What caused Marie Antoinette's own ruin

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To Marie Antoinette

Born in 1755, at the age of fifteen, in 1770, she was married to the sixteen-year-old Dauphin of France to represent the interests of Austrian politics in Paris. At the age of nineteen, in 1774, she becomes queen of the broken land. In 1789, exposed by youthful recklessness, spoiled by French frivolity, she and her husband, Louis XVI, whom she dominated and dominated spiritually, stood perplexed by the indignation of the people; tried to escape in 1791, was deposed and imprisoned in 1792, separated from her son, daughter and husband in January 1793, whom she followed on to the scaffold as a traitor, as an "Austrian" on October 16 of the same year in a dignified manner. - Maria Theresa was only able to accompany this ominous biography until 1780, but nowhere is her maternal acuteness and feminine intuition revealed as clearly as in her letters to Versailles and Paris, in which the concern gradually increases to the point of a certain premonition of a gloomy future . The letters to the daughter were sent parallel to those to Count Mercy d'Argenteau, Maria Theresa's confidante in Paris, who had to report precisely on Marie Antoinette's behavior and to pass on rules of conduct to her. It is mentioned several times in the following.


Schönbrunn, November 1st, 1770.

My dear wife daughter! That eternal courier finally arrived yesterday at 9 p.m. and brought me your dear messages. Thank God that, according to the testimony of your courier, who was in your entourage, your health is holding, he finds you grown bigger and stronger. Had you not assured me that you are now wearing a corset, I would have been alarmed by this fact, for fear that, as they say in German, you would "go apart, your waist like a woman without being". I ask you, do not neglect yourself, at your age it is not right, even less so in your position, it leads to uncleanliness, negligence and even indifference in all other activities, and that would be to your detriment; it is for this reason that I torment you so, and I cannot do enough to prevent the slightest circumstance that could cause you to fall into error from which the whole royal family of France has suffered for many years: they are good, for themselves virtuous, but not made to be seen, to set the tone, or to amuse themselves in a decent way, which has been the common cause of the aberrations of their chiefs, who, because they found no duels for their diversions, believed in their home to have to look for them outside and elsewhere. One can be virtuous and yet at the same time funny and sociable; but if you close yourself off in such a way that you have only a few people around you, it happens (I have to tell you to my greatest regret that you have seen something like this here lately) that dissatisfaction, jealousy, envy and Gossip arises. But if you live in a large circle, as was the case here fifteen or twenty years ago, you avoid all these inconveniences and feel good in body and soul. One is amply rewarded here for the small inconveniences to which one is exposed by the satisfaction and the good mood that such behavior evokes. So I ask you as a friend and as your tenderly loving mother, who speaks from experience, do not neglect your appearance or your representation, otherwise you will regret, when it is too late, that you have disregarded my advice. Do not follow the example or the teaching of the family on this one point, it is your turn to set the tone at Versailles, you have had the greatest success, God has given you so much grace, gentleness and suppleness that everyone has given you must love: that is a gift from God, you have to keep it; You do not need to boast about it, but you must nurture it for the happiness of you and all of you.

I am very grateful that you have taught me carefully about your prayer books and your spiritual reading. Bossu Bossuet, 1627-1704, the great French pulpit speaker and religious writer. is wonderful, I am very pleased with it, but you say that you are reading the little book I gave you; is it the Noailles Book of Hours or the little book: the spiritual year? Forgive me for this detail, but everything is of interest when you love someone, and I want to study the spiritual exercises with you to reawaken my zeal, which only fades too much as you get older.

I would also be very happy if I were instructed about your other reading with the Abbé, that could even be useful here or in Tuscany; in the future you might have the pleasure of sending it to me every month, and to save you the trouble of writing it down, she could write to the abbé on a separate piece of paper to enclose with your letter, or if you please, she could also gave Mercy to the Abbé, as I do with this diary. If you find this awkward and absurd, all you have to do is tell me and I'll stop; but since I know your attachment to your fatherland and your family, I will continue until you tell me that you no longer want it.

Marianne Maria Theresa's eldest daughter, who was alive at the time, was born in 1738 and died in 1789. She has completely recovered from her fever and is doing better than before. She takes part in all hunts and excursions, only she doesn't go to the theater. Windischgrätz, who arrived here happy but exhausted, confirmed to me how lovable and adorable you can be when you want. She told me that she couldn't speak to you casually and that you had every reason to be satisfied. But since she could not withhold a truthful answer to my questions in the long run, she admitted to me that you are neglecting yourself very much and not even keeping your teeth clean. That is a major point, as is the figure, which she also found deteriorated. You are now at the age at which the forms are formed, and this is the most critical time; she also added that you dress badly and dared to tell your ladies. You write to me that you sometimes wear clothes from your outfit: which ones have you kept? I have thought of having bodices or corsets made for you here if you want to send me your correct measurements. It is said that those from Paris are too firm; i will send them to you by courier.

I am delighted at your attention that you have given me the pleasure of sending me the letter from Queen Caroline of Naples, Marie Antoinette's older sister. to send someone who looks like her: everything is with her heart and certainly sincere. I am sending it back because it deserves to be kept. I recognize my own blood in the compliment she gave you for the king and which you gave.

Through this courier you will receive the present that Marianne has intended for you, and in a while I will send you the table of Maries Marie Antoinette's sister Marie Christine, wife of Duke Albert von Sachsen-Teschen, which went very well. I hope that a certain bust will have arrived; it has been difficult for me to give it up, but I hope that I will get a good portrait in return, and especially by Liotard's Jeanne Etienne Liotard, a famous miniature painter who stayed in Vienna for a long time. who is only going to Paris to send me one. I ask you to give him enough time so that he can do it well.

My dear daughter! Tomorrow will be a very comforting day for me, Marie Antoinette's name celebration, which has only given me joy for fifteen years. May God keep you for the happiness of you and your families and peoples for many years to come. Mercy informs me that you spent the morning of the fifteenth devotional to Marie Antoinette's name feast. and adds that you believed there was no better way to celebrate the day. Imagine how this tender attention touched me; you are capable of such traits, but you did not notice anything about them in your last letter; I embrace you tenderly, my dear daughter, and give you my blessings. I always remain your faithful mother.

