Marie-Antoinette never said any such thing, as I hope readers of this blog have discovered. One theory about the origins of the legend of the phrase "Let them eat cake" is that it is the misunderstanding of a passage from the memoirs of the Comte de Provence (Louis XVIII), the brother of Louis XVI. Provence and his wife escaped from Paris to Coblenz by post-chaise in June, 1791. They stopped to eat and had meager provisions. Provence makes the allusion to a remark made by the queen of Louis XIV, Maria Theresa of Spain, in this passage:
We had a pie and some claret, but we had forgotten bread; and whilst we ate the crust with the pie, we thought of Queen50 Maria Theresa, who hearing one day the poor people pitied for being in want of bread, replied, "But, dear me, why do they not eat pie-crust?"Pie-crust was often fed to the beggars, from the back doors of the patisseries. Marie-Antoinette, however, never made any such remark in regard to starving people. Instead, she gave generously to the poor. What she did say, which is rarely quoted, is this: "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."