Friday, March 17, 2017

Etiquette and Marie Antoinette

Anne d'Arpajon, aka "Madame Etiquette" ~A French aristocrat and First Lady of Honour to Queens of France, Marie Leszczyńska and Marie Antoinette, Anne d'Arpajon was called "Madame Etiquette" by Marie Antoinette for her insistence that no minutia of court etiquette ever be disregarded or altered in any way

Dressing the French Queen

What a cruel ceremony was the dressing of that tame Queen! When Maria Antoinette, in the days of her cumbersome greatness, stood of a morning in the centre of her bed chamber, awaiting, after her bath, her first article of dress. It was presented to her, or rather it was passed over her royal shoulders by the "Dame d'Honneur." Perhaps, at the moment, a "Princess of the Blood" entered the room (for French Queens both dressed and dined in public), the right of putting on the primal garment of Her Majesty immediately devolved upon her, but it could not be yielded to her by the "Dame d'Honneur;" the latter, arresting the chemise de la reine as it was passing down the royal back, adroitly whipped it on, and, presenting it to the "Premiere Dame," that Noble lady transferred it to the "Princess of the Blood."

Madame d'Arpajon had once to give it up to the Duchess of Orleans, who, solemnly taking the same, was on the point of throwing it over the Queen's head, when a scratching (it was contrary to etiquette to knock) was heard at the door of the room. Thereupon entered the Countess de Provence, and she being nearer to the throne than the Lady of Orleans, the latter made over her office to the new comer, in the meantime, the Queen stood like Venus as to covering, but shaking with cold, for it was mid-winter, and muttering, "what an odious nuisance." The Countess de Provence entered on the mission which had fallen to herself, and this she did so awkwardly, that she entirely demolished a head-dress which had taken three hours to build. The Queen beheld the devastation, and got warm by laughing outright. – D. Doran, 1855

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia