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When investigating how this phrase came to be attributed to Marie Antoinette, it is important to understand the increasing unpopularity of the Queen in the final years before the outbreak of the French Revolution.During her marriage to Louis XVI, her perceived frivolousness and her very real extravagance were often cited as factors that only worsened France's dire financial straits.Thus, Louis XVIII is as likely as others to have had his recollection affected by the quick spreading and distorting of Rousseau's original remark.Fraser points out in her biography that Marie Antoinette was a generous patron of charity and moved by the plight of the poor when it was brought to her attention, thus making the statement out-of-character for her.For years, he visited Brady in prison every month, spoke to him on the phone every day and received hundreds of letters from him.My first meeting with Moors murderer Ian Brady was chilling." (何不食肉糜), as part of showing how incompetent he was.
Letters from Marie Antoinette to her family in Austria at this time reveal an attitude totally different to the Let them eat cake mentality.As one biographer of the Queen notes, it was a particularly useful phrase to cite because "the staple food of the French peasantry and the working class was bread, absorbing 50 percent of their income, as opposed to 5 percent on fuel; the whole topic of bread was therefore the result of obsessional national interest." Other objections to the legend of Marie Antoinette and the cake/brioche comment centre on arguments concerning the queen's personality, internal evidence from members of the French royal family and the date of the saying's origin.For example, the Queen's English-language biographer, Antonia Fraser, wrote in 2002: The attribution also has little credibility.While the phrase is commonly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, there is no record of her having said it.It appears in book six of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Confessions, his autobiography (whose first six books were written in 1765, when Marie Antoinette was nine years of age, and published in 1782).
In addition, anti-royalist libellistes printed stories and articles that attacked the royal family and their courtiers with exaggerations, fictitious events, and outright lies.