Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Etiquette and Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette helping the blind –"The King and Queen were patrons of the Maison Philanthropique, a society which helped the aged, blind and widows. The queen taught her daughter Madame Royale to wait upon peasant children, to sacrifice her Christmas gifts so as to buy fuel and blankets for the destitute, and to bring baskets of food to the sick. Marie-Antoinette started a home for unwed mothers at the royal palace. She adopted three poor children to be raised with her own, as well overseeing the upbringing of several needy children, whose education she paid for, while caring for their families. She brought several peasant families to live on her farm at Trianon, building cottages for them. There was food for the hungry distributed every day at Versailles, at the King’s command." 
"Marie Antoinette is one of the most written-about women in history—and for the best writing reasons. Her story combines two unfailing narrative ingredients: a fairy tale flashing with all the diamond glint of palaces and courtiers, a horror story of human cruelty and blood. The combination is so compelling that the life of the lovely Austrian princess who lived an infuriatingly frivolous life and died an endearingly brave death can be told and retold with remarkably little attention to the social upheaval that doomed her." —From "Beautiful and Doomed," Andre Castelot
All the diamond glint of palaces and courtiers – Depiction of Marie Antoinette in bed, from the 2006 film Marie Antoinette

"Her first desire was to purify the court where licentiousness in either sex had long been the surest road to royal favor. She began by making a regulation, that she would receive no lady who was separated from her husband; and she abolished a senseless and inexplicable rule of etiquette which had hitherto prohibited the queen and princesses from dining or supping in company with their husbands. Such an exclusion from the king’s table of those who were its most natural and becoming ornaments had notoriously facilitated and augmented the disorders of the last reign; and it was obvious that its maintenance must at least have a tendency to lead to a repetition of the old irregularities. Fortunately, the king was as little inclined to approve of it as the queen. All his tastes were domestic, and he gladly assented to her proposal to abolish the custom. 

Throughout the reign, at all ordinary meals, at his suppers when he came in late from hunting, when he had perhaps invited some of his fellow-sportsmen to share his repast, and at State banquets, Marie Antoinette took her seat at his side, not only adding grace and liveliness to the entertainment, but effectually preventing license, and even the suspicion of scandal; and, as she desired that her household as well as her family should set an example of regularity and propriety to the nation, she exercised a careful superintendence over the behavior of those who had hitherto been among the least-considered members of the royal establishment." —From 

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

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