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“Let them eat cake” is the most famous quote attributed come Marie-Antoinette, the queen the France during the French Revolution. Together the story goes, it was the queen’s an answer upon being told that her starving peasant subjects had actually no bread. Since cake is an ext expensive than bread, the anecdote has been cited as an example of Marie-Antoinette’s obliviousness come the conditions and also daily lives of plain people. But walk she ever before actually utter those words? more than likely not.

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For one thing, the original French expression that Marie-Antoinette is claimed to have said—“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—doesn’t exactly translate as “Let castle eat cake.” It converts as, well, “Let lock eat brioche.” that course, because brioche is a well-off bread made with eggs and butter, almost as luxurious as cake, it no really readjust the allude of the story. Yet the queen wouldn’t have actually been referring to the type of dessert that English speakers frequently imagine.

More important, though, over there is certain no historical proof that Marie-Antoinette ever before said “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” or anything choose it. So where did the quote come from, and also how did it become associated with Marie-Antoinette?

As the happens, folklore scholars have found comparable tales in various other parts that the world, back the details differ from one version to another. In a tale accumulated in 16th-century Germany, for instance, a noblewoman wonders why the hungry bad don’t merely eat Krosem (a sweet bread). Essentially, story of rulers or aristocrats oblivious to their privileges room popular and also widespread legends.

The very first person to put the certain phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” right into print may have actually been the French theorist Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In publication VI the Rousseau’s Confessions (written around 1767), he relates a version of the story, attributing the quote to “a great princess.” back Marie-Antoinette to be a princess in ~ the time, she to be still a child, so that is unlikely the she was the princess Rousseau had actually in mind.

Since Rousseau’s writings inspired the revolutionaries, it has actually sometimes been an alleged that they choose up ~ above this quote, falsely attributed it come Marie-Antoinette, and spread it as propaganda, together a means to rouse opposition come the monarchy. However, modern researchers are cynical of such claims, having uncovered no evidence of the quote in newspapers, pamphlets, and also other materials published by the revolutionaries.

Amazingly, the faster known resource connecting the quote with the queen was published much more than 50 year after the French Revolution. In an 1843 worry of the newspaper Les Guêpes, the French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr report having uncovered the quote in a “book date 1760,” which that said confirmed that the rumor around Marie-Antoinette to be false. Rumor? choose so many of us, he was probably simply repeating other he had heard.