Everyone Knows The Famous Phrase, “Let Them Eat Cake,” But There’s A Lot More History To The Origin of This

Inna - illustrative purposes only

Everyone knows the famous phrase, “Let them eat cake.” 

Many of us know it’s a quote associated with French Queen Marie-Antionette, but there’s a lot more history to the origin of this famous phrase, and it’s quite interesting.

The phrase in French is actually “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.” It’s often believed that when Queen Marie-Antionette and her husband, King Louis XVI, ruled France during the French Revolution, Marie-Antionette said this in response to poor French peasants who could not afford bread. 

In that context, it sounds like pure evil. But there’s actually a good chance that Marie-Antionette never said this at all.

The alleged first person to ever write this phrase was French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau around 1767. In his writing, Jean-Jacques attributed this quote to a princess. While Marie-Antionette was a princess when the quote was written, she was likely too young to say such a thing.

So how did this quote get associated with her?

Well, it was most likely through some good old-fashioned gossip. If there’s one thing most people know about Marie-Antionette’s story, it’s that the people of France despised her. She and Louis XVI were only teenagers when they became the King and Queen of France in 1774.

Not long after they were crowned, France fell into a financial crisis. Before the French Revolution, there was the Flour War of 1775 which involved a series of riots in France due to the increase in prices for flour and bread.

Meanwhile, Marie-Antionette was spending a fortune at the Palace of Versailles, buying wigs, dresses, jewelry, gambling, and having parties at her retreats. She became known as Madame Déficit,” and the people of France were very angry with her. 

Inna – illustrative purposes only

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