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Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

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Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:00 pm

First topic message reminder :

Some months ago, if someone had asked me what I really-really want to read, I would have immediately answer: that Bertiere biography, only available in French. Now I found out on Vive la Reine that there IS an English translation, and read the first few pages. It's definitely not a Rocheterie or Charles Duke Yonge, but also no Fraser or (thank God!) Zweig. It doesn't seem to be a detailed biography, but a biographical essay about the Queen. And then there's this statement that her marriage was a disaster for France, Louis and even herself...  Question  I didn't expect it from Bertiere, honestly. She was the one who revisited the royal couple's sexuality and came to the conclusion that practically none of them can be blamed for the long-time absence of the heir. Then why to label their controversal relationship and situation as a "disaster"? I *can't* change my opinion that although both of them had very difficult lives from the beginnig (except for Antoinette's childhood), they were a kind of remedy for each other, from two strangers nothing in common to a perfect team. I know it's only a question of interpretations, but it really matters for me how the royals' relationship is portrayed.

Those here who already know this book better: is it really her point of view throughout the book, or only a hook for the readers? Not that it would hold me back from reading it, but I want to know what to expect from Bertiere after this little "shock" in the very beginning.
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:51 am

Thanks for the clarification!

This would speak more against Fersen, would it not? If she needed that much time to get used to her husband then certainly she wouldn't have slept with a man she didn't know too well for a while. He was often gone and there could have been no committed relationship since she was married and he slept around!

I believe she and Louis did grow to love each other. People act as though the poor woman was deprived by a disinterested and unattractive husband and needed this romantic, dashing Swede to reach some kind of ecstasy or sexual awakening. Louis certainly found her beautiful and I think she could find him attractive too.

I hate the assumption that if you disagree with the affair then you try to purify her. Not at all. She had other faults but I don't adultery was one of them. I just can't see it. Wouldn't a fixation and physical relationship with Fersen had interfered with her duty as a wife and mother? Possibly. And since she remained devoted to her family, I am inclined to believe that he was not a distraction.

Yes, she was accused of horrible debauchery. Sleeping with one man outside of marriage is certainly different than sleeping with dozens as she was thought to have done. But wouldn't violating her marriage vows, even just once, have only given credence to the rumors?

She surely would have viewed herself as a fallen woman at that point and it would have been hypocritical for her to dislike others like Catherine the Great whom she considered very immoral. And I don't think she justified her behavior because she was "unhappy" or that Fersen was too hard to resist and as long as he was not a long term lover, and she still slept with her husband, etc.
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:48 am

I have just been reading my copy of this book again.

I have re-read the section on Fersen and find it interesting. Bertiere acknowledges that we cannot be certain one way or the other but that it is curious people spoke of his favor.

She explains the stove story. Some claim that MA's order to the stove was never found so I'm not sure from where they derive the idea that she did indeed order one. If she did I do not think it was anything immoral. She couldn't very well openly live with a lover, or not even discreetly.

It is interesting that his letters to her before the revolution were destroyed and I wonder why he referred to her as Josephine. The author claims that still, this could only mean courtly or chaste love. Although she says that it may have ripened into physical after she was finished having children.

But wasn't she more devout in the latter part of the 80s? And if she was no longer intimate with her husband how could she risk becoming pregnant or being intimate with another man?! Bizarre claim here that I must disagree with. A further point of contention for me is that Louis would have consented to any form of a relationship between them, as stated by Saint Priest.

I can see where people gather their opinions based on these evidences and the comments of others and lack of papers. Sometimes it does seem suspicious. Why would he need to use a pseudonym for the Queen if it were all innocent? Just in case? For sometime so intent on keeping her honor, he apparently liked people thinking he was her lover. He never denied it.

I just cannot seriously imagine that she could have been so careless and slept with him, let alone let him live with her at Versailles or Trianon. Someone would have reported it and Louis would not have been complacent. Some odd assertions for sure.

However, Bertiere does make the point that Fersen received much sexual gratification elsewhere and that the Queen, being modest and relatively inexperienced, as well as having been brought up in a strict Catholic environment, was probably not engaged in relations of that kind with him or was very interested.

I am doubtful how deep her affection for him was. She may have been in love with him but then she must have had enough control over herself to not fall into temptation. A lengthy affair, or even a short one, I should think, would have been discovered and caused problems for her.

Who knows? He certainly cared for her and maybe let on more than she did and spoke with certainties to his acquaintances of his feelings for him. She proves indiscreet though because people notice her preference for him and came to their own conclusions. One mustn't forget Louis in this. Obviously, he trusted his wife and didn't doubt of her love and fidelity for him. He would never have consented to such a liaison.
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:29 pm

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:I am doubtful how deep her affection for him was. She may have been in love with him but then she must have had enough control over herself to not fall into temptation.

