5 Memorable Quotes By Marie Antoinette: Was She Really Evil?

“Let them eat cake.” is a popular quote that has been widely attributed to Marie Antoinette, but did she really ever say the words?

Book Culture Favorite Quotes On This Day Opinions

While she is remembered for being overthrown by revolutionaries and guillotined for treason after the fall of the French monarchy, Marie Antoinette has some very thought-provoking quotes. They make us wonder whether she was actually as evil as history portrays her.

There are many terrible stories and rumors about her perpetuated by journalists that, upon closer research, don’t seem to be factual. In fact, many scholars today believe that although she wasn’t very bright, she was not evil. 

Many claim that it was the work of the revolutionaries who concocted terrible rumors about her in order to have a powerful figure to blame and rally against during the revolution. While she may have been a part of the corrupt French Monarchy, her husband’s family had ruined it long before she came around.

Let’s take a look at some of her most memorable quotes.

1.

“When everyone else is losing their heads, it is important to keep yours.” 

Marie Antionette

This quote is unbelievably ironic and prophetic of her own future demise.

2.

“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.”

Marie Antionette

She seems to be saying that “there is nothing new under the sun.” Everything is a copy and has been done before. Even things we believe to be new are simply things we have forgotten. 

Marie Antoinette with a rose
IMAGE VIA HISTORY EXTRA

3.

“Courage! I have shown it for years; think you I shall lose it at the moment when my sufferings are to end?” 

Marie Antionette

This would certainly take a great deal of courage to say when faced with imminent death by guillotine. Even at the end of her life, she would not lose courage. In fact, she seemed to be hopeful, since her sufferings were almost at their end.

4.

“I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long.”

Marie Antionette

If we assume that the horrendous myths about Marie Antoinette really are false, then she is a woman to be greatly pitied. She went through so much public scrutiny and lost so much, all because of the corruption of a monarchy that was not her fault.

5.

“Pardon me sir. I did not mean to do it.”

Marie Antionette

Allegedly, these were her last words to a man whose foot she accidentally stepped on right before she was executed. To have such kindness towards someone who probably wanted her dead is something that is hard to grasp. How many people would think to apologize for something like that, right as they were being led to the guillotine?

Marie Antionette with her children
IMAGE VIA BIOGRAPHY.COM

Now, for what you’ve all been waiting for, Marie Antoinette did not coin the phrase “Let them eat cake.” The quote had actually been around long before she became queen. Additionally, Antonia Fraser, author of the biography Marie Antoinette: The Journey, believes that this would have been something very out of character for her to have said. No matter what others have claimed about her in the past, Fraser states that Marie Antoinette showed sensitivity towards her subjects. If only she could have been treated with equal sensitivity and grace.

Fraser’s biography is a wonderful resource to look into for those who would like to learn more about the true character of Marie Antoinette.

For more on quotes from historical figures, click here.

FEATURED IMAGE VIA HISTORY HUSTLE