Marie Antoinette

last Queen of France prior to the French Revolution

Marie Antoinette (November 2 1755October 16 1793) was Queen of France and Archduchess of Austria. She was the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and his wife Maria Theresa of Austria, the wife of Louis XVI, and the mother of Louis XVII. She was guillotined during the French Revolution. She was born Archduchess Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna of the Habsburg dynasty.

It is quite certain that in seeing the people who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness.


  • It is quite certain that in seeing the people who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness. The king seems to understand this truth; as for myself, I know that in my whole life (even if I live for a hundred years) I shall never forget the day of the coronation.
    • After learning of the bread shortages that were occurring in Paris at the time of Louis XVI's coronation in Rheims, as quoted in Marie Antoinette: The Journey (2001) by Antonia Fraser, p. 135 ISBN 0307277747 . Tradition persists that Marie Antoinette joked "Let them eat cake!" (Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.) This phrase, however, occurs in a passage of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Confessions, written in 1766, when Marie Antoinette was 11 years old and four years before her marriage to Louis XVI. Cf. The Straight Dope, "On Language" by William Safire at The New York Times, and in the discussions at Google groups.
  • We had a beautiful dream and that was all. The interest of my son is the only guide I have, and whatever happiness I could achieve by being free of this place I cannot consent to separate my self from him. I could not have any pleasure in the world if I abandoned my children.I do not even have any regrets.
    • Marie Antoinette to the Chevalier Jarjayes on his persuading her to escape alone from the Tower; Lettres, II. p. 433; also quoted in Marie Antoinette: The Journey (2001) by Antonia Fraser, ISBN 0307277747.
  • Courage! I have shown it for years; think you I shall lose it at the moment when my sufferings are to end?
    • Responding to the priest who had accompanied her to the foot of the guillotine, who had whispered, "Courage, madame! Now is the time for courage." Quoted in Women of Beauty and Heroism (1859) by Frank B. Goodrich, p. 301.
    • Variant translations:
    • Courage! The moment when my ills are going to end is not the moment when courage is going to fail me.
      • To the juror, Abbé Girard, shortly before her death, quoted in Marie-Antoinette a la Conciergerie (du ler août au 16 octobre 1793) 2nd edition (1864) by M. Émile Campardon
    • Courage? The moment when my troubles are going to end is not the moment when my courage is going to fail me.
      • As quoted in Marie Antoinette (2008) by Jane Bingham, p. 39
  • What do you make of these threatening verses?... Pray heaven you speak truly, Madame d’Adhémar, however, these are strange experiences. Who is this personage who has taken an interest in me for so many years without making himself known, without seeking any reward, and who yet has always told me the truth? He now warns me of the overthrow of everything that exists and, if he gives a gleam of hope, it is so distant that I may not reach it... You fancy that I possess credit or power in our Salon. You are mistaken; I had the misfortune to believe that a Queen was permitted to have friends. The consequence is that all try to rule me, or to use me for their own personal advantage. I am the centre of a crowd of intrigues, which I have difficulty in avoiding.
  • "The King of Prussia is innately a bad neighbor, but the English will also always be bad neighbors to France, and the sea has never prevented them from doing her great mischief."
  • "No harm will come to me. The Assembly is prepared to treat us leniently."
  • "I have come, Sire, to complain of one of your subjects who has been so audacious as to kick me in the belly."
  • "We made our entrance into Paris. As for honors, we received all that we could possibly imagine; but they, though very well in their way, were not what touched me most. What was really affecting was the tenderness and earnestness of the poor people, who, in spite of the taxes with which they are overwhelmed, were transported with joy at seeing us."
  • "In a month’s time, I shall be able to give your Majesty news of the Comtesse de Provence, for the marriage is fixed for May 14th; they had prepared many fetes for this marriage, but now they are economising in them for want of money."
  • Pardon me, sir, I did not do it on purpose.
    • Last words, spoken after she stepped on her executioner's foot on her way to the guillotine

Quotes about Marie Antoinette

  • It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in,—glittering like the morning star, full of life and splendor, and joy. Oh! what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honour and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone.—That of sophisters, economists; and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.
  • [Her] rumored tribadism had historically specific political implications. Consider her final (fictive) testimony in The Confession of Marie-Antoinette: 'People!' she protests, 'because I ceded to the sweet impressions of nature, and in imitating the charming weakness of all the women of the court of France, I surrendered to the sweet impulsion of hold me, as it were, captive within your walls?'"
    • Dena Goodman (2003). Marie-Antoinette: writings on the body of a queen. Psychology Press. pp. 144–145. ISBN 0-415-93395-1. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
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