This is exactly the point without any reliable sources. We can't really know how she felt, and speculating about it can't be a serious historical method. (I personally think that the whole question is totally irrelevant, after all.) The fact is that nobody has found a single written source yet where she claims her feelings about Fersen. People tend to believe that the "adieu, you most beloved and loving of men"-letter is the proof, but this one contradicts authenticated letters and isn't in her handwriting at all. But even if we assume that it's an authenticated letter, it also can mean a friendly or sisterly infatuation towards Fersen, not only a passionate love between two lovers. So the fact is that nothing speaks for Antoinette's love for Fersen, and this makes the whole love story unbelievable for me. We can ponder about what she never told or wrote down, but in this sense I could claim that she had an imaginary friend she always talked to in her mind. Can anyone prove this with sources? No. So let's use Occam's razor and forget about those uncontrollable ideas! Rolling Eyes
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:05 pm

I agree! We have little "facts" presented to us and should rely on what we know for certain. People can always point to missing letters and censored documents to make their point that something other than friendship existed between them.

But we won't know. At best, if there was a romantic attachment, I think she loved him and found him attractive but stayed faithful in her marriage. She did stay with her husband after all. And she came to rely on Fersen at the end. Whatever "romance" they had earlier, the relationship changed. It quickly became a dangerous time and she and her husband took turns having nervous breakdowns.

Bertiere also says that all of their contemporaries suspected they were lovers and that neither denied it. Well, she did not deny the other allegations either, did she? What made people so sure that he, Fersen, was the sole man with whom she may have broken her vows? I just seriously doubt they found any real time alone and that others simply took it for granted that the relationship was sexual.

I admit that her supposedly procuring a room for him that was close to hers is quite risky and bold but not necessarily indicative of a sexual affair. She began to rely on him and other friends during these later years. It would have been most dangerous, if not stupid to engage in relations. The censoring and destruction of both earlier and later correspondence is also rather strange but, again, not confirmation.

Antoinette may have given part of her heart to him but there is not enough evidence to say she gave him her body. People only assumed so because they did not understand the idea of emotional love. Even if they were able to steal some intimate moments it does not mean they were having sex. Which brings me back to an earlier point.

A long affair doesn't make sense, but could we allow for a shorter one? Again, I am doubtful for I believe she would have sopped seeing him to resist further transgression. But is it possible that as long as she didn't make a habit out of it, she was able to justify it?

Apparently Fersen's sister worried that the Queen would be jealous of Eleanore Sullivan because of his love for her. This is an interesting point. Perhaps Fersen told his sister he had the Queen's love and she interpreted it to mean they were in love. He did say she was the only woman who truly loved him.

That leads me to believe that she was "pure" in his eyes, able to transcend possible sexual attraction and not succumb. Her love for him was based purely on him as a person and not for other reasons. This did not apparently stop him from wishing to be considered as her lover by others, however.

Despite the suspicion of others, people's silences, including their own, as well as missing letters and "living together" it still cannot be confirmed. If she did allow him a place at Versailles it could hardly have been a love nest for she surely would've been caught even in a private and "secret room." She wouldn't conduct an affair right under her husband's, and the court's nose! Actually, her room was connected to Louis' both as Versailles and the Tuileries. I'm not exactly sure of the specific layout and where these interior rooms might have been that enabled him to stay but it would have hardly been with discretion.
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:51 pm

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:Bertiere also says that all of their contemporaries suspected they were lovers and that neither denied it. Well, she did not deny the other allegations either, did she?

The whole statement is wrong. There were many of those "all contemporaries" (let's remain by those who knew the royals and/or Fersen at least briefly) who never mentioned Fersen in their memoirs in connection with the Queen (why not, if he played such an important role in her life?), neither did the revolutionary tribunals while accusing her with lots of disgusting prosecutions. Léonard Autié writes that Fersen was in love with Antoinette and she was aware of it, but nothing happened between them that would dishonor her name. And it doesn't sound like a suspection in the memoir, but a fact Léonard seems to know for sure. And he was not only one random contemporary, but a man who knew both of them very well. So this argument is really weak.
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:58 pm

Great point! Smile

It's what I think. Fersen was in love with her and imagined her more in love with him than she actually was. She was affectionate yes but perhaps not more. If they were in love I doubt they had an affair.

