The Ghost of Marie Antoinette
Does the Ghost of Marie Antoinette Exist?
There has been a fascination with the life and times of Marie Antoinette in recent years. The movie Marie Antoinette aired in 2006 starring the beautiful Kirsten Dunst. Marie Antoinette Halloween costumes have even become a Halloween norm, but why the obsession and interest in this deceased and many-times controversial Queen of France? Could it be that the ghost of Marie Antoinette herself is fueling this newfangled intrigue in her tragic life?
Marie Antoinette is a figure in history that is surrounded with much debate and controversy, yet also loved in many facets. Unfortunately, Marie Antoinette died prematurely and many believe that her soul is lingering...forever earthbound. Read on to learn more of the life of Marie Antoinette and the chilling yet sorrowful accounts of the ghost of Marie Antoinette.
A Brief History of the Life of Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette was born in Austria on November 2nd, 1755 to the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and his wife, Empress Maria Theresa. Her original name was Maria Antonia Josephina Johanna (it would be through her residence in France that she would come to be known as Marie Antoinette). She was loved by her parents, though sometimes neglected by her mother, but was also a spoiled child...even though she was indeed their fifteenth child.
Fast forward through her childhood years - when Marie Antoinette was only fourteen years old (1770), her parents promised her hand in marriage to the young Dauphin of France. Marie Antoinette had to leave her home and family and literally everything she knew to go and live with a complete stranger...not to mention a wimpy, pompous stranger, at that. Marie Antoinette and her new husband didn't seem to have much in common. Marie Antoinette loved to throw lavish parties and really relish in the rich life, while her husband was a little more reserved...or boring, one could say. Can you blame a teenager for wanting to live life to the fullest? Isn't that what most teens do?
Well, four years after her wedding, the Dauphin of France assumed the throne and became King...with his beautiful, young Marie Antoinette acquiring the title of Queen of France. She was a mere nineteen years old when she assumed the throne next to King Louis XVI. Already, Marie Antoinette was developing a reputation among the French people as being overly extravagant and profligate. Rumors spread that Marie Antoinette was spending all of the King's money on fine gowns, jewelry, parties, gambling, and theatrics. The King himself, Louis XVI, denied the Queen's sexual advances and it is said that Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI didn't consummate their marriage until seven years after the wedding.
The French people constantly questioned Marie Antoinette's loyalty and care for her French country, stating that she was in cahoots with Austria (her home country and yet the French's enemy). Rumors flew around the countryside that Marie Antoinette was having affairs with men of the French court including one of the King's younger brothers. Enter the Diamond Necklace Affair...though I will not go into the details of that cacophony you can read of it elsewhere on the internet. The French people almost poked fun at the beautiful, blonde Queen calling her names equivalent to "whore" and the like. Many claimed that she was spending the country's money in frivolity.
Years later, the King was able to consummate the marriage and Queen Marie Antoinette gave birth to four children. Her party life started to tame down, and the Queen spent most of her time taking care of her children and settling her family. But at this point, despite her efforts to be a good wife, mother and Queen, the French people were already angered at the economic crisis...and began taking out their anger on the royals. Keep in mind too, that Marie Antoinette gave much to the poor and impoverished families in their times of need. But, alas, no good deed goes unpunished.
After much turmoil and struggle trying to keep the French people calm and at bay amidst an economic downturn, the King and Queen finally decided to flee France for fear of their lives. The people had been causing uproars and mobs had been raiding royal courts and buildings. This was the start of the French Revolution.
Fast forward through the horribly terrifying years that Marie Antoinette had to endure alongside her quiet, unsupportive husband - two of Marie Antoinette's children passed from illnesses. In their moment of fleeing the country, and being almost to the border of France & Austria, the King and Queen and their family were discovered and dragged back to Paris for a trial.
King Louis XVI was convicted and found guilty of treason and died at the guillotine in 1793...followed by the still-loyal and steadfast Marie Antoinette on October 16th, 1793. It is said that her body was not even given a proper burial...it was thrown in an unmarked grave. Her head was put on display for the sickened, angry crowd who watched her die at the spoils of the guillotine. All through her trial and execution, Marie Antoinette remained loving and calm. She spoke only of her love for her family and country.
Dying a tragic death in turmoil may have kept Marie Antoinette's spirit bound to the earth...does she still walk the halls of the Versailles Palace?
The Ghost of Marie Antoinette
The ghost of Marie Antoinette has been seen in quite a few places. She has been seen at the Petit de Trianon, Palace of Versailles, the Conciergie, and even a house in Maine.
The first very popular story of two women catching a sighting of Marie Antoinette at the Petit de Trianon can actually be read in full detail by clicking here (hubber Nell Rose wrote this beautiful account of that ghostly experience). But briefly, two women visited the Petit de Trianon in 1901 and experienced a "slip in time", and saw what appeared to be Marie Antoinette. Or were they actually seeing a re-play of the time when Marie Antoinette first learned of an angry mob heading to the Trianon? Either way, their story is compelling and very spooky. In addition to the time slip tale of the ghost of Marie Antoinette, many visitors claim to see a white mist lingering by Marie Antoinette's bed at the Trianon and also feel cold spots on a regular basis.
At the Conciergie, Marie Antoinette's ghost is said to be seen on her death's anniversary on October 16th. The Conciergie was the prison where Marie Antoinette was kept before her trial and execution in 1793. Cold spots and voices have been experienced here dozens of times.
The ghost of Marie Antoinette has been felt by sensitive people at the palace of Versailles, as well. The picture to the right has been assumed to be a picture of the ghost of Marie Antoinette. What do you think?
Perhaps a very strange place to see the ghost of Marie Antoinette is at a home in Maine. The Edgecomb home owned by the late Clark family is said to be haunted by the ghost of Marie Antoinette, but why? The Clark family says they were part of a conspiracy to aid in the flee of Marie Antoinette from France and to the United States. She had even sent some of her possessions ahead of time to the Clark home in Edgecomb, including paintings and sculptures. People say that Marie Antoinette haunts this home as well as the coast of Maine. There has been sightings of the ghost of Marie Antoinette here, in full period costume and powdered wig.
Does the ghost of Marie Antoinette indeed haunt all four of these places or is this just a figment of our imaginations...trying desperately to romanticize an already-infamous tale of misunderstandings and mistakes?
I believe that the ghost of Marie Antoinette may visit these places from time to time, but I feel as though she is not earthbound. She has made it to the other side but perhaps visits us when she feels she needs to be remembered and possibly honored. She sure wasn't honored in life, so maybe we could honor her in death.
Trailer for Marie Antoinette Movie
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© 2011 Nicole Canfield