May the people of France rest peacefully now that the long lasting rivalry between France and Austria is finally over! Due to an alliance between France and Austria the escalating tension has ended. This alliance was arranged by the Holy Roman Emperor Francis 1 and his lovely wife Maria Theresa in an agreement to allow their daughter to marry our French Dauphin. Hopefully this alliance will work and last a lifetime. We all know we do not want to resort to constantly battling each other like we were before this alliance. Now enough of the political matter and let's get to the celebration of the century!
The Royal Chapel of Versailles. By Ajay K (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The sixteenth of May, 1770 is the day our French Dauphin Louis XVI finally puts a ring on the Austrian Archduchess Marie Antoinette. These two were already married before this grand celebration due to a proxy in Vienna. That means this wedding was the first time they ever laid eyes upon each other! Talk about "love at first sight" although these two did not seem that much in love. I guess that happens when you marry for politics. However, besides the lack of affection, the French court made up for it with the lavish location and décor. The couple were married in the Royal Chapel of Versailles and it was dripping in the finest gold that only the richest can afford. Louis XVI was dressed in the most ravishing gold suit and he looked dashing as ever while waiting for his beautiful bride to walk down the isle. Once the doors opened to reveal Marie Antoinette, all of their 5,000 guests stood in complete awe as she descended down the isle.
Jean-Michel Moreau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Marie Antoinette's gown wasn't anything less than perfection. Her gown was a beautiful lilac color and was dripping in diamonds and pearls. Needless to say non other than the richest and most powerful can afford. The audience stood in complete silence as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette knelt in front of the altar while the Archbishop of Reims officiated. As the couple signed their signatures onto their marriage contract, Marie accidentally left a large ink blot that covered half her name! What a silly girl! Once the ceremony was over, the actual fun part came with the grand reception. I watched while Louis XVI pranced across the dance floor with his bride with a hint of discomfort on his face. I mean, who could blame him? They just met today for goodness sake!
Marie Antoinette at age 13. Before marriage to Louis XVI. Attributed to Martin van Meytens [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
As the reception started to die down, the royals had one more surprise for the young couple and their guests. It was a beautiful firework display! Unfortunately, a huge storm came to put a damper on the event. However, the French Court made up for it with following days to celebrate the special occasion. The next few days were filled with excitement and joy for the newlyweds (most were happy to just have the long lasting feud between France and Austria over). Everyday there was either a ball, performances, or festivals to commemorate this much appreciated union. The last day of this joyous celebration the day of May 30, 1770. The French Court wanted it to be the most memorable day of the union ( besides the actual wedding date). Alas, that was not the case that night. Around 200,000 peopled gathered to see the firework display, that had been postponed due to the storm the night of the wedding, and went home devastated. A riot broke out at the firework display and resulted in hundreds of people being trampled over. This is not a good start to any marriage. I would really like to my best regards to the couple because they need it, especially after the terrible luck they had at their wedding. With Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI being so young and having just met each can they gain affection towards each other? Will there be heirs to the throne once they are crowned king and queen? Does the giant ink blot and the riot that caused so many deaths mean a terrible marriage? Was the amount of money spent on the wedding too much and will this become a normal for the Court to spend this much? Could France end up in huge amounts of debts? I don't know what this marriage will bring to our country but I hope it's peace and wealth across France!
By Basset (Bibliothèque nationale de France) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
- McGasko, J. (2016, April 22). Wedded, Unbedded, and Beheaded: The Human Side of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.biography.com/news/king-louis-xvi-and-marie-antoinette-execution-anniversary
- Louis marries Marie Antoinette. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/louis-marries-marie-antoinette
- HistoryVersailles through the centuries. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://en.chateauversailles.fr/history/versailles-during-the-centuries/living-at-the-court/wedding-of-the-dauphin-louis-and-marie-antoinette
- Cohen, J. (2011, April 27). Royal Weddings Gone Bad. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.history.com/news/royal-weddings-gone-bad