A Hapless Habsburg

Palais des Tuileries, France

21 January 1793

Dear Agony Aunt Bathilda,

I seem to have angered quite a number of people. I’m still not sure what the problem could be.

I am badly in need of your sage advice. I have heard you are quite experienced in these matters, especially dealing with the delicate matters that affect royals such as myself.

I am in dire need of some assistance in public relations. Aunt Bathilda, there are people spreading lies about me. Moi! The Queen of France! But my life is an open book! I put on my rouge and wash my hands in front of the whole world.


Marie-Antoinette, 1775

It is not my fault that I am daughter of a Habsburg emperor and that these “people” were born as French peasants. We all have to play the hand we are dealt at birth! Look at me: I was married at 15 years old to a man I had never even met before. I wasn’t even at the wedding! But I managed to overcome that dilemma. Surely, these peasants have never had to deal with a situation as serious as that!

I have tried to reason with them. But it is as if we speak different languages. They accuse me of adultery and incest. My poor young son has been very unceremoniously taken from me! They call me traitor, because Louis and I tried to run for our lives go on vacation to Austria  two years ago. I only wanted to visit my parents and have some good Wiener Schnitzel for a change. You can’t get a decent one here.

These horrible people call me names like “Madame Veto” and “Madame Deficit” in the newspapers, and refer to me as “that Austrian whore” behind my back. I do not know what I have done to incite their wrath. I am not too ostentatious, for a queen. Surely, royalty such as ourselves are expected to entertain guests and throw memorable and extravagant parties every night.

These peasants are revolting! And they’re causing quite some terror too! They seem to think that the wealth in France is for them. Mais non! It is for the First and Second Estates, who have worked tirelessly to keep it.

For the last two years, my brave husband and I have been held captive in this palace. We have been wrenched from Versailles, the home that I was promised when I was betrothed to Louis. I can tell you, he is about to lose his head over this madness! I do not know what to do.

Do you think perhaps I could give the peasants a small peace offering? I know a very good patisserie on Rue de Catherine which makes excellent brioche. Perhaps I could offer the peasants some petit fours? Some pain au chocolat?


Look at the offerings from this Patisserie!

Would that help? Surely, everyone loves cake.

Please, Aunt Bathilda, I am desperately in need of some wise advice. I must hurry. The noise here is deafening. Almost sounds like there’s an angry mob beating on our door.

I await your reply.

Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna

Queen Marie Antoinette (R)


AgonyAunt PicMy dear Queen Marie Antoinette,

I am indeed sorry to learn of your predicament.

Clearly, you are a very misunderstood creature with only good and kind thoughts in you. I would agree that everyone loves cake and a good patisserie is hard to find!

Give the peasants your peace offering. It’s an excellent idea! I am quite confident that they will appreciate the gesture and that history will remember you kindly for this.


Aunt Agony Bathilda 

5 replies

  1. Fantastic! I think you got yourself a winning format here, seeing as this one is just as brilliant as Anne Boleyn’s version from a while back (do you have a special interest for historical women who lost their heads, maybe?;))
    Took the liberty of sharing this on Twitter, so my three followers there can enjoy this piece as well.

    Now for some reason I’m very much in the mood for cake…don’t know why that is:S


    • Haha! Thanks for the compliment! I’m trying to find a format that works. Hm, I really must be obsessed with headless queens. I actually have another one on draft!
      I may also have to get some brioche later 🙂


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