Who was this contemporary? I haven't heard him name before. I agree with him! Smile

I still doubt if he actually had a room at Versailles and if he did, I am inclined to believe it was an innocent gesture. And who knows if all of his letters to her as Josephine as really for her. Most are missing. It seems their relationship was quite informal though which is interesting!
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:39 pm

Oh wait, is this the Leònard who was her hairdresser?

I disagree with those also that claim she was so discreet and that's why people never knew. Apparently not exhale people thought they were lovers. And if he had his own room surely someone would have known.

I think the apartments were innocent and it's still uncertain...same with the stove. I think Fersen would have been more careful also about code names if they meant Antoinette and could be taken the wrong way.

But then why exaggerate their relationship?
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:43 pm

Sorry I meant to say enough, not exhale haha!

Then some also claim that perhaps there were other Josephines to throw people off and not compromise her. Who knows?

I just flat out to refuse to believe that she threw her husband out of the marital bed to shack up with a lover and that Louis approved of this!
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:20 pm

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:Oh wait, is this the Leònard who was her hairdresser?

Yes, he is Very Happy Some months ago, I started to collect online available memoirs, and his was one of them.
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:30 pm

Yes I've seen his and read some of it too!

He seems pretty reliable Smile sorry to keep talking about this but: what do you think about the apartments and stove she had for him?

And also about the Josephine letters? He could have been talking about other ladies. But there seems to be some kind of correlation. Why the psuedonym if it was innocent? And again with the missing letters...

And Saint Priest? I disagree that Louis approved of some kind of relationship even one where no sex was involved.
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:13 pm

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote: sorry to keep talking about this but: what do you think about the apartments and stove she had for him?

And also about the Josephine letters? He could have been talking about other ladies. But there seems to be some kind of correlation. Why the psuedonym if it was innocent? And again with the missing letters...

And Saint Priest? I disagree that Louis approved of some kind of relationship even one where no sex was involved.

It's no problem, but to be honest, I find this Fersen thing neither as important nor as relevant than you Smile But I like to talk about Antoinette in general, and this has also something to do with her, in the end...

As I've posted before (in another thread, I suppose), the stove story relies on too much speculation to take it seriously. For the Josephine letters: I don't know much about them, but if they are among the "destroyed letters", then they also can't really interest me. I've also shared my opinion about Saint-Priest: he wasn't among the Queen's inner circle, and his memoir is only one among the hundred others that say nothing about a love affair. The conclusion can be that some people (Saint-Priest, Madame Dillon's circle) really suspected that the two were lovers, and other people didn't. It doesn't really mean anything else but this.

You know, I don't care about those specific details. The "holistic" image I'm interested in speaks clearly against a love affair. The lifestyle in Versailles, the events of the Revolution, the style of their correspondence, the way Fersen writes about the Queen, the details one can find in existing sources - according to all these, an affair is simply not plausible. This is what matters to me, and I don't want to waste my life toying with a couple of arbitrary interpretations.

I hope you don't get this as an offense, but after you're returning to this topic permanently, it made me think that you want to convince yourself that there was no love affair between the two. You should adapt my point of view, stolen from Muppet Show: "The question is, who cares?" Wink 
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:32 pm

Haha, I see your point! Smile

And agree with your views. I will drop the topic as, I too, find many other aspects of her life to be far more interesting. I just like to get other perspectives and focus on some of these little details.

I like a good debate, as you can probably tell Wink and so, I'm always looking for other explanations that might fit my view of the situation as others who believe it happened might.

We cannot rely on others and unknown and questionable sources to prove a point. Given your knowledge of Versailles and the time period, as well as some of my own, i think it would have been impossible for them to have met so secretly or even been open lovers.

Perhaps there was some romance but many things tell me that it could not have been physical!

Moving on...what else shall we discuss? Wink
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:46 pm

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:I will drop the topic as, I too, find many other aspects of her life to be far more interesting.

I don't say you should drop the topic if it really interests you, but as long as I'm the only member here involving in it, we can only repeat the same thoughts. On some boring evenings, when I'm too tired to do anything but it's still no time to go to sleep, I open the old Marie Antoinette Forum and read the threads and debates of others from years ago. Or some German, French or Italian forums (the last ones with translator, of course). It's not the same as discussing something myself, but there were many people with different points of view, and reading their posts in also a lot of fun.

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:Moving on...what else shall we discuss? Wink

Whatever you like queen And thank you for being so active here, I really appreciate it!
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:53 pm

I do the same haha!! Razz

Many of the people on there are quite knowledgable and have interesting viewpoints. And it's only a topic that interests me because I want to be convinced and find it frustrating that Fersen seems to be one of the only ambiguous parts of her life. Of course, her relationship with Louis has also been distorted and is left to interpretation as well!

