Fighting Fake News and Salacious Rumors at Versailles

Combating Pretend Information and Salacious Rumors at Versailles

By means of a smoking gun, Goldstone remarks in her ebook’s closing traces that though the preserved coronary heart of a kid lengthy believed to have been Louis-Charles was “examined for DNA towards Marie Antoinette’s and located to be a match” in 2000 — Goldstone wrongly dates this occasion to 2004 — “in a curious omission, Louis’s stays have been by no means publicly examined for paternity.” What Goldstone herself curiously omits to say is that the check was for mitochondrial DNA, which carries genes from solely the maternal line.

This fall, French researchers introduced that they’d used X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to decrypt Marie Antoinette’s private letters to Fersen, the heavy redactions of which have thwarted would-be sleuths (together with this reviewer) for generations. “In a blow to gossips,” The New York Times reported, “the contents don’t make clear whether or not they have been having an affair.” However, Goldstone has continued. In a video on her website, she elaborates on her thesis that Fersen slept with and impregnated the queen, clinching her case with the assertion that he will need to have accomplished so as a result of “consultants” have decided that Louis XVI was autistic. By “consultants,” Goldstone apparently means one Dr. Linda Grey, a “famous developmental pediatrician” in New Haven, Conn., whom, she writes in her ebook, she “contacted … about Louis’s conduct with out figuring out him.” “The kid you describe,” Goldstone quotes Grey as responding, “checks each field for autism spectrum dysfunction.” If right, this speculation would maybe clarify a lot concerning the character of the shy and self-conscious French king. It could not, nonetheless, show that he was unable or unwilling to procreate together with his spouse. In any case, Grey’s phrases can not pretty be termed a prognosis, provided that Louis died in 1793; but to Goldstone, they qualify as compelling historic proof.

Such deceptive statements are notably troubling as a result of they repeat the sample of prurient “faux information” that destroyed Marie Antoinette within the first place. Like Maria Theresa (who needed to struggle a virtually eight-year conflict to uphold her proper to succeed her sonless father because the ruler of the Hapsburg Empire) and Maria Carolina (whom Napoleon Bonaparte is claimed to have grudgingly praised as “the one man within the Kingdom of Naples,” solely to oust her from her throne and ship her into exile), Marie Antoinette lived in a misogynistic political tradition that dealt harshly with highly effective ladies. From the second she arrived at Versailles from her native Austria in 1770, Louis’s 14-year-old bride met with implacable hostility from many high-placed figures at courtroom. A few of her antagonists opposed the Austrian diplomatic alliance that her marriage to Louis was meant to ratify; others, resembling her husband’s brother Provence (later Louis XVIII) and his cousin Chartres (later Philippe-Égalité), hoped that if their kinsman’s marriage failed, they may change into king themselves. To advance their agendas, these adversaries solid her as a blight on the consideration of her husband and of France: an amoral, debauched and lascivious whore. They circulated pamphlets depicting her in orgiastic romps along with her closest feminine pals, her stylist and her husband’s youthful brother, d’Artois (later Charles X), amongst others. Because it occurs, these publications typically known as her kids bastards, however usually named d’Artois, not Fersen, as the daddy.

As soon as the revolution broke out in 1789, opponents of the crown adopted the identical technique, churning out nonetheless extra pornographic leaflets portraying “l’Autrichienne” — actually “the Austrian girl,” but in addition a play on the phrase for a feminine canine — in nonetheless extra X-rated eventualities. This smear marketing campaign reached its apogee, or its nadir, on the trial that condemned her to demise in October 1793, when the prosecutor for the brand new republican authorities accused Marie Antoinette of committing incest with 8-year-old Louis-Charles. To elucidate these “uncommon fees,” Goldstone notes that the prosecution had evidently determined that the queen “needed to stand in on a visceral degree for the corruption and depravity of the monarchy basically. … This was accomplished by constructing on the picture offered” of her within the pamphlets. That is right. If solely Goldstone had introduced the identical acumen to her personal debatable suppositions about Marie Antoinette’s intercourse life.

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