19.5.08

Marie-Antoinette and the perfumed court

How do I start this?

I was looking for some photos on the net for the preceding article when I ran across this little gem from the London Times online edition of August 5, 2006. I think you will find this enlightening. It seems that my ancestors played fast and loose with their bathing duties until Marie-Antoinette made it a habit to bathe.

...The queen’s elaborate attention to her ablutions and her appearance has been taken as an index of her vacuousness. And yet, for generations of European courts, admission to the monarchal toilette had enjoyed a currency as a symbol of political access. (As David Starkey has demonstrated, some 250 years earlier, Henry VIII’s most prized courtier was his Groom of the Stool, or lavatory attendant.) This was never more the case than at etiquette-consumed Versailles, where social and political significance were gestured in labyrinthine orders of precedence as to who washed and dressed the queen, who had access to her lever and her coucher, her (still rather public by modern standards) private toilette, and the formal toilette de représentation at noon... More

I would have posted a photo with this, but Kirsten Dunst's visage seems to be intertwined with the Reine-Martyre so much that the net is plastered with naked or semi-naked photos of Kursten Dunst as Marie-Antoinette. I wonder if KD knows that she will probably never play the role of a finer woman?

Vive La Reine!
de Brantigny

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