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This article is the written script of an episode from our podcast series: Kandelaa – Conversations.

( Bu yazı,  podcast serimiz Kandelaa – Conversations’tan alınan bir bölümün yazılı metnidir. )


To avoid complications, she never kept the same address.

Let them eat cake, she says; just like Marie Antoinette!

Says Queen, one of my favorite bands in their song Killer Queen.

( Some royal names in a sequence…I’ve just noticed that the track fits today’s topic quite well.)

But there’s a problem.

Marie Antoinette, actually, didn’t say that.

I suppose you’ve come across multiple sources which disprove such famous slanders about the former Queen of France, the wife of Louis Auguste, aka Louis XVI. Yet, the words so adhere to her reputation that even though one is aware of this “scandalous” sentence (sure, you can’t see that I do quotation with my hands) is of no evidence, it is still likely for it to come to your mind altogether with the queen’s name.

But seriously, how on earth was that thing made up, so that someone can still cringe at the stupidity of the situation without even finding the essence of it? I view Marie Antoinette as a figure that has an effect herself on the flaring of The French Revolution and preserve a neutral stance rather than sympathy. However, it seems we should cover up the subject with what I’ve learned during my research on this misconception.


Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna von Österreich-Lothringen was born to a regal family circle; her parents being Empress Maria Theressa and Francis I. She wasn’t the brightest regarding her learning aptitude or at least performance, we might say. Foreign languages, writing, or reading appeared to be hard for her. Also, she was only 14 when married the French Dauphin, Louis-Auguste, who was then 16. Her husband was finally crowned half a decade later, making Marie the new French Queen.

No one precisely knows whether it was because of the young couple’s naiveté –  but since the King didn’t show an eagerness for intercourse, they did not have a child for some time, which soon brought gossip about through the country. Whatsoever, this problem cleared up later once the queen gave birth to her first child, Louis- Joseph- Xavier- François, after her twentieth age.

Marie Antoinette didn’t use to clothe bombastically when she first came to Versailles; however, things changed after she was taught how to dress properly (more appropriately) to a queen’s style. This would affect her whole life of her: she then quickly became an iconic figure who applies mesmerizing, yet sometimes a bit bizarre designs to balls, invitations, or general styling. Her spending was slowly tarnishing her image, especially at such a time when most of the country was poor and soon to initiate an enormous riot that would impact the whole world.

I should make a point here: we can’t allege that the queen is selfish or awfully mannered in the real life as it may feel. She appeared to be quite nice and frivolous, not intentionally bad; and an associate with various charities.

However, to sum up, things didn’t prevent her reputation from being stained awfully. The people were growing tenser, and the economical status of the state was just unbearable and an absolute burden on commoners’ shoulders.

Meanwhile, the renowned words we remember: People were accumulating before Versailles, the crowd didn’t seem pleased at all. Hunger was a communal fact, righto; and the circumstance went to the queen’s ear as well. 

“Cake” legend stems from here

 Well, this was less general and rather stood as a symbol of the people’s problems. They didn’t have bread, indeed, but nothing specific this was to the current situation and ireful group out of the building. France sought a thorough resolution to the ailments she had been shouldering, which in long run should not disappoint all the endeavors. Anyhow, the word “bread” is mentioned sometime, probably, and as for rumors, Antoinette showed her oblivion by her vain words. Let’s pause here. From now on, I’d like to convey a part that I translated from my book called: The Book Of General Ignorance:

The food mentioned in the words wasn’t “a cake”, rather brioche, a kind of bread in France which is enriched with egg and butter; relatively more quality than a normal bread in a slight difference. Having looked at this case, if Marie Antoinette truly said that, this can be interpreted as a benign venture: If they want bread, give them the best.

Nevertheless, the correspondent to this word wasn’t Marie Antoinette herself. Since the 1760s, these words were used in black and white for denoting the distortion that was emerging in the aristocracy. Even Jean – Jacques Rousseau asserted that he once heard this use back in 1740. Another subject involved in the dispute is Lady Antonia Fraser who attributed our famous lines to another Louis’ wife: Louis the XIV. Still, there were enough other 18th-century ladies that were potent in uttering this saying.

(The Book of General Knowledge- Cahilllikler Kitabı)


In many other places, I’m reiterating, you can see others refuting the allegation.

Marie possibly wasn’t to blame for such recklessness, but the aftermath of the French monarchs would be horrific anyhow.

On May 5th, the French Revolution ultimately began. The attempts of the royals to flee from the palace did not work out, causing them to be caught and sent to Temple, a prison, in Paris. King Louis would be the first one that is executed, preceding his wife whose fate didn’t differ much from his.

The Revolution occurred, and undoubtedly entailed the world to change; both directly and indirectly. France still faced unpleasant situations, even after Napoleon Bonaparte’s achievements in certain cases. The Battle of Waterloo, for instance, is mentioned as a baleful skirmish that involved multiple states.

Today we enlightened a misunderstanding about a historical woman for whom it is unfortunate to be mostly remembered with such a phenomenon. You can reach out to different opinions upon it. Everything aside, another idea lies under this phenomenon: If indifference- with suppression against whom to protect – lasts too long a time, it would consequently bring an unrestrainable storm which, in turn, would afflict both rulers and people. 


reputation (n): nam, itibar

to come across (v): karşılaşmak

source (n): kaynak

slander (n): iftira

evidence (n): kanıt

how on earth (excl): nasıl olur da…

to be made up (v): uydurulmak

stance (n): duruş, bakış açısı

misconception (n): yanlış anlaşılma

regal (n): soylu

circle (n): çevre (tanıdıklar anlamında), daire

to be crowned (v): tahta çıkmak

precisely (adv): tam olarak

clothe (v): giyinmek

cloth (n): giysi

intercourse (n): münasebet

eagerness (n): isteklilik, rıza

to clear up (v): açıklığa kavuşmak, aydınlanmak, düzene sokmak

rapidly (adv): hızlı bir şekilde

to affect/impact (v): etkilemek

bizarre (adj): garip, enteresan

naiveté (n) (clearly French): toyluk, tecrübesizlik

mesmerizing (adj): büyüleyici, göz kamaştırıcı

bombastically (adv): abartılı şekilde

frivolous (adj): uçarı, aklı havada, önemsiz, ciddi olmayan, boş kafa

aspire: hedeflemek

seek -> sought (V2) (v): aramak, istemek, peşinde koşmak

associate with: üye

riot (n): isyan

to allege (v): iddia etmek

to prevent (v): önlemek

tense (adj): gergin

to stemp from (v): -den kaynaklanmak /kök salmak

oblivion (n): kayıtsızlık

entail (v): yol açmak, gerekli kılmak

to enrich (v): zenginleştirmek

recklessness (n): düşüncesizlik, umursamazlık

anyhow (adv): her şeye rağmen, yine de

vain (adj): nafile, faydasız, kuru, gösterişçi

indifference (n): kayıtsızlık, umursamazlık

unbearable (adj): katlanılmaz, çekilmez

benign (adj): mülayim, içten

to involve (v): içermek, sürüklemek, bulaştırmak

baleful (adj): yıkıcı

status (n): durum