Happy 255th Birthday, Marie Antoinette!
On November 2, 2010, history buffs and Francophiles the world over, as well as those who still refer to Louis XVI's beheaded consort as La Reine Martyre, or "the martyred queen,"celebrated the 255th birthday of Marie Antoinette.
I am still, well, neck-deep in revisions for my novel on Her Majesty, so this will be a visual post in her honor. I fell in love with Marie Antoinette during my research on her marriage to Louis Auguste, the dauphin of France (and future Louis XVI) for NOTORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES
Many of the negative opinions I had long held about her were exploded by the facts, and by a deeper look with sympathetic eyes into the circumstances that shaped her -- foreign and domestic, social and political, those that came from her own powerful Hapsburg family and those that came from her equally powerful Bourbon in-laws. It spurred my passion to turn my novelist's pen to her story. Much indeed has been written about her, but my research uncovered content and ideas that have never before been explored in the realm of historical fiction, and those became my springboard.
Marie Antoinette was one of many famous women throughout history who became famous for reinventing themselves through their physical appearance; allowing fashion to make the statement for them.
Madonna and Lady Gaga have merely taken their cues from the queen of them all.
Do you have any opinions of Marie Antoinette? Did you once have certain opinions of her that were changed in some way by something (The Antonia Fraser biography? The Kirsten Dunst movie? Another source?)
And Happy (slightly belated) birthday, Your Majesty. We all know that you never uttered the phrase "Let them eat cake," but may we please have a slice, in your honor?