P. S. wife of the couple Maria Theresa's chief stewardess. lies down at your feet, she is delighted that you thought of you, she is just as happy about the tables; she loves you very much.


Vienna, December 2, 1770.

People are still very satisfied with you, what happy moments you give me, my dear child! The public recognition would not completely reassure me, but the Duke and Duchess of Aremberg cannot tell me enough good things about you, but I am particularly pleased by Mercy's testimony, who is satisfied with you.

Now I get to the point that you are probably very eager to hear from me: namely, riding. You are right if you think that when I was fifteen I would never have allowed you to; Your aunts The unmarried daughters of King Louis XV, whom you give me as witnesses, did not start until they were thirty. They were the late king's daughters and not the crown princess; I have little thanks to them for stimulating you with their example and their kindness; But you say that the King approves it, as does the Crown Prince, that says everything for me: you have to give your orders, I have put my cute Antoinette in her hands: riding spoils your complexion, and in time your figure grows Feel it and stand out even more. I confess that if you ride in the manor, which I have no doubt, I even find it dangerous and bad to have children, and that is what you are called to do; this will confirm your happiness. If you were to ride the side saddle like me, it would have less to say: Of course, accidents cannot be foreseen: that of the Queen of Portugal and several others who have not had any children since then do not reassure us.

After I have presented everything to you, I shall not notice anything about it and try to forget it, provided that the newspapers do not tell us about the rides of the Crown Princess, which would be in every way inappropriate; but I take your word for it, and a great princess must not break that; You write me the same words and promise me: I will never go on a horse hunt. I accept the offer you have made, and it is only in view of this that I will try to calm myself down; but no more excuses and excuses on this point. I just want to add that frequent long rides, even if you only ride at stride, are harmful simply because of sitting in the man's saddle; an hour of walking is enough, and I saw from a letter that at the beginning of November you had ridden for two to three hours for several days; this is too much. One day you will see it, but then it will be too late. What reason should I have to deprive you of something you enjoy if I did not know the consequences of it? You must do me justice, that at all times I have given my children complete freedom and every possible pleasure, and should I begin to spoil you, you who bring me so much comfort? But do not expect me to tell you about it any further, I have given you all my reasons, which come from a tender mother's heart. I have shown you the inconveniences, you are justified by the consent of the king, and that is all for me, I will not tell you any more about it. Try to be moderate and follow my advice, which is not superfluous, and I will keep your word never to go hunting.

I look forward to the picture of Liotard with great longing, but let yourself be painted in your state dress and not in a negligee or in men's clothes, because I like to see you in the place that is yours. I hug her.


February 10, 1771.

My dear wife daughter! Since the courier only arrived the day before yesterday, it will also come later, especially in this bad season. They were happier than us and they had snow. We won't go on a sleigh ride until tomorrow, and I suspect that one day later it won't be possible because the snow is already beginning to melt. I am sending you the list of participants; You will find Herr von Palm as chamberlain on it; in order to become so, he gave 200,000 guilders to the soldiers' children; that is decent. The Palms are by no means of low nobility, but they had middle-class women except for their mother, who was a Plettenberg.

I am delighted that you have anticipated my intentions in the rather delicate case of the exile of the Choiseuls; just go on like this and do not deny your benevolent character. Don't be fooled by opposite examples, don't embrace French recklessness, stay a good German, make yourself an honor of being, and stay the friend of your friends.

I pay you my compliments that you finally took the courage to speak to the King about the commission that I gave you for Durfort Marquis de Durfort, French ambassador to Vienna from 1766-1770, the same one who was for the Dauphin for Marie Antoinette advertised and accompanied her to France. I no longer knew what was the cause of this long delay! When you see him, you can tell him that I still remember the balcony from which we saw the little woman drive in the sleigh and the cold I made him feel because she didn't bother me. Ingenhouse Johann Ingenhouse, imperial personal physician. tells me that he found you very handsome and well-grown, that he has seen the whole family and found them all healthy, but just at a moment when he could not approach you for reasons of etiquette, and that he was the ambassador first gave you the opportunity to speak to you. I cannot believe that a man from our court should not have access to you; You have broken so many other etiquette rules that you will not let them pass.

I eagerly await your portrait. I am very much afraid that the carnival and riding, which, as all the newspapers report, you continue in the riding arena in the cold, have delayed it. I fear that your complexion and even your figure will suffer if you indulge in this sport too much. I ask you to tell me honestly whether you are dancing better now than you are here, especially the counter dances, there is an infinite amount of beautiful things to be said about these balls and, what I enjoy most, also about the Crown Prince, and this change is being attributed to you ; how happy you are!

I am starting to feel uncomfortable that you are not really the Crown Princess. I fear that the future Countess of Provence, sister-in-law Marie Antoinette, wife of the Dauphin's younger brother, who later became Louis XVIII. Will forestall you; one says infinitely good things about her, about her excellent character and her gentleness; without being beautiful, she has an expressive face and a very good figure.

I impatiently await the return of this courier to hear about your reading and your occupations; especially at your age you are allowed to enjoy yourself; but if you do nothing else, do nothing neat and useful, and kill the time with promenades and visits, you will one day notice how dreary it all is and you will very much regret not having used your time better. I must also confess to you that the handwriting of your letters is getting worse and less correct every day: in ten months you should have perfected yourself. I was a little ashamed when I saw the letters you wrote to these ladies going through several hands; You will need to practice with the abbe or some so that your hand will develop better and you will get even writing.

I am quite reassured by what you tell me of the King’s continued attention and kindness to you: try to keep deserving it, and believe that I am always yours.


Schönbrunn, August 17, 1771.

