Mens Talk

Thursday, August 5, 2021

About the Queen of France a Hoax Victim, Marie Antoinette's Dark Story


About the Queen of France a Hoax Victim, Marie Antoinette's Dark Story

This time in the Talk category session I will discuss About the Queen of France a Hoax Victim, Marie Antoinette's Dark Story.

Maybe you do not think that there is a dark side to the French Revolution that occurred in the 18th century. The events triggered by the inequality of social strata between the bourgeoisie and the common people were never peaceful, but filled with bloodshed.

But speaking of this bloody event, it is impossible if we don't associate it with Queen Marie Antoinette, who supposedly because of her glamorous lifestyle, led to a tragic fate and changed the course of history forever.

But is all the bad news we hear about the queen true? Is it true that just because of one woman, the currents of French history, or even Europe and the whole world suddenly change? How can a woman change the fate of a nation in the blink of an eye?

About the Queen of France a Hoax Victim, Marie Antoinette's Dark Story

It's hard to imagine French history without talking about Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette was the last queen of France before the monarchy was finally overthrown in the French Revolution. She is often linked as the cause of the suffering of the people who became the forerunner of the bloody revolution.

Marie Antoinette was accused of wasting state money for a luxurious lifestyle, even inheriting the nickname Madame Deficit.

One famous anecdote about her says that one day she received word that the French were starving because they could not afford bread. But instead of sympathizing, she instead said Let them eat cake, even though cake is a more expensive variant of bread because it is made from eggs, butter and sugar.

But now historians are starting to wonder, is this story about Marie Antoinette true? Was Marie Antoinette really a ruthless despot who didn't care about her people?

Or is it all propaganda to overthrow the king's power? To find out, let's see my writing about the life story of this fateful queen.

Queen's Story

Marie Antoinette is not actually a woman of French blood. She was born on November 2, 1755 of Austrian descent. She was the daughter of Francis I, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire and his consort, Maria Theresa.

The Holy Roman Empire was different from the Roman Empire which was entrenched in Italy in the BC period. The Holy Roman Empire was an empire in Central Europe that existed from the 9th to the 19th centuries AD. Its territory is quite large, covering Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, eastern France, northern Italy and western Poland.

The princess (at that time her real name was Maria Antonia) was known to be not very intelligent. At the age of 10, she could not write fluently in German. Whereas as a kingdom with broad powers, the Holy Roman Empire used various languages, such as French and Italian, which the princess also had to master.

However, Maria Antonia seems to show intelligence in another area, namely music and is able to play various musical instruments such as the harp and flute. She is also known to have a golden voice when singing. Not only that, her beauty and ability to dance make her admired by many people.

The Holy Roman Empire was the sworn enemy of the French Empire. But Queen Maria Theresa wanted to end the feud.

One of the ways she took to reconcile the two sides was by marrying Maria Antonia, her daughter, to the grandson of Louis XV, the reigning French king at the time, namely Prince Louis-Auguste who was also heir to the French throne, then Maria Antonia was taken to the Palace of Versailles in Paris for the wedding.

The marriage took place on May 16, 1770 after that, Maria Antonia changed her name according to the French spelling to Marie Antoinette. Because of her beauty, Marie Antoinette immediately received the support of the royal family.

But at that time she had a mortal enemy, Madame du Barry, one of King Louis XV's concubines who also had considerable power in the palace.

In 1774, King Louis XV died and was succeeded by husband Marie Antoinette who is now King Louis XVI. To please his wife, his first step as king was to expel Madame du Barry from the palace.

After becoming king, Louis XVI showered his beloved wife with lavish gifts, one of which was the Petit Trianon, a small palace originally built by King Louis XV for his other concubine, Madame de Pompadour.

Louis XVI allowed Marie Antoinette to renovate it as she pleased. Rumors then circulated that the queen had covered the walls of her new palace with gold and gems.

The queen now lives like a socialite full of luxury. She cares a lot about fashion and also worse, she loves to gamble. Yet at that time the common people in France were suffering.

At that time the French monarchy divided its citizens into three castes: the First Estate was the church, the Second Estate was the nobles called the bourgeoisie, and the Third Estate and the lowest were the commoners.

Surprisingly, despite having richer economic conditions, the First and Second Estates were actually subject to very little tax, due to their power being so great that they were able to lobby the king. 

Meanwhile, the common people who live in poverty are burdened with huge taxes to fulfill the luxurious lifestyle of the bourgeoisie.

