Two Princesses, in comparison
...Who is the better off then? Surely, it is the man who will suffer something for God. Many unstable and weak-minded people say: "See how well that man lives, how rich, how great he is, how powerful and mighty." But you must lift up your eyes to the riches of heaven and realize that the material goods of which they speak are nothing. These things are uncertain and very burdensome because they are never possessed without anxiety and fear. Man's happiness does not consist in the possession of abundant goods; a very little is enough... Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ
This morning I listened to a morning radio program make a comparison between Michelle Obama and Marie-Antoinette. My stomach turned abit as I heard yet once again to the calumies of the French revolution plied against the Queen Martyr. Michelle Obama is not even a shadow of the woman that was Marie-Antoinette.
I have not done all the research I possibly could have on Marie-Antoinette. For that I rely on the writings of others, primarily those of Elena-Maria Vidal and her works on the Queen Martyr. I have lived in the time of Diana. Others have presented the contrast between Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Diana. I present a contrast between two princesses, one English the other Austrian by birth, French by choice.
In this day I can still see the heartbreak, tears, wringing of hands as the British people come to grips with the death of Diana. Her sons Harry and William have kept alive the memory of their mother in the minds of the people of Great Britain and the world at large. Films have been made to memorialize and lionize her. At her recent memorial, the famous attended and the not so famous watched on in awe as the Diana's life was recounted. The media was fueled with reports of her death; Was it a plot by MI-5, the Queen, or Charles to have the rebellious princess removed and thereby clear the way for Charles to remarry? Was Diana pregnant with Dodi Fayed's baby? Was the driver drunk? Were the paparazzi to blame? ...And on and on and on. The conspiracy theorists point out that since there is no evidence of a conspiracy there must in fact have been a conspiracy. (?)
What exactly did Diana do for the British? As a royal in a constitutional Britain her only real job was to look pretty for the camera, smile, say some witty thing and go on to the next media event. While I am sure that she did in fact feel sorrow and pity over the sick children she visited, her appearances in at church and in prayer were less frequently photographed. In her desire to end misery she attempted to ban land mines, but was thwarted because it that is unverifiable, but it was such a nice thing to do and it is the thought that counts.
Frankly one could get sickened by the coverage of the media slobbering over every new shopping event, the dress she was wearing, who did her hair and how thin she looked. Any amount of money spent was a pittance compared to how she looked and presented herself on camera. No one ever to my knowledge mentioned how her mostly unlimited funds were being spent. She was the darling of the media, and because of that the people were thrilled. In their eyes she could make no mistakes. When the stories of the Princess's and Prince of Wales infidelities were made public, she was pitied. "Of course HE drove her to do it". The stories, mostly true, where and still are the talk of newspaper, scandal sheets in supermarkets, and late night talk shows. There seems to be no shame in anything she did. I will repeat, "no shame". Infidelity, expensive vacations, clothes all alluded by a sycophant press and people as her right.
Contrast that with the Queen martyr, Marie-Antoinette. Married at 14 in a land far from home, demeaned and insulted at every turn by Madame du Berry, (the kings Louis XV's mistress). Marie-Antoinette was in her youth full of exuberance, but exuberance tempered by piety, and Christian Charity. Which child at 14 does not have exuberance, Joie-de-vivre? In her youth she gambled as did almost everyone during the period, and while her debts were sometimes huge the king never failed to make them good. As the finances of the Kingdom worsened by aid to the American rebels, she tightened her expenditures and retreated into the bosom of her family. A refuge in times of trouble. In a later time she would come to have 4 children, two of which she would bury, her first born and her last born, breaking her heart. Only a mother can know the loss of a child and feel the loss as profoundly and utterly as she did. To lose two was only more intense in heartache. Yet every type of calumny was heaped upon her by foes whom she did not know, when reply would have been beneath her dignity. Her friendship with Count Fersen, was expanded by popular imagination to a love affair. The affair of the necklace used by her enemies to expose their so called extravagances, was a lie heaped upon a lie. Compare that to Diana who went on TV to "confess" her dalliances.
During the terror she watched as her loyal friends were taken from her one by one and killed for no better reason than they were her friends. They could have denounced her and saved their lives but they did not. True friends do not abandon. She watched as her only love and husband was taken and unjustly murdered.
Her own trial was contrived by the committee to include such vile and contemptible charges that to this day one must get special permission from the French Government to read the largely pornographic charges used to martyr her. Imagine her feelings as she was led away to her death. She must have felt a pang of pain knowing that her last two children were left to the mercy of the mob. She arrived at her death, beaten but not cowed. She was secure in the knowledge that she was going to God. In His Hands she placed her soul and arrived bathed in the odor of sanctity.
Little do people realize that Princess Diana died with in sight of where Marie-Antoinette died.
Now that I think on it, I was mistaken, there is no real comparison.
Not in the princesses, certainly not in the people.
Much thanks to Mdm Elena Maria Vidal, whose book Trianon inspired this article.