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Their Relationship

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Their Relationship

Post  Elena on Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:53 pm

The marriage of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette is one of the most controversial in history.

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What did Louis look like?

Post  Elena on Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:59 pm

Here is an good post about what Louis looked like when he was young.

http://historyandotherthoughts.blogspot.com/2011/10/what-did-louis-xvi-look-like.html

To quote:
Louis XVI is often described as fat and ugly but when I look at pictures of this king painted in his youth, that's not what I see at all. Although I don't find him particularly good-looking, he's not ugly either and it's easy to see why his contemporaries thought him handsome. He was a tall, strong, athletic man with blue eyes, nice lips and an aquiline nose. Here's how Nesta Webster describes him in her book, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette before the Revolution:

Five foot ten inches in height, heavily built but not yet too fat, with well-shaped legs, a pleasant ruddy countenance and pale blue eyes, of which the benevolent expression was veiled only by short-sightedness, Louis XVI at nineteen was not unpleasing. His voice, harmonious in its normal key, only rose discordantly under the stress of emotion. Unfortunately he walked badly, with the swaying motion peculiar to his family, trudging, instead of sliding smoothly after the fashion that was de rigueur, over the polished floors of Versailles. [...] Simple, honest, kindly, plainly dressed in his unenbroidered coat of brown or grey, he looked in no way regal. [...] Louis himself was delicate in childhood, and only by the age of sixteen had he begun to acquire the robustness and strength of muscle which drove him to find a vent for his energies in hunting, shooting and working at his anvil.

Louis XVI may have put on weight in his later years, but as a young price, he was nice-looking. I think the only thing he lacked to really look regal was a good dose of self-confidence. What do you think?

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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Mata Hari on Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:27 pm

I have always had a thing for quiet shy gauche men. I think Louis sounds wonderful. Wink

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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Sophie on Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:26 pm

Well... how they relationship worked? I think this question is one of the most exciting about them and a central point of my interest since I've first "met" them years ago. Without asking the poor couple itself, we only have the opportunity to create our opinions. I have to say that I'm very romantic Embarassed , this maybe influents my point of view, so I don't want to claim it's the one and only truth. Here it is:

They started their relationship as most of the political marriages started. Without knowing each other, without seeing each other often, having some prejudices about "the French", "the Austrian" - yes, it's not so easy to begin. But people who want to see it as a bad marriage forget that it was a specificity of this age, neither Louis nor Antoinette thought about their lives with our 21th century mind. In their age it wasn't a bad marriage because they started it with full respect - let's think about Artois' wife who was cheated, or the Habsburg princess who married the Brazilian emperor and was regularly hit by him! They are much worse royal marriages, aren't they?

Antoinette's relationship with the French Court was a bigger problem for her as a foreigner. She couldn't find her place among the intrigues (let's see the Madame Du Barry-story, for example), the strong etiquette was unfamiliar to her. And, as I think, it was the first contact between the couple that led them to have a closer, nearly 21th century style marriage, although they were different personalities. Louis didn't find his place at the Court, too, so he always tried to escape during his private working and hunting. Both of them wanted to make Versailles to a warmer place. They enjoyed the simple things much more than monumentals and wanted to live as ordinary people instead of rulers. They moved well with the times... and they were sentimental times with Rousseau's works, melodies, Vigée-Lebrun's honest paintings, the cult of nature, flowers, milkmaids and true emotions at all. It means that they had some unpleasant moments together, it's a quite human thing that emotions often create difficulties in a relationship. But somehow they could make everything out. Afterwards they became parents, which is really a lifelong chain, and new ages influenced the way they loved their children, too. Then they lost some of them and had to mourn together.

OK, I think Antoinette was more emotional, but more definite, talkative and hard-headed, too. Louis seems to be a silent, logical, intelligent person for me, who had a strong inner harmony (maybe because of his deep Christian faith), so he showed awesome braveness in danger. I don't evaluate it a bad constellation for a couple: both of them had something that the other one didn't, which was useful by handling with the revolution, and it seems to be the key how their relationship worked at the end, too. We can see how they remained together in the worst times and thought about each other while facing death... what is this if not true love?

