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Myth: Marie Antoinette was stripped naked

MYTH: Dauphine Marie Antoinette was stripped naked at the French border.

This old custom had long been abandoned!  WB


Leonard’s Journey Begins…

Leonard, having made the long journey from Bordeaux, finally arrived in Paris on a summer’s evening in 1769 after an arduous day of traveling. He was tired, he wrote in his journal, but he would not allow himself to appear so. His only luggage was but a beautiful shell comb and a “big bundle of vanity,” which would hide the fact that he had just covered some 120 miles in two weeks…on foot.

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Leonard in VOGUE UK – September 2013

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Vogue UK (September 2013 Issue)

A mention–including the fabulous cover!!!–of Marie Antoinette’s Head made it in Vogue UK’s September issue.

As the publication’s Fall Fashion issue, the September issue is the publication’s FATTEST, most important issue of the year (if you haven’t seen it, check out the fabulous documentary, The September Issue, which followed Anna Wintour and her staff–including the brilliant Grace Coddington–on their quest to put together the U.S. issue: As they say in the trailer: “September is the January in fashion.”

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Personal Reflections:  

My take on Marie Antoinette is that she was rather attractive and lively. Though naturally thoughtless, she was a kind-hearted woman and her intentions were good. Indeed, she detested the etiquette of the rigid court, but she was also perhaps too ostentatious in her taste for privacy which only alienated her from the courtiers of Versailles, allies dearly missed in troubling times to follow.

Marie en routeHer thoughtlessness was always a pretense for slander but, I believe, her conduct was generally innocent. If strong-willed, it should be remembered that, on the other hand, her husband was pathetically weak. Queen Marie Antoinette soon became his closest adviser, only serving to excite the people’s animosity against her and the crown.

The queen was courageous during the attacks on Versailles, the Tuileries, and against the royal family in general. She always seemed more concerned about the welfare of her husband and her children than herself. Captive in the Temple prison with her family and servants, she remained dignified under the most trying circumstances, always holding her head high. During her trial and the harsh conditions of her imprisonment in the Conciergerie, Marie Antoinette exhibited a moral strength which not only astonished but also irritated her bitterest enemies.

Whether innocent or guilty of the crimes for which she was convicted, do you find her imprisonment and punishment just and deserving or cruelly administered?

Omens and Curses

UntitledFifteen years before the arrival of the new dauphine of France, on the 2nd of November 1770, the city of Lisbon woke to a devastating earthquake, in which some thirty thousand lives perished. On the very same day, All Souls’ Day, far from the terrible disaster, Marie Antoinette was born in the gay city of Vienna.

The pretty, strawberry-blond daughter of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria was best described by the great historian of the French Revolution, Thomas Carlyle, as that “Beautiful Highborn that wert so foully hurled low.”

Yes, the princess would become one of the best-beloved, the best-hated, and the most miserable women of her time. First known for her dignity and grace, later her faults and follies would help fuel the fires of a revolution that would make her the last queen of France.

Whether despised or pitied, Queen Marie Antoinette’s remains, after more than two hundred years later, one of the most fascinating characters in history.