Limited-time offer! Craving even more delicious recipes?

Buy 2 Cookbooks,
Get 1 FREE!

*Restrictions apply ( Read More )

Here’s The Truth About Marie Antoinette Saying “Let Them Eat Cake”

On this day, May 16th, in 1770, princess Marie Antoinette married the French dauphin, Louis-Auguste. Four years after their marriage, Marie and Louis became the king and queen of France. Throughout their reign, the couple suffered intense scrutiny from the public, especially Marie Antoinette, who led an incredibly lavish lifestyle and held sympathies with Austria. In fact, Marie Antoinette was reportedly so out of touch with the poverty issue in France that she allegedly responded to news of the poor having no bread to eat with the now infamous phrase, “Let them eat cake.”

Or, did she?

According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, Marie Antoinette most likely never said “Let them eat cake.” In fact, the French phrase she reportedly used was Qu’ils mangent de la brioche, which doesn’t directly translate to “Let them eat cake,” but instead, “Let them eat brioche.”

To be fair, this technicality doesn’t really help prove Marie Antoinette innocent. Brioche is a fancy bread, loaded with butter and eggs — it’s not quite cake, but it’s still a sweet treat. So, suggesting the poor eat brioche would have been just as hard a slap in the face as suggesting they eat cake.

But truth be told, there’s actually no historical evidence that Marie Antoinette even said Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.

So, what gives? Why is this kooky quote attributed to the French queen? It turns out other uppity royal women have reportedly said similar things in the past.

Scholars have found a 16th-century German folktale tells the story of an out-of-touch noblewoman who ponders why the poor don’t eat Krosem, a sweet bread similar to brioche.

Encyclopedia Brittanica recounts that the French writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau attributed the phrase Qu’ils mangent de la brioche to “a great princess” in his 1767 book Confessions. This book was later one of the texts to inspire the French revolutionaries, who thusly pinned the quote on Marie Antoinette.

However, the only problem is, when Rousseau wrote Confessions, Marie Antoinette was only five years old. Although a princess, she was not nearly old enough to make such a historic statement.

And the first source to actually put the quote and Marie Antoinette together on paper was published 50 years after the French Revolution by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, in the 1843 issue of the journal Les Guêpes. Having found the quote in a 1760 publication, Karr actually believed it was created to discredit Marie Antoinette — though this could simply be a rumor.

Unfortunately, no amount of evidence will ever seemingly separate Marie Antoinette from “Let them eat cake.” It’s too iconic a quote to simply let go.

And the phrase is still so applicable to modern situations. Sad… but true.

LOL, right? Is this an LOL situation?

Um… Well, yeah.

Here’s a more upbeat, albeit incorrect, example of modernly using the phrase. We love you anyway, Cheesecake Factory.

Honestly, when does the Met Gala not have big “Let them eat cake energy?” They are so rich and we are so poor!

Perhaps Marie Antoinette wasn’t *so* out of touch with reality to utter those words. However, we cannot deny she lived in the lap of luxury while many suffered.

And, yeah. To say it didn’t end well is an understatement.

In 1793, Marie Antoinette was sentenced to be beheaded. After the deed was done, the crowd reportedly shouted Vive la République!

Someone may have put those dreaded words in Marie Antoinette’s mouth. But tbh, we don’t think the public knowing the truth would have helped her.

So, next time someone recounts the famous line “Let them eat cake,” you can be the smarty pants of the bunch. Wherever she is, Marie Antoinette will thank you.