Someone Paid Nearly £40,000 for Marie Antoinette’s Travel Bag
Long live the Queen’s accessories
Marie Antoinette is one of history’s most infamous royals for better or for worse. Held up as a symbol of an out of touch, gluttonous, and extravagant monarch, the last queen of France before the Revolution was often made the scapegoat for a lot of forces that were beyond her control. She may not have said “let them eat cake,” but she was rich and distant at a time when people were starving. Yet she had an appeal to some and fame that’s lasted long after her death—and it has trickled all the way to her accessories.
According to The Guardian, a “travel bag belonging to Marie Antoinette has sold for more than five times its estimate in an auction of royal memorabilia near her one-time home in Versailles.” The leather travel bag featured a studded “Queen’s room number 10” inscription, and it was estimated to be worth between €8,000 and €10,000, but ended up for selling for €43,750 (that’s about $54k).
The Osenat auction house said that there was fierce bidding late on Sunday “both in the room, over the telephone and on the internet” for Marie Antoinette’s belongings. I’m not shocked, because if I was that rich and extravagant, maybe I’d drop a year’s salary on something like that. Maybe? Probably more so if it was a gown.
That was only one of the number of items sold that belonged to the late Austrian-born queen:
The damask serviette, embroidered with the fleur-de-lis insignia and leaf crowns with a bouquet of roses at its centre, went for €14,500. A lock of hair from her husband, Louis XVI, who was also executed, went for €4,000. The couple are still regarded as martyr saints to French monarchists, with the king’s hair kept inside a medallion of rock crystal in the shape of a heart.
Okay, wait … French monarchists are still a thing? You learn something new every day.
I’d recommend anyone who wants to know more about Marie Antoinette should check out the Antonia Fraser biography: Marie Antoinette: The Journey as it is one of the most highly regarded of recent publication and has a fairly balanced view of the royal.
Much cheaper than €43,750
(via The Guardian, image: Columbia Pictures)
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