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1770: Wedding of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI

1770: Wedding of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ The wedding of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 16 May 1770
  • Before they were married and committed to eternal fidelity, they knew each other for only 6 hours. There was a custom to consume the marriage on the wedding night and it was considered a ceremonial event.

On this day in the royal palace at Versailles, young Marie Antoinette and Dauphin Louis, as the future king of France (“Dauphin” is the title of the French heir to the throne, as Prince of Wales is the title of the British) were married.

Marie Antoinette was only 14 years old, and Louis was not much older, being 15. Before they were married and committed to eternal fidelity they had known each other for only 6 hours.

The wedding was conducted by Archbishop of Reims, Monsignor de la Roche-Aymon (archbishops of Reims were highly respected because their task was the coronation of French kings, which traditionally always took place in Reims, the city of champagne). During the ceremony the archbishop blessed the ring and thirteen gold coins, and then the groom placed the ring on the bride’s hand and gave her the coins.

There was a custom to consume the marriage on the wedding night and it was considered a ceremonial event. The king and courtiers accompanied the young couple to the bedroom. The Archbishop of Reims blessed the bed. The king personally gave his son, the Dauphin, a night shirt and Duchess of Chartres did the same for Marie Antoinette. However, it turned out that the young couple did not consummate the marriage on the first night. It quite tarnished their reputation, and their first child was conceived seven years after the wedding.

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