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Juliet Grey


Busting Marie Antoinette Myths: 7 Things She Never Did

Posted: 08/22/11 09:25 AM ET

Marie Antoinette, the glamorous last queen of France, was notorious for many things--most of which she never did or said. Because history is written by the winners and she was the French Revolution's greatest victim, much of the information handed down about her lies somewhere between gross exaggeration and outright lies. Many people think she just went from heedless to headless, a bubble-headed spendthrift who was responsible for the revolution. So here are seven busted myths about the woman who became Marie Antoinette and the truth behind the propaganda. Want more on Marie Antoinette? Check out my book "Becoming Marie Antoinette."

Marie Antoinette never said, "Let them eat cake."
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Let's lay this tired old saw to rest once and for all. The actual phrase was Qu'ils mangent de la brioche ("Let them eat brioche") and it may have been uttered by Maria Theresa, the Spanish-born queen of "the Sun King," Louis XIV. Marie Antoinette was, in fact, extremely generous to the starving peasantry and citizenry of France, making numerous contributions both financially and materially, to those in distress.
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