It's no wonder that people are furious to see the abundant lifestyle of the bourgeoisie, especially Queen Marie Antoinette, who is famous for having a glamorous lifestyle like a socialite.

The queen was known to be very fashion-conscious, even having a hairstyle that towered almost 1 meter high, which at that time was indeed a trend among the bourgeoisie.

Not only that, in order to satisfy the desires of fashionistas, the queen chose to wear clothes from indienne, a textile from India which is famous for its beautiful motifs. Whereas previously, indienne imports were banned in France to protect the local textile industry.

The queen was also famous for hanging out with other socialites, including the Duchesse de Polignac and the (then tragically) Princesse de Lamballe, who always advised the queen on a lavish lifestyle.

The French people's hatred of Marie Antoinette was compounded by her origins as an Austrian, who had always been a bitter enemy of France and many viewed her as a foreign spy.

This was further exacerbated in 1779 when Marie Antoinette persuaded her husband to interfere in the territorial dispute between Austria and Bavaria.

The result was the Treaty of Teschen in 1779 in which Austria succeeded in bringing under its control the Bavarian territory of 100,000 inhabitants. This gave the French the impression that King Louse XVI was being manipulated by his wife to side with the Austrians.

Marie Antoinette's prestige also declined in 1784 after people learned that Louis XVI bought his wife Saint-Cloud castle for 6 million livre (French currency at that time), although as I mentioned, the French at that time were suffering from starvation.

Moreover, the royal family, including Marie Antoinette, already has their own place to live, namely the Palace of Versailles which is famous for being very beautiful and magnificent.

Scandal Story

The most horrendous gossip about Marie Antoinette's life occurred when a Swedish diplomat named Count Axel von Fersen came to the palace of Versailles.

Count Axel was an extraordinarily handsome young man and without a moment's notice, immediately began spreading unpleasant rumors that the queen was having an affair with him.

In 1785, Marie Antoinette gave birth to her son Louis Charles. Unfortunately, the birth of this child was exactly 9 months after the arrival of Axel von Fersen, so rumors emerged that the child was the illegitimate child of his affair. But no scandal has tarnished the queen's name more than the Diamond Necklace Scandal.

Perhaps you still remember the name Madame du Barry, the favorite concubine of King Louis XV (Marie Antoinette's mother-in-law). In 1772, the king proved his love for his concubine by asking two famous Parisian jewelers of the time, Charles Auguste Boehmer and Paul Bassenge, to make a diamond necklace worth 2 million livres.

Unfortunately, after the necklace was finished, the king died and Madame du Barry was expelled from the palace. The two jewelers hoped the new queen, Marie Antoinette, would buy the jewellery.

But strangely, the queen who is famous for being very fond of luxury actually rejects it. The reason is that the necklace was made especially for Madame du Barry, Marie Antoinette's mortal enemy, thus making her lose interest in it.

A con artist named Jeanne de la Motte appears. Because of her beauty, Jeanne became the concubine of the then bishop, Cardinal de Rohan. The cardinal at the time hoped that the queen would make her one of the ministers.

Jeanne then devises a devious plan by confessing to the cardinal that she personally knows the queen. Cardinal de Rohan was overjoyed and sent a letter to Marie Antoinette via Jeanne.

Jeanne pretended to give the letter to the queen and gave her reply to Cardinal de Rohan. From the romantic content of the letter, Cardinal de Rohan became convinced that Marie Antoinette was in love with him. In fact, it was Jeanne herself who wrote the reply to the letter. The cardinal replied to the letter by asking to meet the queen in person in the garden of Versailles.

One night, Cardinal de Rohan meets a woman who he believes to be Queen Marie Antoinette, when in reality she is a hired woman named Nicole who looks like a queen.

The fake queen then said that she wanted to buy a necklace for Madame du Barry which cost 2 million livre and asked the cardinal to buy it, arguing that if she bought it outright, there would be public accusations that she was extravagant.

The cardinal, who loved this fake queen very much, immediately agreed. Once in her hands, Jeanne immediately took off the jewelry and sold the diamond.

Long story short, Cardinal de Rohan was unable to pay the installments for the necklace, so the two jewelry makers complained to the king. King Louis XVI immediately ordered an investigation that eventually exposed the scandal.

Everyone involved, including Cardinal de Rohan, was immediately arrested. But Jeanne was too clever for them and managed to escape to London.

