Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Queen of France

People like to say that Marie-Antoinette hated France and the French. It is not true. Marie-Antoinette saw being Queen of France, in spite of the many inconveniences and burdens attached to the role, as being the apex of earthly existence. She preferred for her daughter Madame Royale to remain in France as a princess of France, married to a French-born prince, rather than arrange a marriage for her with a king of another country. Also, Marie-Antoinette did not want to be separated from her daughter as she herself had been divided from her family at such a tender age. Madame Campan attests to these facts in her Memoirs, while relating some events that occurred in 1787.
I had an opportunity on this occasion, as indeed on many others, of judging to what extent the Queen valued and loved France and the dignity of our Court. She then told me that Madame, in marrying her cousin, the Duc d’Angouleme, would not lose her rank as daughter of the Queen; and that her situation would be far preferable to that of queen of any other country; and that there was nothing in Europe to be compared to the Court of France; and that it would be necessary, in order to avoid exposing a French Princess to feelings of deep regret, in case she should be married to a foreign prince, to take her from the palace of Versailles at seven years of age, and send her immediately to the Court in which she was to dwell; and that at twelve would be too late; for recollections and comparisons would ruin the happiness of all the rest of her life. The Queen looked upon the destiny of her sisters as far beneath her own..... (Madame Campan's Memoirs)


Lucy said...

It was very important for Marie-Antoinette to have her children close to her. She went through enough hardships having to leave her own family; she couldn't bare to have her children go through this as well.
Thanks for bringing up this important point. This Queen was always so misunderstood.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, she wanted to keep her children near her always.

lara77 said...

Elena Maria, I am confused on one point. Marriage in 18th century Europe was always arranged when the people involved wre royalty or aristocracy; Queen Marie Antoinette talks about her daughter marrying her first cousin, the Duc d'Angouleme? This was acceptable in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church?

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Lara, cousins could (and can) be married with a special dispensation from the Church. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were second cousins once removed. Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth were first cousins. There are many instances, especially among the Habsburgs, of cousins marrying.