… ‘I had friends. The idea of being forever separated from them and from all their troubles is one of the greatest sorrows that I suffer in dying. Let them at least know that to my latest moment I thought of them’. I told myself I wouldn’t cry. I cried.
Marie Antoinette’s Last Letter Stained By Her Tears
“16th October, 4.30 A.M.
It is to you, my sister, that I write for the last time. I have just been condemned, not to a shameful death, for such is only for criminals, but to go and rejoin your brother. Innocent like him, I hope to show the same firmness in my last moments. I am calm, as one is when one’s conscience reproaches one with nothing. I feel profound sorrow in leaving my poor children: you know that I only lived for them and for you, my good and tender sister.
I can’t explain just yet what I will doing on Bastille Day but I will be wearing a Chemise a la Reine based on this.
Robe chemise : Réalisation Atelier Caraco
Excerpt taken from Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber
“ Designed for his 2000 Christian Dior “Masquerade and Bondage” collection, John Galliano’s “Marie Antoinette” dress tells an unexpected story. True to the architecture of eighteenth-century court costume, the gown features tantalizing décolletage, a rigidly corseted waist, a ladder or échelle of flirty bows on the bodice, and a froth of flounced skirts inflated by petticoats and hoops. Its splendid excess evokes France’s most colorful queen … even before one notices the embroidered portraits of the lady herself that adorn each of its hoop-skirted hip panels. (Plate 1.)
But the two portraits deserve a closer look, for it is they that tell the story. On the gown’s left hip panel the designer has placed an image of Marie Antoinette in her notorious faux shepherdess’s garb—a frilly little apron tied over a pastel frock, a decorative staff wound with streaming pink ribbons, and a mile-high hairdo obviously ill suited to the tending of livestock. In keeping with the Queen’s frivolous reputation, the embroidered ensemble is more suggestive of Little Bo Peep than of lofty monarchical grandeur. On the right hip panel, Galliano offers a depiction of the same woman, also devoid of royal attributes, but this time in a mode more gruesome than whimsical. Here, she wears a markedly plain, utilitarian dress, with a simple white kerchief knotted around her throat and a drooping red “liberty bonnet”—the emblem of her revolutionary persecutors—clamped onto her brutally shorn head. This image portrays the consort trudging toward the guillotine, to lay her neck beneath its waiting blade.”
(Does anyone know who the first picture belongs too? I pulled it off of Pinterest last week and the only link back was google images).
I think the next set of objects are the most interesting things I’ve posted since Napoleon’s bees which I encourage you to view: Click Here
Carved by Napoleonic prisoners of war, unknown origins: “An extension to this tradition was the production of ships models by captured French sailors of the Napoleonic wars. The prisoners, many kept on aging hulks moored in harbours such as Portsmouth, would use pieces of bone and horn from the meat supplied to the galleys to produce finely detailed ships models using their knowledge of the designs and rigs of fighting ships of the period. With the open assistance of the guards and their officers, the models were then traded, with the prisoner receiving a small amount with which he could purchase additional materials, food and tobacco. At the end of the Napoleonic War many of the French sailors entered the well-established trade producing bone and ivory souvenirs centred in French ports such as Dieppe.”
Almost three years ago I went to Paris on a pilgrimage to visit Marie Antoinette. We didn’t have internet access so I pulled out the phone book and sat there calling people trying to figure out how to get to Saint Denis. To my utter disgust upon calling the library at the Louvre an arrogant voice finally answered “Oh, you mean the Austrian, oui?” I must have sat there for a seconds because her voice came out again telling me “I do not know. Why do you call me asking these questions?” My last act of desperation was to call a local Catholic church where a lady kindly explained how to reach my destination.
I woke up that morning in a quiet mood. I sat at the vanity staring at my fingers and I remember curiously rubbing at a small stain that had appeared on my hand. Looking into the mirror I noticed that I was crying. How odd it was to not even be aware that I was crying? I had promised myself not to cry and yet my body sat here betraying me.
My pilgrimage to Saint-Denis was a long journey to an archaic church where the Kings and Queens of the past were laid to rest and seemingly forgotten. By the time we reached the crypt tears were angrily trailing down my cheeks. I was angered that this woman that I loved so much would have been abandoned in this cold and dark place. I kept saying “This isn’t right, this isn’t fair!”
My mom really is one of the wisest people I know. She took my hand and said “Lyze, this is the greatest honor a Queen could ever receive, to be buried in this church with those that came before her. This is the final resting place of the Kings and Queen of France, they are all here. Why should she not be? This way she is included in the history of this country forever.” I can’t imagine now that she wouldn’t be here.
It seems silly looking back but I fretted over what to give her. After all what can you offer a queen that she does not already have? In the end I left her my love, my tears, and roses.
White is the colour of her innocence and purity. In order to leave my roses with Marie I had to climb over a wall. When I went back over there was a lady from the church waiting for me. She asked if I was the ghost leaving roses on the Dauphines grave. I was a child then, my only thought was that she would scold me and I defended myself.
I can remember this conversation as if it had just taken place ” I came all the way from Singapore to find Marie and when I got here no one knows who she is and I love her so much. How could you forget her? No one even cares about her anymore but I do and I am paying my respects to her in the only way I know how and I am not sorry for honoring her.” It was if all my anger had bled out and I felt drained.
Bless that woman because she told me “I know. I think she will like them” and it was like finally someone other than my Mom understood what I was doing and I just remember crying.
I realized then that this place was not cold and gloomy. It was quiet and peaceful. She lays in state next to her husband and near her son. She was murdered by people who hated everything she stood for. They were cruel to her and caused such unbearable pain and they foolishly believed that her death would erase her name.
But here she lies, forever Queen of France and even in death you cannot take that from her.