This time the courier leaves a little late: I've had a lot of hindrances, and I'm starting to get terribly old, even to work I need twice the time that I used to need. I received your very similar portrait in pastel; it is my joy and that of the whole family; it hangs in my study and the other one in my bedroom, where I work in the evening, so I always have you with me and in front of my eyes: deep in my heart you are always.

I am impatiently awaiting your answer to what Mercy has conveyed of me, but I have seen that you postponed this conversation until after the courier left; but what gives me some reassurance is that Mercy informs me that on his advice you have already begun to treat the ruling party politely and have even addressed them with a few minor idioms, which has had a wonderful effect. I'm not going to get on that point, Mercy has been charged with speaking to you clearly. But I am delighted that you took his advice so quickly. I am always sure of success when you do something. The good Lord has endowed you with a pretty appearance and so many virtues, to which your goodness is added, that all hearts belong to you when you undertake something and act; but I cannot hide my sensitivity from you, since I hear from all sides and too often that you have lost your courtesy and attention to saying something pleasant and appropriate to everyone and to making a difference between people. It is said that you neglect yourself very much in this respect, and it is attributed to megdames who have never known how to earn respect and trust; but worse than anything else is the claim that you start to mock people and laugh in their faces: that would be infinitely disadvantageous to you, and rightly so, for one would doubt the goodness of your heart; to please five or six young ladies or gentlemen, you would spoil all the rest. This mistake in a princess, my dear daughter, is not to be taken lightly; It has the consequence that all courtiers, who are usually idlers and the least respectable people of the state, court you, and the righteous people stay away because they do not want to be ridiculed and annoyed, and in the end all that remains is this bad company, which gradually leads to all vices. It is repeated everywhere that you do not distinguish the Germans: do justice to the true merit of this nation. On the contrary, if you disregard some ridiculous looks or pronunciation, or your hairdressing, you will find in them a great deal of real talent and merit, which all foreigners make so much fuss about.

I can imagine your embarrassment when you saw Broglie Victor François, Duc de Broglie, Marshal of France, the most capable French general in the Seven Years' War. because of his wife: I cannot deny that I respect him, because he showed great zeal for me in the most critical situation of my life, in which I found myself after the battle of Prague. You can tell him on occasion that I always remember it. I was delighted that Durfort had access to you; he deserves it by his really good qualities, and because he was fortunate enough to confirm our connection by marrying them.

I enjoy everything I hear about the way you four young people are together; Your sister-in-law does not endanger you and is not a competitor to you in appearance, but she is firmer and more knowledgeable, and if you join her you can only win, and as things go you will have to spend long years together. So join each other and get benefits for yourself and the state. As long as you get on well, there will be few people who will dare to intrigue, but the slightest cooling would give them free rein, and you would feel the inconvenience for your peace and comfort.

Mercy informs me that you took great pleasure in the little writing materials I sent you, that you went straight to my window and said the cutest and most touching things. Imagine the impression that made on me, do not spoil this fund of tenderness and kindness that you have, and do not imitate those originals that have never succeeded in public despite their real merit: what you never teach them and what you never had examples to educate yourself of is natural to you, and you have seen wonderful effects of it. I hope that my frequent repetitions will bore you less than convince you that they are only dictated by my tenderness, I who wish to see you happy and remove the cliffs on which youth fails.


Schönbrunn, September 30, 1771.

My dear wife daughter! I have seen Viquermont and Mercy: they both comforted me quite right by assuring me that you are in good health, very happy, content and loved. The latter told me that he saw you twice in confidence and for quite a long time. I am very grateful that you have complied with my wishes and that you see those who come from here more informally; but he has confirmed to me what all the news say, that you are acting entirely according to your aunts' will. If you want to read my teaching you will see what I told you about this point. I appreciate and love your aunts, but they have never understood how to acquire love and respect neither from your family nor from the people, and you now want to take the same path! That fear and embarrassment of speaking to the King, the best of all fathers, and the people you are advised to speak to! Tell me why you get embarrassed and scared just when you have to say hello? A word about a dress, some nothingness costs you so many grimaces, pure grimaces and more trouble! You have allowed yourself to be drawn into such slavery that reason and even duty no longer have the strength to convince you. I can no longer remain silent after Mercy has spoken to you and told you what the King wants and what your duty requires and you dared to rebel against it. What good reason do you have to object to that? Nothing. They have neither to know the Du Barry nor to regard her differently from a lady who is admitted to the court and into the company of the king. You are his first subject, you owe him obedience and submission. You should set an example to the court, to the courtiers, that the will of your master is done. If you were asked to be humiliated or confidential, neither I nor anyone would advise you to do so, but one can ask for an indifferent word, certain considerations, not for the lady, but for your grandfather, your master, your benefactor! And the first time you could commit yourself to him and prove your devotion to him, you oppose him so blatantly, and that opportunity will not come again any time soon. Can you make it clear who you are doing this for? You do it out of a disgraceful courtesy to people who have subjugated you by treating you like a child and giving them excursions on horseback and on donkeys with children and dogs. These are the major causes that make you choose these people over your master, who in time will ridicule you but are neither loved nor respected. You started so well; Your essence, your judgment, if not guided by others, is always true and the best. Let Mercy guide you, what other interests have he and I than just your happiness and the good of the state. Get rid of these examples to the contrary; it is up to you to set the tone after the king and not to be led like a child when you want to speak. You are afraid to speak to the king, but you are not afraid to disobey him or alienate him. For a short time I will allow you to avoid verbal arguments with him, but I ask that by all of your actions you convince him of your respect and tenderness, thinking at every opportunity of what he might like so that he can In this respect nothing is left to be desired and no example or speech to the contrary will change your mind. And if you had to split up with everyone else because of it, I can't get you out of it. You have only one aim, that is to please and to do the will of the king; if you do so, I will put you off of oral disputes with the King for a while.

You tell me that out of love for me you want to treat the Broglies well, even though they have personally been wrong with you. This is again such an oddity that comes from the same source. Is it possible that such a little broglie could be missing against you? I don't understand, nobody has ever been absent against me, or against your ten siblings; if he has displeased anyone in your entourage, you shouldn't even notice it, much less relate it to yourself. Again it is enough for you that the Broglies are valued by the King, and you have neither to listen to others, nor to act otherwise, and even not to think otherwise. If you love your tranquility and your future, act like this and not otherwise.