Sorry, it's a bit long, but I can talk about it for hours Very Happy


Last edited by Sophie on Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:38 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Elena on Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:33 pm

So can I! Smile I agree with all you say, Sophie. When I think of how they stayed together and the Queen refused to leave her husband's side, that is what love looks like to me. I love you

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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Elena on Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:38 pm

With all the fervid speculations over Marie-Antoinette's relationship with Count Fersen, people forget that she saw herself first and foremost as the wife of Louis XVI, and mother of his children, the Enfants de France. There were many times she was witnessed expressing wifely affection and concern for him. Furthermore, Marie-Antoinette could have escaped without Louis and saved her life, but she refused to desert him. She sacrificed herself to remain with him, and that looks like love to me.

After the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, Louis XVI went to Paris to reconcile with his subjects. Marie-Antoinette dreaded that he would be killed. When he returned safely, a contemporary writer, Lemaire, described her reaction:
This princess, as virtuous as she was amiable, whom monsters later on accused of having never loved her husband, was absolutely in despair. As soon as she heard the King's carriage entering the Cour Royale she ran towards him holding the Dauphin in her arms, then breathless and almost fainting she fell into those of the King who was no less moved than she was. Holding out one hand to his children who covered it with kisses, with the other wiping the tears from the eyes of Marie-Antoinette and Madame Elisabeth, Louis XVI smiled again...he kept on repeating: "Happily no blood was shed, and I swear that not a drop of French blood will ever be shed on my orders."
~ Histoire de la Revolution Francaise (3 vol.) by M.H. Lemaire, 1816

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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Sophie on Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:46 am

And their last meeting when Louis told the family that he's going to be executed... Crying or Very sad

Cléry wrote:'At half-past eight, the door of the ante-room opened: the Queen appeared first, leading her Son by the hand; then Madame Royale and Madame Elizabeth: they all flung themselves into the arms of the King. Silence reigned for some minutes; interrupted only by sobs. The Queen made a movement to lead his Majesty towards the inner room, where M. Edgeworth was waiting unknown to them: "No," said the King, "let us go into the dining-room, it is there only that I can see you." They entered there; I shut the door of it, which was of glass. The King sat down, the Queen on his left hand, Madame Elizabeth on his right, Madame Royale almost in front; the young Prince remained standing between his Father's legs. They all leaned towards him, and often held him embraced. This scene of woe lasted an hour and three-quarters; during which we could hear nothing; we could see only that always when the King spoke, the sobbings of the Princesses redoubled, continued for some minutes; and that then the King began again to speak.'

It's full of real, true emotions. As Simon Schama states in Citizens, none of the famous paintings can show this mood of the last goodbye. Or maybe this? But this a bit theatrical, too:

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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Elena on Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:08 pm

Beautiful. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad

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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Elena on Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:17 pm

Louis XVI on Marie-Antoinette:
http://vivelareine.tumblr.com/post/42811209109
During his conversations with Malesherbes [one of his defenders] the King spoke of many things he had at heart, but above all he spoke of the Queen. The injustice of the French towards her, Malesherbes said afterwards, was his cruelest grief.
“If only they knew what she is worth,” he repeated bitterly, again and again.
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette During the Revolution by Nesta Webster

Marie-Antoinette on Louis XVI:
http://vivelareine.tumblr.com/post/42787667629
I am convinced that if I had to choose a husband from the three brothers, I would still prefer the one heaven gave me: his character is steadfast and although he is awkward, he is as attentive and as kind as possible to me.
—Marie Antoinette to Maria Theresa, 15 December 1775

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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Sophie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:12 pm

Elena wrote:....

