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Marie-Antoinette is arguably one of the most controversial women in French history. She was a multi-faceted woman; frivolous, a big spender
and sentimental, but also a modern woman who wanted to preserve her
intimacy and her freedom. Marie-Antoinette was only fifteen years old when she
arrived from Vienna to Versailles to marry Louis, who would be the future
Louis XVI.Three thousand courtesans were living in the Castle of Versailles, the most rigid and cruel court of Europe. Marie-Antoinette was just 19 years old when she became the Queen of France. She’s quickly disappointed by a boring husband whose only passion is collecting locks. Louis XVI is shy and clumsy. It takes seven years for the two of them to create an heir. Marie laid in wait, and remained a virgin for those seven years. All that time she had to bear the humiliation of Versailles and all of France. The courtesans of Versailles made fun of her and her impotent husband who was not able to give a future king to the French kingdom. Then, there were the awful rumors. People whispered that Marie-Antoinette might be a lesbian and that among her many lovers there was her best friend the beautiful Contesse de Polignac, at the time extremely scandalous. Marie-Antoinette did not care about the rumors . She was a rebel from the start. When she first arrived at the court she refused to wear her corset, a torturous instrument designed to cinch the woman’s waist making it thinner and the breasts larger. She rebelled against the strict rules of Versailles. She was not allowed to get dressed by herself. After waking the queen was dressed in front of the most important ladies of the court. She had to wait, naked and shivering, whilst fifteen countesses who awaited her decided who will have the privilege to give a shirt to the queen.
Eventually Marie-Antoinette suppressed this humiliating ritual which resulted in angry aristocrats. She wasn’t allowed to voice political opinions, so she took refuge in the private sphere and decided to become the fashion icon of the court. She had no intimate relationships, one could say that she compensated for her lack of love by becoming a shopping addict. Each morning she saw her dressmaker, Rose Bertin, to choose what to wear to keep the title of the most beautiful woman in France. Before Chanel and Dior, there was Rose Bertin, a commoner and humble dressmaker. Marie-Antoinette threw out all the courtesans from Versailles and replaced them with this simple yet talented dressmaker. Together they choose lightweight silks, brocade, satins, feathers, ribbons, gauze and pearls, creating the most sumptuous of dresses. Rose Bertin was described as the “Fashion Minister” by the Queen. Together they invented Haute Couture. Marie-Antoinette truly reigned when it came to fashion at court. She made an enormous sensation each time she appeared, and Rose Bertin did not come cheap. Marie-Antoinette had a huge influence on fashion all over Europe in the XVIII century. Even now, the most famous couturiers like John Galliano and Karl Lagerfeld, continue to take inspiration from her baroque style. This fascinating woman is still being talked about thanks to her unique allure.
She became a symbol of the excesses of the monarchy and is often credited with the famous quote "Let them eat cake," although there is no evidence she actually said it. After the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, the royal family was forced to live under the supervision of revolutionary authorities. In 1793, the king was executed; then, Marie Antoinette was arrested and tried for trumped-up crimes against the French republic. She was convicted and sent to the guillotine on October 16, 1793.