Thank you for being so active too!! And back to the actual topic of this thread haha I did enjoy this book overall. There were just a few views I didn't quite agree with. The issue of the consummation of the marriage however I did find credible Very Happy
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:38 pm

I find the old online forum very interesting! Very Happy

I hate some of the threads were deleted though like more about the Josephine letters and one about whether or not MA and Louis loved one another, which I believe they did!

And do you have any links to some of these foreign forums on hand? I would be interested to read them as I find MA to be very fascinating and am curious what other people think Smile
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:40 pm

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:And do you have any links to some of these foreign forums on hand? I would be interested to read them as I find MA to be very fascinating and am curious what other people think Smile

Here are the ones I know:

Alexander Palace (English) - this one is a Russian-related forum with certain topics to other royal families. The threads are very long, I've never read any of them from the beginning to the end, but it seems interesting.

Marie-Antoinette Forum (German) - this is surrounded by people who are very likely biased. (I came across some posts of a girl who is madly in love with Louis XVI and therefore hates Antoinette very much... but the others can be more sympathetic, I suppose...)

Marie-Antoinette Online Forum (German) - a less biased one that I appreciate therefore much more like the previous one.

Le Boudoir de Marie-Antoinette (French) - there are some members who also visited the English Marie-Antoinette forum. There are even more informations to be found than on the English one.

Le Forum de Marie-Antoinette (French) - to be honest, I had believed until this moment that this one and the previous one are the same Laughing It also seems to be a rich and informative one, by the way!

Lady Reading Forum (Italian) - there was a bilingual Italian-English site called "Lady Reading", dedicated to Empress Elisabeth, Marie-Antoinette, Ludwig II and another historical figure I can't remember of. It doesn't exist anymore, but fortunately, this forum remained!

If I find other ones, I'll update this list immediately! king
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:46 pm

Thank you very much! Smile

I appreciate it! Good to know there are other people searching for the truth!
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:04 pm

You seem to agree with Madame Bertiere that Antoinette wasn't a very sexual person so I think that precludes any affair. She associated sex and procreation with duty and I don't think Fersen came along and changed that. Wonder what friends like Polignac thought of him or ever wondered about the nature of their relationship....

But anyway, do you think her relationship with her husband was romantic or passionate at all? They didn't choose each other and it was their "duty" to have heirs but I would like to imagine it was more than friendship and devotion...her pregnancies were pretty frequent and little Sophie was a surprise! Wink
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:25 pm

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:You seem to agree with Madame Bertiere that Antoinette wasn't a very sexual person so I think that precludes any affair. She associated sex and procreation with duty and I don't think Fersen came along and changed that. Wonder what friends like Polignac thought of him or ever wondered about the nature of their relationship....

But anyway, do you think her relationship with her husband was romantic or passionate at all? They didn't choose each other and it was their "duty" to have heirs but I would like to imagine it was more than friendship and devotion...her pregnancies were pretty frequent and little Sophie was a surprise! Wink

I'm pretty sure that she was not sexual. I can't really tell you why do I have this strong feeling, but for me, everything speaks for it. She came from a healthy, functional, but strictly Catholic family, where "normal" sexuality meant fulfilling of matiral and procreative duties. Then she was thrown into a court with an over-sexualized mentality, and she remained an isolated "outsider" there for the rest of her life. As long as her relationship with her husband remained formal, both of them refused to have sex, which made them ridiculous in the eyes of their own courtiers. It seems that she only experienced sexual pleasures when she was 22 years old (in her century, it was considered as really "old"!), but this doesn't mean that her general attitude towards sexuality had ever changed. She hated mistresses (Du Barry), people with an immoral attitude (Rohan, the womanizer cardinal), she spent much spare time with the old-fashioned and prudish aunts, and she hadn't even wanted to be in a company of unmarried women for a long time. She was very friendly with a lot of male courtiers, but got scared and nearly disgusted if they fell in love with her (Besenval, Lauzun), and it was a kind of royal favour if she continued to have a friendly relationship towards those men (Fersen according to Léonard's memoirs, or Besenval's later life career - Lauzun remained out of her circles forever). She might not have been realized that her friendliness can be interpreted in a seductive way, probably because she had no idea about how it works.

