by Danielle DiMartino Booth
There never was any cake, just crust.
And the French Marie had nothing to do with it. Rather, a Spanish-born queen married to France’s King Louis XIV a century earlier was the ill-mannered Marie who dared to taunt the peasantry. So how then exactly did, “Let them eat cake!” become so universally associated with Marie-Antoinette? In a nutshell: Blackmail.
Historians have uncovered the nasty truth, and it can be laid squarely at the feet some far from scrupulous London-based thugs, intent on shaking down King Louis XVI with threats to besmirch his young bride’s reputation. According to Simon Burrows of Leeds University, a criminal network, drawn to the French monarchy’s vast wealth, plotted to profit by producing a series of pamphlets filled with lies about the ill-fated queen.