I kept the courier on the first of the month to put things back in order, and I can't hide from you that I was so depressed by everything he brought me that I needed time to recover. Your brother's departure only increased my sensitivity and my work. From the diary you will see what all happened; do not take what I am telling you as a bad mood or scolding, take it as the greatest token of my tenderness and interest that I have for you, that I emphasize all this with so much emphasis; but I see you in a great dependency, from which you have to be pulled as quickly as possible and by force if one is to hope for improvement. My advice, that of the Abbé, of whom I never hear again, or that of Mercy, have not worked and could not save you from harm; Judge how much it had to bother me and how I would like to be useful to you at the expense of my life and free you from the dependency into which you have fallen. It is not surprising that you got into it, but after I've shown you the inefficiencies and even given you a means to get out, you are inexcusable if you cannot get rid of it. I am not asking you to break off the intercourse you have become used to, God forbid me! But I want you to prefer Mercy's advice to that of your aunts, that you see him more often and that you talk to him about everything and that you don't tell the others what he said to you: that you begin to become more independent. Exaggerated favors are baseness or weaknesses. You have to know how to play your part if you want to be respected; You can if you pull yourself together a little and do what you are advised to do; if you let yourself go, I foresee great misfortune for you. You will always be caught up in gossip and petty schemes that will create unhappy days for you. I want to prevent this, and I urge you to submit to the views of a mother who knows the world and who adores her children and uses her sad days to be useful to them. I hug you tenderly, don't think that I'm angry, just excited and worried about your happiness.


Vienna, on the last day of 1772.

What you use to excuse you because you failed to keep your word not to go hunting on horseback would have been valid if you had told me a year ago or earlier than when you did it for the first time. - Your frankness, your tenderness would have made the little word break less serious, but frankly, the fact that I had to find out about it through the newspapers made me very uncomfortable and will continue to cast a shadow over your trust in me in the future. Such forgetfulness cannot serve as an excuse, for it is precisely about forgetfulness that I complain. Why should I rob you of such innocent pleasure? I would give my life to bring you pleasure if I did not fear the consequences. Young people never know how to moderate their amusements. So I foresaw that you would do the same. There is nothing left for me to say since the King and Crown Prince permitted you to ride; You will not hear another word from me about it, but what hurts me is your silence.

The embarrassment with Esterhazy is also something I can't let you get away with. How, the Antoinette, eleven and thirteen, knew how to receive people in a charming way and knew something polite and amiable to say to everyone? All of Vienna, the whole empire, Lorraine and France have experienced this fact, and now the Crown Princess is embarrassed by a simple private citizen? Do not get used to such frivolous excuses as embarrassment, fear, shyness; these are imaginations. It's just the bad habit of letting yourself go without thinking and not coercing yourself when using these excuses. You know how much your affability has won your hearts, you see the contrast every day, and yet you let yourself go and neglect this important point?

I close my sermons with the old year; You would do me an injustice if you did not want to take it as the greatest token of my tenderness and of the lively interest I take in your future happiness; happiness that I am constantly occupied with. On New Year's Day I expect the lessons I gave you for your behavior towards the favorite to take effect. On this point I cannot absolve you of the fact that you contented yourself with not participating in the gossip about her. But I would like you to follow my advice and treat her with courtesy and speak to her as you would to any other lady received at court. You owe it to the king and me, no one else has the right to your favor. In doing your duty you shouldn't care what people say and all you have to do is hold yourself accountable for your actions. I don't want you to be belittled or dominated by others! Beware. Once this equilibrium is lost, it is difficult to find again, and I believe you are not very inclined to do so because you love your comfort too much.

I am very pleased that the return of the two princes has built a bridge to complete reconciliation, for the king's kindness is very great, so that I should always wish him as calm and satisfied as he deserves. Because at an advanced age you need satisfaction and calm and look for them.


Vienna, January 31, 1773.

My dear daughter! I am very pleased that your Carnival is going so well, and all I hear is how you look and how you are dancing this year. Everyone finds a great change, and Stormond believes it is in your favor and has been very pleased with your reception. Go on like this, it can't be difficult for you; Just don't neglect yourself on this point and cultivate the practice you have in it and in time it will become second nature. I particularly recommend that you honor the foreigners and address them and to people of a certain age and rank who come to pay their respects. You cannot imagine what an impression a look, a greeting, a word of yours makes on such people. Dad is spreading all over the empire. These good people are used to dealing with them often only to ridicule them in front of young people and courtiers. I was also very pleased with the 1000 thalers that you received for the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Paris. have donated.You are quite right to say that you were angry about it because they talked to you about it; Only God should know about such actions, and I am quite sure that you intended it that way, but the others also have good reasons for making it known to the public, as you yourself say, for the sake of example. My dear little one! We are obliged to set such examples, and that is an essential and delicate point in our condition. The more often you can do magnanimous and benevolent deeds, the better it will be, and what otherwise would be boastful and wasteful is befitting and necessary with us. We have no other resources than favors and goodness, especially as a crown princess or wife of a ruler; I have never had this privilege.

I am not satisfied with how New Years Day has gone; You have prepared yourself too much, you have to fix that at the first opportunity, February is just as good as January. I am not asking too much when I ask that you speak to the favorite four or five times a year without falsehood, and there is nothing more you can do to confuse Herr von Aiguillon than if you give him no point of attack in this regard . I say even more: your attitude towards the king will be more informal and confidential if you have nothing to blame on this point, if, according to what everyone has said, the king shows you more cordiality than you do him. You can feel a certain compulsion that takes all merit from your actions, and this good father deserves it so much!