Thank you for mentioning these quotes, the second one is one of my favourites Rolling Eyes I can't stop thinking about if Louis and Antoinette lived today as average people without political duties... I suppose they would choose each other again Very Happy
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:24 pm

These are some lovely posts! I am quite fond of Louis and Antoinette as a couple and really believe there was love and devotion, as well as fidelity in their relationship! Smile

I might make this a separate topic but anyone know cute anecdotes with them? Any romantic moments? I know of a few. They used to tease each other and Louis would visit her at Trianon. I know Antoinette once dressed as a nun to get an audience with him while he was working haha!

Just wondering if there were other tidbits and if anyone knows other affectionate or playful things they did! They're so stinkin' cute! Smile
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Tiny-Librarian on Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:03 am

Someone asked me about them on tumblr once, and here is what I said.

Perhaps that would help?
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:06 am

I've seen this post! Adorable Smile

I wish more people realized how devoted they actually were to each other and that they were in love.

Instead everyone focuses on her relationship with Fersen. Louis was definitely in love with his wife. And I truly believe she was with him too!
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Bunnies on Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:10 am

Didn't Antoinette once go to Louis XVI's chambers all in a huff, and when he asked her what was wrong she said, "Your Majesty, one of your imprudent subjects has kicked me in the stomach!" And he was so puzzled for a second before he realized: oh, she was pregnant. And then they laughed at their merry adventure.

Which is the cutest way to tell your husband, really.
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Tiny-Librarian on Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:13 am

I've heard that one a lot too, it was supposedly how she told him she was expecting Madame Royale!

I like this one too:

Yet there were occasions when the King showed himself to be a true romantic — even in public. One day when he was riding through the Bois de Boulogne he saw the queen sitting on the grass with his aunts, enjoying a repast of strawberries and cream, an image straight out of the pastoral canvases of Fragonard. He alit from the saddle, clasped his wife by her waist, and kissed her. All who witnessed this charming display of domestic bliss and marital harmony applauded.
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:24 am

YES! I know of that story! That is definitely the cutest way to tell your husband you're pregnant ^_^

And I love the above story too! They caused quite a stir at Versailles showing affection for each other. They kissed and walked arm in arm together in public which was seldom done.

Precious! Very Happy
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Sophie on Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:55 pm

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:YES! I know of that story! That is definitely the cutest way to tell your husband you're pregnant ^_^

I read a different version of this story that I personally find quite amusing. In this one, Louis was already aware that Antoinette is pregnant, but she was feeling the baby's moving for the first time. She said to him this "Your Majesty, one of your imprudent subjects has kicked me in the stomach!"-stuff, and both of them were happily laughing. But Artois was also among them, and he added another line, referring to Provence: "But this imprudent subject has done something even worse! He kicked Monsieur on another part of his body!" This was no sweet humour anymore, but true sarcasm, as everyone knew how Provence wanted to win the throne for himself. A baby boy, Louis and Antoinette's desire, would have destroyed Provence's dreams. I can't recall, unfortunately, where did I find this version, but I'm not suprised that it's not often quoted, only the first part. People don't have enough background infomation about Artois and Provence to understand the punchline.
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:27 pm

Interesting! I could see Artois having a laugh at Provence's expense. Yes Louis and Antoinette had their moments and I think that's adorable.

They were both very pleased when she became pregnant and he was so attentive to her while she was expecting. This is a good transition...anyone know any good pregnancy anecdotes in addition to other acts of affection?

Wonder if Louis often placed his hand upon her stomach to feel the baby Smile
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Sophie on Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:16 pm

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:I might make this a separate topic but anyone know cute anecdotes with them? Any romantic moments? I know of a few.

Once, at a dinner, Antoinette threw bread slices on Louis. He asked a guest (Saint-Germain? Lauzun? Esterházy? - there are different versions) what to do against such a bombarding attack. The clever man answered: "Your Majesty, I would stick something in the cannon hole!" Louis found the answer perfect and laughed a lot. (This anecdote would be an evidence that he had no real sexual problems, because he could laugh at his own expense. If there had been a serious problem, he would have seen this joke as an insult.)

