June 8th, 2013| Topic: RaMbLeS | 2


Marie Antoinette (1755–1793) was the wife of Louis XVI and Queen of France. She, rightly or wrongly (probably wrongly, say modern scholars), symbolized everything that was wrong with the French monarchy, and helped focus public hatred upon that institution.

Her husband, the King, was deposed and the royal family imprisoned. Soon Marie Antoinette was herself tried—accused of everything from immorality and incest to corruption and treason—and finally found guilty for opposing the principles of the revolution and sentenced to die.

Before her beheading, she spent a couple of months in the Conciergerie, a former prison located in Paris near the Notre Dame Cathedral. You can even visit the cell she was incarcerated in, one with her monogram on a stained glass window. It was from there she was taken to the guillotine on October 16, 1793.

Despite the formal charge of treason, this lady is best remembered for her legendary extravagance. “Let them eat cake,” she is supposed to have said.

The attribution first appeared in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s autobiography, Confessions. Apparently he’d stolen some wine, but didn’t have any bread to go with it.

Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”

(“Finally I recalled the stopgap solution of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: ‘Let them eat brioche.’”)

We are not entirely certain who this “great princess” was. Rousseau’s work was published in the 1760s when Marie Antoinette was in her teens. Besides, our man Rousseau wasn’t known to be very reliable, even in his autobiography. So who knows?

One contemporary biographer of the Queen, Lady Antonia Fraser, wrote in 2002: “[‘Let them eat cake’] was said 100 years before her by Marie-Thérèse, the wife of Louis XIV. It was a callous and ignorant statement and she, Marie Antoinette, was neither.”

But the unpopularity of the monarchy as a whole made the “Let them eat cake”-utterance stick to Marie Antoinette. Her extravagant lifestyle didn’t help either, neither did her Austrian blood in a country and time when xenophobia was a strong. Plus, after all, she was the last “great princess” of Versailles. So … “Let them eat cake.”

In any case, whoever may have said those words, they are no doubt heartless and insensible.

It’s a good thing that the One who cares for us is not at all like that. Instead, our God, Jesus Christ, is the One who says:

“Ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives,
and he who seeks finds,
and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
Matthew 7:7

Our God is ready to give, ready to provide, ready to sustain.

“Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf,
will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish,
he will not give him a snake, will he?”
Matthew 7:8–9

Rather this is a caring and loving God.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father who is in heaven
give what is good to those who ask Him!”
Matthew 7:7–11

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
Annie J. Flint (1866–1932)


  1. Joe June 9, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    It was good to see you again last night & once more, congratulations. It is always so uplifting to spend time with you. We hope to see you this summer.
    Joe & Chris


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