"Let them eat cake"

I’ve always heard that Marie Antoinette (sp) uttered these words and had her head cut off for it. To me it seems like one of those phrases that carries with it a lot of context. Not being a French history buff I’ve always wondered why this was such a bad thing to say.

Please enlighten me, masses.

The story is that the people in Paris were rioting because they were starving: they had no bread to eat. Marie Antoinette was so totally out of touch that she completely misunderstood, and naively said “if they have no bread, let them eat cake”.

Interestingly, this story was originally told in the book Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau. The book was published in 1768, and Marie Antoinette first came to France (because she married the French king) in 1770. This has led some sceptics to question the truth of this early urban legend. :wink:

Kate S

This link Did Marie Antoinette really say “let them eat cake”? won’t answer your question, but it may be of more than passing interest.

I too have always heard that ‘Let them eat cake’ was never said by M.A.


If it is true that
a) The story was first told by Rosseau in 1768 AND
b) M.A. didn’t become queen till 1770

then something doesn’t compute. Why would anyone be making up stories in 1768 about someone who nobody in France would know or care about for another two years?

Or did the story originally have another name attached?

Ok, I see dtilque’s link actually answers my question. Just forget I asked, ok?:o

Thanks all. I am duly enlightened…