Who was Marie Antoinette? (a book review)

I’m tickled pink to be reviewing another Who Was? Who Is? Where Is? biography alongside blogging pals online. These books are terrific additions to any home library and particularly great resources for home-education.

I previously reviewed Who Was JRR Tolkien? and Who Are Venus & Serena Williams? for this fun blog series, but this go-round I chose the volume from our collection that’s gotten the most mileage: Who Was Marie Antoinette? Be sure to check out all the others.

Our second daughter has long been fascinated by Marie Antoinette, whose name remains synonymous with over-the-top opulence. The last Queen of France’s unabashed decadence and brutal death might be her legacy, but there’s certainly more to her life story. She was a casualty of her time: born into a withering monarchy, leveraged as a political pawn in her arranged marriage, young and impressionable during her reign she was a ready scapegoat for the disgruntled, hungry populace as aid was funneled overseas to bolster the warring United States to the detriment of the French masses.

But focusing on the positive… Our daughter’s interest in the famed monarch led to formal French language lessons and 18th-century Marie Antoinette-inspired tea party. It doesn’t have to be Versailles to be fancy– a tea party and dress-up is a fun way to inject life into your pupil’s study of the famed French royal.


More recently, we visited a witty art installation featuring ‘Undignified‘ Marie at a local museum whilst sporting a shirt bearing her likeness, c’est si bon.

One final note, in Marie’s defense: Of her starving subjects she never actually said, “Let them eat cake.“, but was unduly vilified as a tone-deaf monarch by the revolutionaries.


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