16 May: Marie Antoinette’s Wedding

The future Queen of France was accompanied by 57 carriages, 117 footmen and 376 horses on her journey from Austria to Versailles – but remarkably took only three hours to do her hair and makeup when she tied the knot with Louis-Auguste on 16th May, 1770.

Only 15 at the time, Louis was perceived – even by his closest friends and family – to be timid, unforthcoming and bookish. In a further bad omen, their wedding firework display was postponed due to a storm – and when it finally happened, there was a massive riot that resulted in the crowds being trampled to death. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Arion replay the ‘bedding ceremony’ in excruciating detail; explain exactly what went wrong between the sheets; and consider whether the roots of MArie Antoinette’s legendary profligacy can be traced back to her wedding day… 

CONTENT WARNING: Graphic description of sexual intercourse. (Albeit one written in the 1770s, by a Roman Emperor. But, still: you *probably* won’t want to listen along with the kids.)

Further Reading:

• ‘Marriage of the Dauphin Louis and Marie-Antoinette’ (Palace of Versailles): https://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/history/key-dates/marriage-dauphin-louis-and-marie-antoinette

• ‘French dauphin, Louis, marries Marie Antoinette’ (HISTORY, 2010):


• ‘“Marie Antoinette”: Wedding scene’ (Sony Pictures, 2006):