Friday, November 2, 2007

Marie-Antoinette's Birthday



November 2 is the birthday of Marie-Antoinette of Lorraine-Austria, Queen of France. Here is an account of her birth. Laudem Gloriae has a post about the requiem Mass recently said on the spot in Paris where the queen died, the Place de la Concorde.

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10 comments:

Terry Nelson said...

Elena, I wonder if you could comment on the Queen's dress and the fashion of the day? It seems immodest for the time, and I wonder if it was considered as such?

elena maria vidal said...

Great question, Terry. People have mentioned this before. In the picture used on this post Marie-Antoinette was only 12 or 13 and I doubt she even picked out the dress; her mother or governess probably did. It was etiquette at every major court of Europe to wear such low-cut gowns and it was not considered immodest by the standards of the time. Ladies wore tight whale bone stays that were considered modest since that compressed the natural feminine form so much. That was where the term "strait-laced" evolved from, I believe.

When Marie-Antoinette was queen, she tried to introduce simpler fashions, such as the white gown in the picture of her on my sidebar. That gown was not so low-cut, but she also wore it without corsets. A woman who did not wear corsets was called a "loose woman." Marie-Antoinette was called "loose" for wearing the white gowns, which in our eyes are actually more modest than the court gowns.

elena maria vidal said...

In the painting above the young Archduchess Antonia has her hair heavily powdered and she is wearing rouge. It was court etiquette to wear powder on the hair and rouge on the face, for men and women alike. Marie-Antoinette often went without hair powder when she was at the Trianon, and the natural look was considered quite shocking to many.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I wonder how long these Masses for Antoinette have been going on in Paris? A friend of mine who is from France says that when she grew up there she only learned the standard "selfish, cold, greedy, wild Marie Antoinette" stuff in school. I had given her Trianon and her eyes were totally opened, she knew none of the real story. She often despairs of the antagonistic attitude towards the Church in her country. So, it surprises me that there are Frenchmen in Paris today who exhibit such devotion to her in public, especially by celebrating Mass on the Place de la Concorde! Wow, maybe there is hope for the First Daughter of the Church, after all!

elena maria vidal said...

I really think there is hope and we will see many interesting things in our lifetimes.

Terry Nelson said...

Thanks Elena - the fashion was much more modest than our day.

Christine said...

Elena,
Thank you for the post. I should clarify that I myself was not able to make it to the Requiem Mass, and obtained the photo from another.

There are a number of Traditional Catholic parishes in France that offer a yearly Requiem Mass in Marie-Antoinette's honor. Traditional Catholicism is actually rather strong and flourishes in France, and one can find the Mass according to the 1962 rite offered in every diocese.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Christine, for the photo and for the information! Hope springs eternal!

Coffee Catholic said...

WOW they had Mass on the spot where the Queen died! Does this mean she's being thought of as a possible Saint?!

elena maria vidal said...

Some people might see it that way. Most pf all, it is to offer the Holy Sacrifice on the spot where the queen and many others, had their lives cut short by the godless Revolution.