They Never Said That, misquoted people, famous quotes, LET THEM EAT CAKE, Marie Antoinette ( de )

They Never Said That, misquoted people, famous quotes, LET THEM EAT CAKE, Marie Antoinette

“LET THEM EAT CAKE”

Marie Antoinette was famous for her beauty, her ignoble death, and her naivete. Legend has it that when told that the peasants had no bread, she suggested that they eat cake instead. The implication (according to angry, starving peasants anyway) was that she was so wealthy and coddled that the idea of not having anything to eat was something she simply couldn’t process.

In reality, this cake-eating suggestion was the invention of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his autobiographical Les Confessions, and the line referred not to Antoinette (who was twelve at the time and not yet full royalty) but to an unnamed “great princess” who some speculate was Maria Theresa of Spain.

Then again, Les Confessions is known for taking certain factual liberties, so it’s entirely possible that the cake and the suggested eating thereof was a politically-motivated lie.

All of this turned up too late to save Antoinette, who ironically was one of Rousseau’s biggest fans in the royal family.

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Wikimedia Commons 19/09/2013

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