Marie Antoinette saves a seat for an expecting mother who was visiting Versailles

May 12, 2011

A student from Tours and an expecting relative were visiting Versailles, which was open to all. Marveling, they had already gone through the palace and were now visiting the gardens, when the pregnant lady showed signs of exhaustion. The student looked around for a bench she could sit on, but they were all being used. All of a sudden though, he spotted a bench with only two ladies and space for a third. He ran to it quickly and sat down next to them, saving the spot for his relative.

When the student realized that one of the ladies was the Queen herself, Marie Antoinette, he stood up in dismay, apologizing, and trying to justify his intrusion.

Filled with goodness, the Queen set him at ease, saying: “Look here, go and bring her quickly! I’ll make sure no one takes her place.”

When the expecting mother was about to sit down, the Queen called over a servant and said: “Go to my bedroom, and bring a cushion for this lady,” and then explained her gesture, saying, “Many cares are required when in your condition. This marble bench is too cold for you to sit down on.”

After which, a long and friendly conversation sprung up between one mother and the mother-to-be.

photo by Rachel Ford James


G. Lenotre, Gens de la vieille France (Paris: Pérrin, 1919), p. 84. ( translation.)


Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 74

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