My dear daughter! I recommend these four points with all the cordiality that you know me to be capable of. Don't say that I scold me for preaching, but say: Mama loves me very much and is constantly taking care of me and my happiness; I have to believe her and comfort her by following her good advice. You will be at ease there, and any shadow that has displeased you so much will be banished from my trust in the future. I won't tell you anything more about this subject, I told you everything that was necessary about it the last time, I am not resentful, nor do I carry "mischief"; if I have said these things, it is enough for me; I am sincere and demand great accuracy and openness towards myself; Since I am not demanding myself, but very tolerant, I can challenge them.

In Florence there is no talk of Spain, but she is The Grand Duchess of Tuscany. has been pregnant again for three months; if this trip to Spain should ever take place, it will be made by ship. I wish that she could visit you on the way back; she is a princess of great virtue and merit, and very much in love with her husband. While everything is at the masquerade ball, and I have even sent all my wives away, I am spending delightful moments with my beloved child, and by embracing you tenderly, I am ...


Laxenburg, May 18, 1774.

Yesterday evening at 10 o'clock the courier arrived with the sad news that we had been expecting since the 10th. All my life I will mourn this prince and friend, your good, tender father-in-law. At the same time I admire God's grace with which he made the king invoke his divine mercy at the right moment, and the words of the Grand Almosenier, which the king repeated, cannot be read without tears and hoping for his eternal happiness. We immediately forbade any spectacle here and announced that we would not receive anyone before the 24th, where they would lay the deep mourning that I will bear until the end of my life. I do not congratulate you on your new dignity, which has been bought very dearly and which will become even more so when you can no longer lead the same quiet and innocent life that you were able to lead three years through the kindness and gentleness of this good Father, and which has earned you the recognition and love of your people, a great advantage for your present position, but you must also know how to preserve it and use it for the good of the king and the state. You are both very young and the burden is heavy, and I am very worried about it. If your adorable father hadn't upheld me in the similar case I found myself in, I would never have been able to find my way out, and I was older than the two of you. All I can say and wish you is that neither of you should rush yourself: see with your own eyes, do not change anything, leave everything as it was, otherwise the confusion and the intrigues will become insoluble, and you will Dear children, you will become so confused that you will not find your way out. I can speak from experience of what other interest I might have in advising you, in particular, to listen to Mercy's suggestions. He knows the court and the city, is careful and completely devoted to you. At this moment you regard him as your minister as well as my minister, that goes very well with one another. The interests of our two states require that we be as closely linked as if we were a family. Your fame and happiness are just as important to me as ours. Those unfortunate times of jealousy between our states and interests no longer exist; but our holy religion and the welfare of our states require that we be closely united in our hearts and plans, and that the world be convinced of the firmness of this covenant. For my part, I will not neglect anything, and my old days can only go smoothly if I see you both happy, my dear children. That is why I pray and I will earnestly pray for them. In giving you my blessings, I am always ...

P. S. I hope that there will be no more talk of the unhappy Barry, for whom I only cared as much as my respect for your father and ruler required. I hope not to hear her name again, except in connection with the fact that the King treated her with generosity, banning her and her husband far from court and softening her lot as far as it is appropriate and humanity demands.


Vienna, March 15, 1775.

My dear wife daughter. Your letter of the 18th, written in the midst of your constant carnival amusements and the joy that the arrival of your brother Des Archduke Maximilian caused you, was very comforting to me. Everything that you said to me about your family and me was as touching as you were when you met your brother. You keep this feeling up so well on every opportunity that I am touched and proud at the same time, and wish that nothing could ever limit it. Your brother and Rosenberg cannot express their satisfaction and astonishment at your position and your behavior enough, and I expect to be able to deal more with them in three weeks' time. How many happy moments will I have with it? Thank you for all you have done for him, and I ask you to thank the King on my behalf as well. I am very touched by the friendship he showed to your brother and for all his goodwill for the Count of Burgau. Now he will have already left; it will seem like a dream to him. Thank you very much for the plan of the anointing of the king, but I find that it cannot be carried out; but he will be lucky enough to see you again some other time, if you wish. Thank God! This eternal carnival is now over! You will certainly find me very old because of this exclamation, but I confess that the exhaustion of those waking nights became too much for me. I trembled for health and for the order of ordinary life at court; it is a main thing to maintain it. Any reading or any other activity is interrupted for two months. Time is precious and there is no real and irrecoverable loss but this. When you are young you don't think about it; as you get older you realize it, but then other weaknesses make us flawed. Likewise, I cannot hold back from speaking to you about another point that the newspapers repeat too often to me: it is your headdress, it is said that your hairstyle goes up 36 inches from the roots of your hair and with a lot Be adorned with feathers and ribbons that lift it all! You know that I have always thought I should go along with the fashions with moderation, but never overdo them. A pretty young queen, so full of grace, has no need of any such madness; on the contrary, the simplicity of the plaster enhances the appearance and goes better with the rank of queen; she has to set the tone, and everything will hurry to embrace even her little oddities; but I, who love my little queen and follow her at every step, I can't help but warn her of these little exaggerations, which I otherwise have so much reason to be satisfied and proud of myself with everything you do be.

You will receive a letter from the Emperor, which has given me a lot of pleasure. I see that he is seriously considering visiting you and he is telling you his terms. I think Breteuil is quite old, but he will say the same about me; he has brought me the most beautiful things and the most dear to my heart: your very well-made bust and two delightful pictures; I always wear my rings, especially the one made from your hair, and are preferred to all others. I thank you for all these lovely and lovely gifts and ask you to believe that I will always be your most loyal mother and friend.


Schönbrunn, June 2, 1775.

