John Adamson

Ahead Of Her Time

Marie Antoinette: The Journey

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 488pp £25 order from our bookshop

In the extensive catalogue of royal foolishness, the entry for Marie Antoinette has always bulged disproportionately large. Consort of the portly and ill–fated Louis XVI, she has been portrayed as the personification of the ancien régime’s self–destructive indulgence and triviality, the pampered fantasist who played at being a ‘shepherdess’ in her Versailles mock village as real rustics starved. In this version, her death on the guillotine in 1793 at the hands of France’s Revolutionary regime was a just comeuppance. Nemesis followed hubris in a life so frivolous as to preclude any proper sense of the tragic.

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