You mentioned the childish teases against each other. Antoinette and Artois changing the clocks in Louis' room to see if he's going to bed earlier... Louis closing Antoinette and Artois out for a whole night from Versailles after a visit at the Opera... I don't know when they exactly happened, but I'm somehow pretty sure that the latter one was his revenge! Laughing
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:20 pm

Yes I love the bread story. And I agree, if there had been a legitimate issue as to why he couldn't make love to her then it wouldn't have been funny.

Haha! I hadn't heard that he locked them out! What happened after that I wonder?! Razz
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:15 am

I love these anecdotes so much! Gah, they're adorable! Very Happy

I can really picture some of these playful shinanagins. Louis could be more serious and reserved than his wife but he also had a sense of humor and wanted to make his wife happy. They were loving and devoted and I wish more people recognized that. Their relationship was complicated like any marriage and it started off rocky but in the end they did love each other and it had its moments!

And they were such loving and devoted parents too Smile I can imagine Louis was particularly concerned over Antoinette's health while she was pregnant and wanted to feel the baby and ask after her. Smile
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Sophie on Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:04 am

Kaitlyn Lauren wrote:Haha! I hadn't heard that he locked them out! What happened after that I wonder?! Razz

It's very likely that Antoinette and Artois didn't find it so funny to sit in the darkness in a coach during the whole cold and dark night...  Laughing Louis had an interesting (and quite tiring) sense of humour. He liked to switch the Versailles fountains on to splash the people outside in the gardens. I don't know if Horrible Histories is accurate, but they also mention here some odd jokes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHHp6xqEc8c It's not quite sophisticated (haha), but I can easily imagine that Louis hated the etiquette as much as his wife did, and there were the courtiers who served him heartlessly and mocked him behind his back... as a King, he had time and chance in the end to get his revenge. I like it! lol!

Speaking of etiquette: there's the well-known story of Antoinette falling down from a donkey and telling the people among them: "Run, search for Madame Etiquette and ask her what to do if the Dauphine falls down from a donkey!" Poor Comtesse de Noailles... jocolor Louis often woke up some hours earlier and went to his workroom, then he ran back to his bedchamber and went back to bed, so the courtiers could wake him up and do the ordinary dress-up ceremony with him... I like these kind of stories, too!
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:15 pm

Yes I knew about some of these! Razz

I imagine they both did hate the etiquette. I don't know if Horrible Histories is correct either but I don't think he would trip people for amusement haha! He did have an interesting sense of humor but I don't think he did many things at the expense of others.

I know he also used to wrestle with his brothers and valets as well as pull pranks on some pages during his dressing ceremonies. Young Louis was mischievous!  jocolor I don't think any of the pranks went too far though. I'm sure he wouldn't want to cause anyone physical or emotional harm especially since people already thought him uncouth.

People were uncomfortable with his blunt manner and he wasn't a dandy so people often found his manners and air unregal and clumsy. He wasn't as polished as Antoinette or his courtiers but I doubt he was as bad as some believe! He was also handsome as we have discussed Smile

I imagine they both could be lively and playful for each other as well as their courtiers. Louis was reserved and Antoinette was almost prudishly modest in public but perhaps closed doors, together, they were more open and enjoyed themselves Wink
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:21 pm

It is rather interesting that Louis was reserved and shy but also had such a playful sense of humor while also known to be secretive and perceived as unfriendly. But I don't think anything he did was meant to offend purposely! He sounds delightful Smile we already know of his generous and kind-hearted nature and his piety. Antoinette is often regarded as the more open and attractive of the two but they both actually sound very similar in both regards. Louis expressed himself differently than his wife and had different hobbies but their humor and love of children and their people sound very much the same. Very Happy
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Re: Their Relationship

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:04 pm

Anyone know other examples of when they displayed affection for each other in public? Smile

I'm so sick of people saying that they weren't in love or that they couldn't have romantic or passionate moments! I just really love them ok? Razz

Some people seem to be under the impression that there wasn't much physical attraction or kissing or anything. *eyeroll*
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