I was delighted with everything you say to me about the attitude of the King and his orders to Parliament from time to time in this unfortunate uprising. Like you, I also believe that there is something behind it. Our people in Bohemia have now used the same language that you report on, except that yours are concerned with increasing the price of bread, ours with labor. They have also requested an order that abolishes them. In general, this spirit of turmoil is beginning to invade everywhere, the result of our enlightened century. I moan about it often, but the moral corruption, this indifference to everything related to our sacred religion, this continued crumbling are the causes of all these evils. I confess to you that I saw with great sorrow in the printed sheets that you were, more than ever, on all kinds of excursions to the Bois de Boulogne at the gates of Paris with the Count of Artois. The youngest brother of Louis XVI., Later King Charles X. . let in without the king being present. You ought to know better than I do that this prince is by no means respected, and that in this way you share in his mistakes. He's so young, so rash; with a prince one accepts it; but with a queen who is older and of whom one had a very different opinion, these faults become much greater. Do not lose this precious asset that you possessed so perfectly. A princess must be respectable in her least actions, and not become a brisk lady in her suits and amusements. We are being ruffled too much for us not to always have to be on our guard.

Now comes a much sadder point for me: all the letters from Paris say that you sleep separately from the king and that you have little part in his trust. I confess that this frightens me all the more since you have enough distractions during the day and you are without the king. This friendship, this habit of always being together, will soon end of its own accord, and I foresee only misfortune and sorrow for you, in spite of the brilliant position of which Rosenberg has assured me that it depends only on you to see it yourself received as the king loves and treasures you. Your only job must be to stay with him as much as possible during the day, to keep him company, to be his best friend and confidante, to try to know everything about everything, to talk to him and to be able to relieve him so that he never feels more comfortable and secure anywhere else than in your company. We are in this world to do good to others, your task is one of the greatest, we are not there for ourselves and to amuse ourselves, but to acquire heaven, which everything is aimed at, and it does not come to you in vain , it means earning it. Forgive this sermon, but I confess that the separate bedrooms, these excursions with the Count of Artois have filled my soul with all the greater sorrow, since I know the episode, which I cannot make clear enough to you to save the abyss into which you plunge. Ascribe this concern to my tenderness, but do not consider it superfluous.


Schönbrunn, September 2, 1776.

My dear wife daughter! Your brief letter from the courier, in which I have even found a change in writing, has troubled me, since you told me that you have migraines; but Mercy's on the 21st reported to me two days later that you had had an intermittent fever, but your doctor is not concerned about it, and if the seizures do not increase, he will let you go through a few more times to get rid of the juices, which at times plague you to destroy; In spite of this very correct assessment, which is similar to that of our great van Swieten and who also agrees with Störk, I would prefer to know that you are completely exempt from this, and I am afraid that you are not taking enough care of yourself, especially in autumn.

I owe you an answer for the Prince of Ligne about the employment of his second son in France. I am always happy when I can give pleasure to those you protect, but it must be through the mediation of the government in Brussels and Prince Kaunitz Wenzel, Prince von Kaunitz, the well-known State Chancellor and most important advisor to Maria Theresa in matters of foreign policy , 1711-1794. ask for my approval before I can determine anything as the Duke of Aremberg did. I would just like to inform you that the Prince of Ligne has a spirit and virtues, but his character and his recklessness do not match them, and that he boasted very much about his last trip to Paris.

All the news from Paris says that you bought bracelets for £ 250,000, and as a result, you have messed up your finances and thrown yourself into debt, and to remedy this you have given away some of your diamonds for a very low price. One inferred from this that you are enticing the king into so much superfluous waste which has been increasing for some time and is bringing the state into the desolate state in which it is. I think this is an exaggeration, but I felt it necessary to inform you of the rumors circulating because I love you so tenderly. Such stories tear my heart apart, especially about the future; but two other circumstances have given me a great deal of consolation for this. You are credited with the good behavior of the Count de Artois towards his wife, and one cannot say enough how well you behave towards her. This is how I recognize my kind, loving daughter, as well as the story of the good grandmother whose grandchild you are taking with you: all these stories bring me back to life, but the diamond story bowed me down. This French recklessness with all the extravagant jewelry! My daughter, my dear daughter, the first of all queens, should be like that too! This thought is unbearable to me! ...


Vienna, October 31, 1776.

My dear wife daughter! I hope that this courier will arrive before tithing, as you wish, so that you have time to dispatch him again before you return to Fontainebleau, otherwise I would have missed a whole month and I confess that I always go with you awaited the arrival of these couriers with great fondness. I accepted your apologies for forgetting my name day with no resentment; but, my dear daughter, I wish that you think of me not just once a year, but every months, weeks and days, and that you do not forget my tenderness, my advice and my example.

I confess that such a constant life of diversions, with promenades and excursions, has never been seen in other queens who, though young, were older than you and always accompanied by their husbands; but nothing worries me more than that all of this happens without the King only as a result of your own will and his great indulgence, which might once cease, especially when extraordinary expenses arise.On these occasions I want you to think of me, and I am sure, and I know your heart, unless it is completely changed by the flattery and carelessness, that the mere thought that I am disturbed by this rash could hold you back. It will be different of itself, but perhaps too late for your happiness and honor, that is my constant concern and will remain so for as long as I live.


Vienna, November 30, 1776.

My dear wife daughter! I am very happy to have you back and more calmly for the winter. In time your health will not be able to withstand all these rides and vigils; if it were to happen in the company of the king, I would be silent, but always without him and with everything that is bad and young in Paris, so that the queen, this charming queen, is almost the eldest of the whole society! These newspapers, these papers, which were the pleasure of my life and which reported the good deeds and magnanimous features of my daughter, have changed; I only found reports of horse races, games of chance, and waking nights in them, so that I no longer wanted to see them, but I cannot prevent people from talking about them, because all the people who know my tenderness for my children speak and tell me of them. I often avoid having company around lest I hear these distressing things; but very comforting news: if nothing prevents the execution, the emperor is counting on traveling to France. I can imagine the comfort that will be for you and how you will use the time he will spend with you as well as his advice. He is very capable of it, and his friendship for you will leave you wanting for nothing.


Castle courtyard, June 29, 1777.

