Monday, March 9, 2015

The French Nobility.......Queen Marie Antionette....

 These beautiful postcards/photographs of Versailles, just outside of Paris, are from the 1940's.  They were purchased by an American solider stationed in France during WWII.  He purchased several and I was fortunate to receive them from someone who knew I love all things French! 

The beautiful interiors of Versailles remain one of the historical treasures of France! Just to imagine Queen Marie Antoninette walking in the grand rooms and in the gardens remains as a tribute to the life that she led there.....until the sad end!  I have just finished reading  a wonderful book about her life! I place it as one of my all time favorites.  A strong woman always has a story to tell and one we can learn from, both good and not so good! 

Marie Antoinette!  Just say her name and many opinions are formed!  For sure, she was a fascinating person!  At fourteen, she became the Queen of France!  She arrived in France in 1770, naive and hardly more than a child and quite unprepared to become the future queen.  In the beginning, she was adored for her good looks and all of this just because she was the Queen!  However, her pride and her extravagance in her life's choices and entitlement of her position as Queen and her extravagance of her clothing and her friendships outside the chateau made resentment grow toward her.  This resentment grew from the people who were closest to her within Versailles.  They turned against her one at a time and soon, she was forced to take refuge in her own fantasy world within the castle, oblivious to criticism.

For sure, she was a charming person. Attractive, accomplished, yet married to a man, King Louis XVI, who waited many years to consummate their marriage.  Her life is one, which it seems,  she had little choice in decisions...... from the very beginning.  Who can imagine a daughter leaving home at fourteen to be married in a foreign country to someone they had never met?   There was a small blessing, as she continued her relationship with her mother through letters and guidance in the letters she received from her mother. She adored her children when she was blessed to finally birth them.  She had a mother's heart.  This is so evident to anyone who reads her life's story!  To me, one of the saddest parts of her life were the people who worked for her, these trusted people turned against her one by one.  According to history, the story of "The Diamond Necklace" was the final blow .

 Eventually, this led to the entire country of France turning against her and, she then being led to the guillotine. Such a sad waste of a life that could have counted for good!

In a time of change in France, she played a key role in the progression toward a country without need of a King and Queen.  Today, France has opened the grandest palace in Europe for us all to see the beauty of Versailles, her home and the palace where her days were lived out.  In May, I am planning to go to Versailles with one of my daughters and three of my friends!  I can hardly wait!  

P.S. Here is the famous story of The Diamond Necklace...... The Affair of the Diamond Necklace was an incident in the 1780s at the court of Louis XVI of France involving his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette. The reputation of the Queen, which was already tarnished by gossip, was ruined by the implication that she had participated in a crime to defraud the crown jewellers of the cost of a very expensive diamond necklace. The Affair was historically significant as one of the events that led to the French populace's disillusionment with the monarchy, which, among other causes, eventually culminated in the French Revolution.

No comments:

Post a Comment