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 Marie Antoinette and the Rumors 
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
I'm currently being vilipended on the French forum for some of my likes and dislikes! For example I like the Comtesse de la Motte, even though I admit that she did the Queen a lot of harm. I don't think she intended to harm the Queen particularly, she just wanted to make money as would any crook.

One of the subjects I hardly dare raise there, but I will in a more open minded Anglo Saxon atmosphere, is the fact that I question myself sometimes about the Queen's tastes regarding men and women. I don't mean by that necessarily sexual. I feel sometimes that the Queen had a great need of female friendship, perhaps to a slightly abnormal or unnatural degree. I really don't think, with the exception of Fersen, whose early portraits also show fine almost feminine features, that the Queen was much orientated towards men as a whole. And it is quite well documented that she quickly became very attached to certain women that she met or was introduced to, such as the Duchess of Devonshire, Charlotte Atkins, the Duchess of Polignac, Princesse de Lamballe. These relationships of her's were known to be very tactile, walking arm in arm etc. I know that the pamphletists slander her, making her out to be a lesbian, and that she herself mentions this in a letter to her mother ("on me prête lees deux goûts..." or 'they attribute a taste for both men and women"). This is not my belief, but I do think that the Queen valued female friendship as highly or even more highly than male and I believe that she almost fell in love with some of her girlfriends, a bit like the schoolgirl crushes one sees in single sex schools. This could be attributable to the fact that she was taken away very young from her mother and family and that she was placed in a very different and somewhat hostile environment, alone without friends and with a husband himself no more than an akward adolescent.

What do you all think of this point?

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Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:48 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
Baron, I've looked at the French Forum but I always feel like something is lost in the translation! Tone, is the other thing that is sometimes hard to gauge. Am I correct to have detected a few people, who may be upset because of what was said about Jeanne LaMotte? I'm not quite sure what is going on! I think that Jeanne, being of Royal Valois blood, would have preffered for things to come to her easily by virtue of her bloodline. But, I think a hard life taught her certain ways she could attain her goals and she was a "end justifies the means" kind of girl. She was what we'd call today streetwise. Streetwise girls know how to get what they want. She was a con.
The thing about cons is, they are generally charming people - they almost must be to convince people to do what they want.....such as Rohan. Plus, women can quite effectively use sex to get almost anything! I'm sure she was one charming peice of work! The damage she did to the Queen was secondary - doubtful she intended or even foresaw that. Also doubtful she cared. She was pretty despicable in England after the whole affair - but she also went through a window to her death.
I don't think it a crime for someone to admire her spirit, aside from the damage to the Queen, one must admit the whole plot was brilliant!


Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:31 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
I am not knowledgeable about her, but I can't help looking up to her. To me, she epitomizes a period when society was blocked and to move forward, you had to lie, cheat, and insist. A bit like nowadays if you don't have relations.

She certainly did not resent the Queen, who was mainly a collateral victim in this affair. However, I think she had a grudge against society as a whole and was socially frustrated.

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Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:49 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
[quote="baron de batz"] I feel sometimes that the Queen had a great need of female friendship, perhaps to a slightly abnormal or unnatural degree. .....And it is quite well documented that she quickly became very attached to certain women that she met or was introduced to, such as the Duchess of Devonshire, Charlotte Atkins, the Duchess of Polignac, Princesse de Lamballe. These relationships of her's were known to be very tactile, walking arm in arm etc. I know that the pamphletists slander her, making her out to be a lesbian, and that she herself mentions this in a letter to her mother ("on me prête lees deux goûts..." or 'they attribute a taste for both men and women"). This is not my belief, but I do think that the Queen valued female friendship as highly or even more highly than male and I believe that she almost fell in love with some of her girlfriends,........"


There is a basic human need of companionship, which does not only include a partner, but friends and a social network as well. Most women have a need of female friendship. Most men don't understand the friendships between women and in their frustration some resort to attacks on a woman's sexuality accusing her of lesbianism. Women friends are NOT looking at each other in a sexual way - it's men who look at us in a sexual way. We are not you and all paths do not lead to sex in our minds. Even today, this is still said and assumed by men who witness what they think is a close friendship between women. Women connect on an emotional level to form a friendship. Most women have one or more best friends. A woman cannot imagine not having a good friend to confide in. Women are more comfortable to be who they really are, with their women friends. Women are supportive to their female friends and sometimes our only source of empowerment. Women who are not in relationships and women who are in bad marriages depend on their friendships with other women - and there is no sex involved. It's all very hard to explain. So.....my view would be that MA's friendships with other women were quite normal. Her marriage wasn't the greatest and she sure wasn't able to confide in her awkward teenage husband. I think it quite normal for her age, that she sought friends of her own approximate age whom she had something in common with. Girls are romantic and it is not out of the ordinary for small displays of affection to occur. I think that Marie Antoinette loved her friends as deeply as we love our friends - not "in love".


Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:14 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
That may well be the case Lilly, and its' good to have a woman's point of view on the subject.

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Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:39 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
I agree with Lilly especially as I have one "romantic" friendship, with my best friend. She has a boyfriend, the man she loves, I date men, there is no romance but our way of expressing our friendship can often seem too affectionate. We hug each other often, she sometimes appears even jealous, we have such a strong mental bond but it doesn't go further than that. Also I feel very fond of my second best friend and if someone would want to dig deeper one could attribute to me some bisexual feelings. But I repeat, nothing in a sexual way. I admire that girl and often feel very protective towards her. And I don't find myself a lesbian? I think such friendships are characteristic for some women and if we have in mind M.A.'s age and position it is nothing unusual. As Lilly said, women in bad marriages or relationships, or single, often rely only on their best female friends. And life is too complex to make such sudden conclusions just on a level of someone closeness to someone. I very much admire true and close male friendships, the tone of a man talking of his best friend in the 18th century now would be 100% gay. It was definitely an era that valued emotions, now we only have fun of them.

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Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:13 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
I quite admit the existence of close male/male and female/female friendships, the latter being more openly tactile, without there being any ambiguity.

I just have a kind of nagging feeling that the Queen paid particular attention to these girlfriends. Maybe she used them as a refuge, given the fraught nature of any relationship she could have had a with someone of the opposite sex.

But I don't wish to slander an already over slandered Queen, and it is pure conjecture on my part! :)

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Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:51 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
[quote="baron de batz"]I just have a kind of nagging feeling that the Queen paid particular attention to these girlfriends. Maybe she used them as a refuge, given the fraught nature of any relationship she could have had a with someone of the opposite sex.[/quote

She most likely did. These girlfriends are probably the only people she could relax and be herself with. There was enough criticism of her that she wanted to only be with her trusted friends as much as possible. In just the same way that you and I find solace in our friends - I'm sure she did too.
Close women friends have a tendency to want to be together. I once had a close friend, we'd talk on the phone 10 times a day - that is IF we weren't at each other's houses. We would consult each other before we did anything - and we went everywhere together. Everyone knew we were best friends and it was unusual to see one of us without the other. Yes, we heard the lesbian comments jokingly from our friends and we'd laugh and say that it was too bad one of us wasn't a guy because we got along so perfectly! She and I both had boyfriends come and go....but our friendship and love was always going to be there. She died last November. The bond between women is very, very strong. I think this is not easily understood by men. Baron, MA's women friends were probably the most important people in her life, before she had children.


Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:52 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
Lilly wrote:
The bond between women is very, very strong.


To further that point - The Princess Lamballe stayed with her friend the Queen and died for it. The Duchess de Polignac has been said to have died from heartbreak in early December 1793 after hearing of the Queen's execution. (She really more likely died of something like cancer (?) - probably sped up by her heartbreak and upset condition). I read somewhere her family said she died of heartbreak.
That thing between girlfriends is some pretty powerful stuff!


Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:14 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
It is so beautiful and romantic to think that one can die from the heartbreak, like Madame de Tourvel, Duchess de Polignac... And so present in literature of all times. Unfortunately I think that modern medicine proved us wrong long time ago.

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Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:22 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
Well I guess you could die from the stress induced by a broken heart...severe strain on the heart etc

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Last edited by baron de batz on Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:35 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
I do believe that severe depression can cause death whether directly or indirectly. I think that Napoleon's death for instance was caused mainly by depression, or at least that the severe depression he suffered from considerably worsened his physical condition. Quite apart from the disease itself, deep neurasthenia often induces people to let themselves drift and turn down any kind of help from others.

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Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:27 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
I read some article about the subject a while ago, I will try to find it. Unfortunately, I think it is impossible but I would really like to know more. I know too many examples of people who really went through a terrible heart break (with death of their loved ones) but survived even with health decline, and none of people who died because of it.

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Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:35 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
Well obviously the mental and the physical are closely linked. My old aunt let herself go within a couple of weeks of her beloved dog dying...she had cancer and nobody knew, and when the dog died she just gave up and died too.

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Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:26 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
As for the rumors, I saved a few 18th century pornographic pamphlets and it really surprises me how graphic they are, and these ideas, we spoke about the tremendous lack of hygiene, I really don't see anyone was bothered about the "state" of the bodies. Let me stop myself here...

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Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:20 pm
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