My dear wife daughter! I must inform you that I will write a day earlier so that the courier can leave on the 1st. I have two of your lovely and interesting letters of the 14th and 16th to answer. I foresaw the shock of parting from her brother, the Emperor Joseph II, who visited Marie Antoinette in Paris. caused, and I was very concerned about it; I am really told that your nerves have suffered as a result. I hope it will have had no effect since neither you nor Mercy are writing any more about it. The general applause this dear son has received is very flattering and comforting to me. I was a little afraid that his strict philosophy and simplicity would not please and that he would not want to find this nation to his taste either, but I have the consolation to see the opposite. That's all I could ask for; now i am satisfied. But what gives the measure is what you tell me about the friendship and mutual trust of the two brothers-in-law. God grant that throughout their government it may be for the good of the States and our families whom I have long considered to be one and the same. You can do the most to contribute to this happy beginning by following your brother's advice, which you seem so pleased and agree with, and everything you tell me about it, as well as the notes he left you, got me up moved to tears. Keep this goodwill carefully, do not let it dry up. The emperor was touched to enjoy you; he found a great joy in the friendly conversation with you. I will not betray him when I put his own words here that I could never reproduce so well:

“I left Versailles with sorrow because I am really fond of my sister; I found there that friendly, quiet way of life that I had renounced, but I see that I have not lost my taste for it. She is lovely and lovely. I've spent hours and hours with her without noticing how they fade away; her emotion on departure was great, her demeanor good. I had to use all my strength to tear myself away. "

Judge how comforting and touching this story is for a mother who loves her children so tenderly. I expect the happiest consequences of this, even for your marital status, for which the Emperor gives me hope again. He postpones everything else to the oral report on his return. I confess that it puts me in a bit of a bad mood, for having offspring is the most important thing for you, and I think the way you think about your sister-in-law's pregnancy is very right. Forgive me for my intrusiveness about your large portrait, Mercy will receive the measurements for it today; the first is for my study, where it is supposed to hang with the king's, but this large one is intended for a room where large portraits of the whole family hang. And shouldn't this lovely queen be there? Should the mother alone have to do without her dear daughter? I would like your figure in the court costume, even if the face is not very similar. In order not to bother you too much, it is enough for me that I have the figure and the posture that I do not know and with which all people are so satisfied. Since I had to give up my dear daughter when she was still very small and a child, this wish to get to know her, how she has developed, will excuse my intrusiveness, which arises from a very lively maternal tenderness.

The emperor has been very pleased with the nation, and that adds to my satisfaction. He has shed a lot of the prejudice that was used to hold him against you. But he is quite regretful that he had to leave you, and pleased with the friendship and trust of the king. Everything you say to me about the King, how tenderly worried about you on this occasion, is extraordinary, and you are very right to say that you will never forget it. Keep carrying out the advice of your friend and brother and in a short time you will see the effects and your fortified happiness will be the result. I embrace you tenderly and comforted and as long as I live I am ...


Vienna, December 5, 1777.

My dear wife daughter! I expected consoling news with every courier, but it stayed off too long. I wish terrible weather, so that the king does not go hunting and tire himself, and the queen does not play in the evening and even into the night. It is bad for your health and beauty, very bad because it separates you from the King, and very bad for the present and the future; You are not doing your duty to follow your husband. It's no excuse for you that he's too good, it only adds to your injustice, and I tremble for your future. Do not be fooled, the game attracts very bad company and actions in all countries of the world; that is recognized. The desire to win is too captivating, and in the end one is always damaged. If you calculate it, you can't win in the long run if you play honestly. So, my daughter, please, no concessions! You have to give up this passion in one fell swoop, no one can give you better advice than I, because I was once in the same position. If I cannot achieve anything with you, one day I will have to turn to the King himself to save you from greater inconvenience. I know the aftermath too well and you lose too much in public, but especially abroad, which makes me very embarrassed because I love you so tenderly.

Your brother Archduke Ferdinand. will tell you of an idea he has: to come home via France. That is a very unreasonable thought, for his health as it is right now does not allow him to think about it. There were other things to consider, too, if his visit suited you, what time he could come (he has his wife with him) and how he would be treated. Nothing has been decided yet, on the contrary, but I didn't want to refuse him altogether and meanwhile give him the pleasure that he is rightly entitled to with the idea. I hug her.


Schönbrunn, May 2, 1778.

My dear wife daughter! The courier of the 19th of the previous month brought me many good things, which I needed very much in the present circumstances. The effect of this was that I settled down here in Schönbrunn; my move was fraught with difficulties because I felt so badly.

You have announced some great news, some unexpected news. God be praised for this, and may my dearest Antoinette be fortified in her brilliant situation by giving France heirs! No caution is too much; I am delighted that you have stopped killing the nights in Paris and even left the game of billiards. From this I see that you are not neglecting anything and that you are sacrificing even the most harmless pleasures: But I beg you, my dear daughter, two months is not enough to be sure, especially with a first pregnancy, you have to wait a full thirteen weeks. So continue the same precautionary measures for the remaining five weeks. I mean, if the pregnancy progresses and you feel your child, you shouldn't sit too much or lie on the chaise longue, unless of course in an accident, God forbid. Then you will blindly follow the instructions of Lassone, who has rightly earned my trust. I hope that the choice of obstetrician will be made by him and that he will be an experienced and Christian man. I don't want that of your sister-in-law and that court intrigues (of men and women) play no part in it. Everyone wants to push in and accommodate a protégé. I have always left the choice to those who know their science best and who can ask the responsibility for it, and I have found myself very good at it. All other recommendations in the field of science are suspect, and in order to maintain order and calm one has to look to a single person, through whose hands everything must go, and believe that happiness depends on it.

If you saw the joy that reigns over the big news! It can't be bigger in Paris. You will perhaps be able to show them there more than our good Germans do, but at heart we take on the Parisians. The news was leaked five or six days before the courier arrived, and I am grateful for your regret for not having written to me sooner. I can see your devotion and attention from the fact that you did not want to please me in vain. Nevertheless, I ask you not to spare me another time, when something concerns you. Everything is infinitely important to me, I don't give myself up to joy too quickly and have been used to grief for thirty years, it has become second nature to me. So a moment of pleasure is a great asset to me ...


Schönbrunn, June 1, 1778.

