“MARIE ANTOINETTE SAID ‘LET THEM EAT CAKE’”
When the wife of King Louis XVI was told her French subjects had no bread to eat, she retorted, “Let them eat cake.” Or did she? It was 1789, crop failures had left the starving population deeply resentful of the monarchy, and the Austrian-born queen became their target. However, the phrase ‘let them eat cake’ had been used for years. More than a century earlier, Marie-thérèse – the Spanish bride of King Louis XIV – supposedly said the French people should eat “the crust of the pâté”.
The infamous remark stuck though, and Marie Antoinette’s reputation for decadence was blamed for causing the country’s economic downturn. While it’s true that she embraced life at Versailles, her love of palace parties, fashion and gambling wasn’t the cause of the French Revolution. Nevertheless, the misunderstood monarch was sentenced to death along with the rest of the royal family, but the myth survived her.
Marie Antoinette being led to her execution on 16 October 1793