As for her relationship with Louis, it developed with time from two married strangers to a passionately loving and caring couple. People like to see her "disappointed" after she met her husband, but there's no source that would prove this. On the contrary, she never really gave up trying to earn his attention, and every time her methods doesn't work well (in personal as well as in political matters), she seems to be terribly frustrated. At first, Louis as a person played a nearly unimportant role in her new courtly life, he was only one among the strange faces, and it took years until they really got to know each other. Then, after they became parents, they started to live as a nearly normal family, in a real union that was unfamiliar to the 18th century perception. And if you see how they talked and wrote about each other during the Revolution, they seem to be totally in love with each other.

I also don't think Antoinette had "energy" and need for other man-woman-relationships after 1773, by the time Louis started to be her "real" husband, and it's even more unnecessary after 1777. She concentrated on winning his confidence, respect and cooperation - she was no fool to risk it with any kind of betrayal! Then, after 1789, their bond became so strong that no one else could intrude in it. This is at least the way I see their relationship.
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:21 pm

I agree entirely!!

Yes views change as you grow older and maybe her attitude did change in regard to sexual matters but not enough to cheat. And I wonder if she knew how much of a womanizer Fersen actually was because even though he was a friend I don't think she would have approved which is another explanation for why she never slept with him.

As for Lauzun never making it back in her circle, I think had Fersen mad advances (even welcome, consensual ones) I think she would have had to dismiss him as well. But she never did.

I agree that she wasn't disgusted with Louis and grew to love him as a person, a husband and lover, father of her children, etc. Their relationship is much sweeter and it's clear to me she only knew about sex and love from her husband. I don't think she was so physical either. Friendships were her favorite form of intimacy. She had no need for another man and I don't believe she was tempted or brought to experience sex as something other than duty.

Yes, when she was younger that's how she saw it and how she was brought up to view it. But that doesn't mean it stayed that way with her husband. And she would have been a hypocrite for having a lover (even just giving in once) since she had a terrible opinion of other women who lived adulterous lifestyles.
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:38 pm

I am reading the English translation of Bertiere's biography again and she says that Antoinette purposefully avoided Louis and tried to control him. And that she often sent him out of her room when he wanted to make love. Perhaps she did want to avoid relations at first, if it was painful.

But Bertiere appears to have this opinion even after the marriage was fully consummated. I don't think Antoinette meant to discourage relations and fall back into old habits. I doubt she ever became very sexual but I don't believe she was disgusted with her husband and didn't wish to accomplish this "duty."

I believe if Antoinette was hesitant to engage in relations with Louis it was due to pain and fear, not because she thought he was "ugly." Yes they were modest and taught to view their bodies and nudity shamefully. But, once they matured, I think they came to see each other, and themselves, differently.

They could have let go of some of their old prudishness. I definitely don't believe either one sought to control the other and that she only loved him for his complacency or that he feared her. And I am also not of the opinion that Louis only slept with her so that she would bear his children even though that was her "purpose."

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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:27 pm

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:I believe if Antoinette was hesitant to engage in relations with Louis it was due to pain and fear, not because she thought he was "ugly." Yes they were modest and taught to view their bodies and nudity shamefully. But, once they matured, I think they came to see each other, and themselves, differently.

I agree! If you think about it that after they arrived to the Tuileries, Antoinette's first decision was to build a secret passage between their rooms... Wink It means that she wanted to be with him, on his side, even physically. He meant safety for her, after the other passage saved her life during the Women's March, and maybe something more. And even before the Revolution, Antoinette, listening to Maria Theresa's advices, tried to persuade Louis to share one bed with her all the time. It was against etiquette and court life, but she tried to change this habit. (I think exactly Louis was the one who needed his own space, and she wanted to be his confidant even in his difficult times, when he felt that the whole world is against him.)

Bertiere is remarkable to disprove the Freudian theory, but her interpretation clearly differs from mine...
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:48 pm

I agree!! Yes, they did have that passage built! She wanted the family close together during this time.

Some assume she and Louis never had relations again after Sophie was born. Perhaps for a time, so she could recover. But not because they were no longer interested. One thing I hated about Grey's novel was that Antoinette informed Fersen that she and her husband hardly ever slept with one another anymore and that when they had, it was just for duty! As if she would tell another man that!

And the fact that there was a passage, regardless if Louis stayed the night with her or not, would preclude anything happening with Fersen. I know Louis didn't stay the night at Trianon and didn't stay all night (often leaving in the mornings) in her bed at Versailles but sometimes he did. But this is a little off topic.

Louis was private and almost afraid of Antoinette at first when they married. But he did fall in love with her. It was hard for him to show emotions and sometimes they avoided each other. But I don't think they disliked one another or used each other at all.
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Re: Simone Bertiere: The Indomitable Marie-Antoinette

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