My dear wife daughter! This one will arrive with you around the 13th of this month: a day that is so dear to me and that interests me more than ever. Saint Marie Antoinette's name saint, Anthony of Padua. will be besieged for you. You can't imagine how everything is busy with you, it couldn't be any more than if the emperor were married! What a joy to be loved, but more than to deserve it; that is the only reward for us princes. God protect you and your dear child and give you a son, and if not a daughter, who is equal to you in everything and just as comforting as you are to me! I am extremely satisfied with the choice of the obstetrician, his name wins me over and is a good sign for me, but I am particularly reassured by the approval of Lassone, who rightly has all my trust and I am there without any worries I see you in such good hands and you willingly obey all rules of conduct. Nothing is too much, especially with a first pregnancy. The choice of people who will have to care for this precious child is another subject of your attention and concern. With too much care you can do bad things, and I wish the women had nothing to do, just follow the doctor's instructions, as it is with us and I have found myself so well. I am only afraid of the schemes and recommendations, and with children, especially in the first year, everything depends on the care that is given to them. I mean sensible care that corresponds to nature, you should not be too tightly packed in the diaper, not kept too warm, your stomach should not be overloaded with baby food or flour paper, but the main thing is a good, healthy wet nurse, for which one has no security in Paris; but it is no better with the people of the country with this corruption of morals.

I am delighted with the alms you have asked of the King and with the King's feelings for us, which you convey so vividly, which shows your attachment to him and to us. Our position is still the same, Mercy will tell you everything that has happened since then. Discussions have begun. It is about the conclusion of the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1778, and you will see again that the King of Prussia also shows himself to be the same on this occasion, and he, who likes an alliance with France and Russia wants to make it, is listened to. He wants to anticipate all difficulties and stand up for us, and counts that if peace is made (which I still long for and which I cannot recommend enough to help you do) it will not last long. In order to inhibit and crush us, he flatters you others and wants to connect with you. He flatters in every way and makes all possible advances, you already know that with him if he wants to achieve his purpose. But once he has reached him, he forgets everything and even does the opposite of everything, because he never keeps his word. France already has some experience in this, and besides Russia, which he fears, so do all the other princes of Europe. You shouldn't talk yourself into anything about Russia, it follows the same principles as the king, and the successor is even more Prussian than his so-called father was, and also his mother, who has come back a little from it, but not enough than that one could expect something against the King of Prussia from there, not even demonstrations: very generous in fine words that say nothing, according to Greek unreliability:.

These are the two powers that one would like to put in place of us good, decent Germans. We have the same interests in our families and in our states. We will communicate better in the future if you want to make a change. The unfortunate acquisition of Galicia in the first partition of Poland, which Austria undertook together with Prussia and Russia. has led us a little off the right path because we made it so easy, but it has been a good lesson to us, and it is difficult for us to continue. The enormous costs, the worries, the loss of trust everywhere are no small matter, so as not to leave behind for a long time a sad memory of the hasty step we have taken. That our friends left us also contributes a little, but our hearts excuse them if we are no longer reminded of them in the future. We do not want to credit the weakness and the bad will of the ministers and of the greater part of the nation, which made itself known only too clearly, and it should even be forgotten. We count wholeheartedly on the heart of the king and his gracious queen and the familiar cordiality we have for them, and we regard their fame and interest as ours. More than ever, they can count on us never to mislead them into doing anything that might embarrass them. We are useful to them so that they can turn their full attention to the navy, their colonies, and trade, which we will never envy them. But we also ask for something against it, and we want to enjoy the happiness of this unity, which alone, if it is established, can restore peace to Europe forever.

It would be very bad if this calm of two powers Prussia and Russia. so well known for their tenets and principles with which they themselves govern their own subjects. This would give our holy religion its final blow, and one would have to look for good morals and good faith among the barbarians.After this, not exaggerated, imagine my pain if I saw France, or even ourselves, on the other side. Because I have to admit that in the end we would have to join the other party for our own security or to have a piece of the pie. It would not be difficult to separate them if one could see them more closely, as was done in the war of 1741.

My dear daughter! In what I am telling you I have not said too much to you. There is still time to put everything in order and to come to an understanding on the good; but if you let this opportunity pass, it will be too late. Take advantage of my old gray head to accept my most loving advice for the benefit of our kingdoms, families, and my dear children whom I love and embrace tenderly.


Vienna, April 1, 1779.

... What you say to me about your dear daughter gives me great pleasure, but especially the tenderness of the king. But I confess I am insatiable; she must have a companion, and he should not be too long in coming. My dear daughter, do not neglect anything that depends on you and, especially now in the fine season, do not ride too much; that is absolutely contrary to our wishes, as well as those of every good French and Austrian, and believe that I am always your good mom and friend.

P. S. Your large portrait is my delight! Ligne found it similar, but it is enough for me that it represents your figure, with whom I am very pleased.


Vienna, February 1, 1780.

My dear wife daughter! I am very reassured about your health. The colds in France must be worse than ours. Thank God that you and your lovely little one got through it in three days. I fear that the carnival will cause relapses because the weather is horrible and the roads are ruined; I thoroughly dislike the return trip from Paris to Versailles. It seems to me that Laffone is right in prescribing you iron, which has done wonders for the Queen of Naples, and blood-letting will do you no harm. I could count on getting pregnant as soon as I was drained. So I am very satisfied with all of these arrangements, and in a few months I expect the very desirable effects that are so important to you. Incidentally, the written or printed reports confirm on all sides that there is perfect agreement between the two of you: it is said that the King shows you so much affection and attention on every occasion that it is charming! but there are also some who dare to abuse his kindness. It is said that the Polignac demanded the Grafschaft Bitsch, which is to be elevated to a duchy, with the sole right, because she is in your favor. The audience was amazed at such a demand, which shows more avarice than attachment. They say now that you want to have millions more given to her. I do not value these rumors because I think they are unlikely, but I find it necessary and useful to inform you about them, especially in these circumstances when the state has so much burdens to bear.

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