Fighting fake news and salacious rumors in Versailles

Using a smoking gun, Goldstone remarks in the closing lines of his book that although the preserved heart of a child long believed to be Louis-Charles has been “tested for DNA against that of Mary -Antoinette and found a match “in 2000 – Goldstone mistakenly dates this event to 2004 -” in a curious omission, Louis’s remains have never been publicly tested for paternity. ” What Goldstone herself oddly fails to mention is that the test looked at mitochondrial DNA, which carries genes only from the maternal line.

This fall, French researchers announced that they had used X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to decipher Marie-Antoinette’s private letters to Fersen, whose heavy writing has thwarted would-be detectives (including this reviewer) for generations. “In a blow to the gossip,” The New York Times reported, “the content does not specify if they were having an affair. Nonetheless, Goldstone persisted. In a video on his website, she develops her thesis that Fersen slept with the Queen and made her pregnant, claiming that he must have done so because “experts” determined that Louis XVI was autistic. By “experts,” Goldstone apparently refers to a Dr. Linda Gray, a “renowned developmental pediatrician” in New Haven, Connecticut, whom she writes in her book She “Contacted … about Louis’s behavior without the phone. ‘identify’. “The child you describe,” Goldstone quotes Gray as a respondent, “ticks all the boxes for autism spectrum disorder.” If correct, this hypothesis would perhaps explain a lot about the character of the shy and embarrassed King of France. This would not, however, prove that he was unable or refused to procreate with his wife. In any case, Gray’s words cannot be called a diagnosis, given that Louis died in 1793; yet for Goldstone, they are considered convincing historical evidence.

Such misleading statements are particularly troubling because they repeat the pattern of lascivious “fake news” that destroyed Marie Antoinette in the first place. Like Marie-Thérèse (who had to fight an almost eight-year war to defend her right to succeed her sonless father as ruler of the Habsburg Empire) and Marie-Caroline (whom Napoleon Bonaparte would have reluctantly praised as “the only man in the kingdom of Naples,” only to oust him from his throne and send him into exile), Marie-Antoinette lived in a misogynistic political culture that treated powerful women harshly. As soon as she arrived in Versailles from her native Austria in 1770, Louis’ 14-year-old bride encountered relentless hostility from many high-ranking figures at court. Some of his antagonists opposed the Austrian diplomatic alliance that his marriage to Louis was supposed to ratify; others, like her husband’s brother Provence (later Louis XVIII) and her cousin Chartres (later Philippe-Égalité), hoped that if their parent’s marriage failed, they could become king themselves. To advance their agendas, these adversaries plague her on the honor of her husband and of France: an amoral, debauched and lascivious whore. They circulated brochures representing her in orgiastic antics with her closest friends, her stylist and the younger brother of her husband, Artois (future Charles X), among others. As it turns out, these posts often called her bastard children, but usually called d’Artois, not Fersen, like the father.

After the revolution erupted in 1789, opponents of the crown adopted the same strategy, producing even more pornographic leaflets describing “The Austrian“- literally” the Austrian woman “, but also a pun for a bitch – in even more X-rated scenarios. This smear campaign reaches its peak, or its lowest, during the trial which sentenced her to death in October 1793, when the prosecutor of the new republican government accuses Marie-Antoinette of having committed incest with Louis-Charles, age 8. To explain these “unusual charges”, Goldstone notes that the prosecution had clearly decided that the queen “should be substituting on a visceral level for the corruption and depravity of the monarchy in general.… This was done by relying on the image presented “of her in the brochures. That is correct. If only Goldstone had brought forward. the same keen sense of his own questionable assumptions about Marie-Antoinette’s sex life.

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