Sunday, January 23, 2011
Le Petit Hameau de la Reine
Here is an interesting article from a few years ago. Historical novelist Elena Maria Vidal, who has been a kind friend to this blog, discusses the model village and farm commissioned by Queen Marie-Antoinette on the grounds of Versailles. As Miss Vidal explains, the "little hamlet", despite its practical, educational and even charitable purposes, is often unfairly portrayed as an example of heedless extravagance on the part of the Queen. It seems that Marie-Antoinette is the prime example of a royal lady, endowed with many winsome qualities, who nevertheless could never put a foot right, in the estimation of some. It reminds me of our Princess Lilian, whose every gesture, even the most positive, was tirelessly, ingeniously criticized. (A left-wing newspaper even sneered at her Cardiological Foundation). Incidentally, Lilian and Marie-Antoinette were related, by marriage, since the princess' husband, King Leopold III of the Belgians, was a direct descendant of the French queen's favorite, older sister, Maria Carolina. Through the royal houses of France and Saxony, Leopold III was also related to Louis XVI.