Getting Naked in Public
Though being Queen of France may have had its benefits in gowns and jewelry, it had its drawback too. Marie Antoinette's every action and reaction was watched and recorded by friends and foes.
Though it was the home of royalty, Versailles was not a private palace. Anyone could visit the Chateau, provided the were properly attired and checked their weapons at the door. Even the poorly dressed were not completely turned away, they could rent acceptable attire at the front guard shack. The foyers were packed with cloying courtiers, hoping to grab the ear of the king, and the bourgeoisie, hoping to catch even the slightest glimpse of the king or queen.
While she was dauphine, Marie Antoinette's schedule was filled from morning until night and didn't allow for privacy. In a letter to her mother, she details her daily schedule:
- At 9 every morning, Marie Antoinette would rise, dress, say her prayers, and eat breakfast.
- At 11 she would visit with the Mesdames in their Apartments. Sometimes the king would visit.
- Chambre is called at noon. Marie Antoinette writes, "I put on my rouge and wash my hands before everybody. Then the gentlemen leave, the ladies stay, and I dress before them." She would then go to Mass.
- After Mass, the royal family would dine in full view of the public.
- Marie Antoinette and Louis would visit after lunch for about an hour.
- At 3:00 Marie Antoinette would once again visit with the King and the Mesdames.
- Abbe de Vermond, her priest, would consult with her and hear her confession at 4:00.
- Marie Antoinette would take music lessons at 5:00, practicing the harpsichord and singing.
- She would head back to the Mesdames Apartments at 6:30 for a brief visit.
- From 7:00 until 9:00 she would play cards, go walking, or "go out."