It was clear that Marie Antoinette had nothing to do with the diamond necklace scandal because her name was only used by irresponsible parties.

However, because the public already hated the queen, false news emerged that it was the queen who seduced the cardinal to buy the necklace. This further fueled the anger of French citizens against the queen who was considered immoral.

End Story

In 1781, due to the diamond necklace scandal and the growing financial crisis in France, now Marie Antoinette got a new nickname, Madame Déficit.

Even so, the queen's reputation was so bad that when her eldest son, Louis Joseph, who was only 7 years old, died in 1789, the people showed no sympathy whatsoever. In fact, Louis Joseph was the heir to the throne at that time.

On July 14, 1789, the anger of the people due to famine was so unbearable that the event that officially started the French Revolution, was the attack on the Bastille Prison, where the political prisoners who had fought against the king were held.

On 5 October 1789, a crowd of Parisians broke into the Palace of Versailles and forced the royal family to emigrate and be exiled to the Tuileries Palace where they remained under house arrest until 20 June 1791.

What happened on that date? Are they released? The answer is quite the opposite, even worse things happen.

On that date, with the help of the queen's lover, Axel von Fersen, King Louis XVI's family decided to flee, but unfortunately they were caught about 24 hours later in the city of Varennes.

This cowardly act of the king and his family shocked the people, even leading to various cases of violence that were provoked by angry citizens.

On August 10, 1972, angry citizens attacked the Tuileries Palace and defeated hundreds of Swiss guards (the king's personal bodyguard) who were on guard, imprisoning King Louis XVI and his family.

Not only that, a month later there was a "September Massacre" where angry people then executed all prisoners who were caught still supporting the king.

At that time, prisoners were cruelly executed if they did not wish to swear allegiance to the French Republic. One of the victims was Princess de Lamballe, one of Marie Antoinette's close friends that I mentioned earlier.

Princess de Lamballe at that time did want to swear allegiance to the Republic, but refused to curse the king and queen. As a result, she was released.

But once she reached the courtyard, she screamed in horror at the pile of blood-splattered corpses with incomplete body parts. Even more terrifying, the executioners were the residents themselves, which consisted not only of men, but also of women and children.

There is much controversy about how Princess de Lamballe was executed. Some say her execution was sadistic and painful, during which she was brutally tortured.

But what is clear, historical records say that Princess de Lamballe's body was paraded throughout the city, even placed outside the Marie Antoinette prison so that she was traumatized.

Tragic fate now befalls the royal family. Louis XVI was deposed and executed by guillotine on January 21, 1793.

The Queen was also tried on October 14, 1793 for not only wasting the state's finances, but also for many unreasonable accusations, such as throwing a large immoral party at the Palace of Versailles.

Then had an immoral relationship with Lady Sophie Farrell, a baroness who at that time was known as a woman who liked women, even had a love affair with her own son.

Even modern historians suspect that Queen Marie never actually uttered her most famous quote, Let them eat cake. Since the expression dates back to 1765 in the autobiographical book of J.J Rousseau, the French philosopher, when Marie Antoinette was nine years old, it is clear that she cannot possibly pronounce it.

Two days later, Marie Antoinette was executed. Before being sentenced to execution, she changed into a simple white dress which was a clear contrast to her fashionable appearance as queen.

She still tried to remain calm even though as she walked to the execution site, she was insulted by the crowd of residents who had gathered to witness her execution.

Her final words were: I'm sorry, sir. I didn't do it on purpose. When she accidentally stepped on her executioner's feet. I don't know if it was an apology the former queen made to the executioner or the French.

On October 16, 1793, Marie Antoinette was finally executed using the guillotine. The French hated the former queen so much that her body was buried in an unmarked grave.

It wasn't until 1815 that the sins of Louis XVI and his wife were forgiven by the French. When Louis XVI's younger brother Louis XVIII came to the throne again, he moved the tombs of the king and his wife to the church of St. Louis XVI. Basilica. Dennis, Paris.

But one thing that is unique sticking out of the history of the queen of France. Without her presence as queen who persuaded her husband, Louis XVI to intervene to help the North American colonies against Britain which eventually culminated in the United States War of Independence, perhaps the United States would not be formed and the flow of history would be drastic and different.

In fact, the US government showed its gratitude by naming a city in the state of Ohio with the name Marietta.

That's my discussion this time About the Queen of France a Hoax Victim, Marie Antoinette's Dark Story.