of herself.


Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:03 am
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
I will clarify my question. In theory...

winsan2 wrote:
...from the moment she walked through the doors into the French side everything she had was French.

She followed the patronage of Sevres, Mique and so on. However, some personages criticized the 'country' fashion of the Petit Trianon because some fabric was imported.

I think my comment is really a side issue to the main topic at hand. :)

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Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:17 am
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
Although I believe she not retain her undergarments, whether she did or was made to completely remove all clothing is, in my view, not really what should be the focus of historians.

Instead, I think the event is sensationalised far too much; of course, it was very symbolic and representative of the change she underwent, even if the impact wasn't felt by her (or those around her) immediately. I refer more specifically to the idea of her 'humiliation': I feel that it was a moderately serious affair - under the strict guide of the Comte and Comtesse de Noailles - and yet one that, while she may have felt slightly abashed by, was not an abasing procedure at all.

If I recollect correctly, the hand over took place during early morning or late afternoon, and a storm was brewing nearby. The hastily erected buildings, in my opinion, would not have provided sufficient protection from the weather, and thus would have encouraged the quickening of events. I am not entirely sure of the specific time, and the weather would have been rather pleasant, being Spring, but I do seem to remember a storm of some sort.

In any case, I see no reason to encourage the idea of humiliation, even of a 13 year old girl. She was raised as royalty, and though at times she was shy, one can quite confidently assume that she carried herself proudly in that situation.

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Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:51 pm
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
As far as I know, it is much questioned whether Marie-Antoinette actually underwent such a procedure at all.

The whole procedure was also meant to avoid the princess the ridicule of wearing a local costume, that could shock the French court : it was especially necessary for the Spanish princesses such as Marie Thérèse of Spain. But 18 century Archduchesses were dressed according to the French fashion...

I very much doubt Marie Louise had to undergo this procedure. I never read it anywhere.

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Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:45 pm
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
Ludy wrote:

As far as I know, it is much questioned whether Marie-Antoinette actually underwent such a procedure at all. Other Queens before her went through the same protocol.

This was standard practice. There are eye witnesses to this ceremony. Goethe even visited the temporary structure before the ceremony and commented on the badly chosen theme of the painting adorning the tent.

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Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:31 am
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
baron de batz wrote:
Ludy wrote:

As far as I know, it is much questioned whether Marie-Antoinette actually underwent such a procedure at all. Other Queens before her went through the same protocol.

This was standard practice. There are eye witnesses to this ceremony. Goethe even visited the temporary structure before the ceremony and commented on the badly chosen theme of the painting adorning the tent.


Yes I know, but he did not see the actual protocol, did he ? I think the only source for this ceremony is Madame Campan, who asserted that MA was stripped naked, but she was not there to witness it herself. At least, this is questioned by some historians.

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Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:24 pm
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
I'm sorry I've never seen it questioned. By whom? As I said it was not a new form of protocol. Look at Louis XIV's Spanish wife. Why should MA have been treated differently to other Queens before her? Especially given the highly political nature of this engagement.

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Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:34 pm
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
Are you questioning the stripping naked or the ceremony taking place at all? If its the stripping naked you question then I agree that there is some doubt, as I put in a post some months ago, if you look back.

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Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:37 pm
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Post Re: Marie stripped naked when she crossed the border to France
baron de batz wrote:
I'm sorry I've never seen it questioned. By whom? As I said it was not a new form of protocol. Look at Louis XIV's Spanish wife. Why should MA have been treated differently to other Queens before her? Especially given the highly political nature of this engagement.


Well, Bertière questioned it.

Marie-Thèrèse of Spain had to undergo this procedure, but then, the Spanish national costume was very different from the French one, notably with huge "gardes-infante", complicated hairdoes and without corset. This protocol as very practically meant for the "infante" to adjust to the French customs and fashion. There were not such differences in the XVIII century in Austria, where nobles dressed like in France.

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Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:41 pm
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