Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Marie Antoinette's Schedule in 1770

Extract of Letter from Marie Antoinette to Maria Theresa
Choisy, 12 July 1770

"Your Majesty is kind enough to take an interest in me and you even want to know how I spend my days. I will tell you, therefore, that I get up at ten, or at nine, or at nine-thirty, and that, having been dressed, I say my morning prayers; then I breakfast and then go to my aunts, where I usually find the King. That goes on until ten-thirty; after that, at eleven, I go to have my hair dressed.

At twelve they call in the chamber, and then anyone can come in as long as they belong to the Court. I put on my rouge and wash my hands in front of everyone; then the men leave and the ladies stay and I dress in front of them. At noon, we have Mass. If the King is at Versailles, I accompany him, my husband, and my aunts to the Mass; if he's away, I go along with M. le Dauphin, but always at the same time. After Mass we have dinner together in public, but it is over by one-thirty because we both eat very quickly.

From there I go to M. le Dauphin's apartment and, if he's busy, I come back to mine, I read, write, or work since I am embroidering a waistcoat for the King which hasn't progressed much, but I hope that with God's grace, it will be finished in a few years. At three I go back to my aunts', whom the King visits at that time; at four the abbe comes to see me, at five, everyday, I have a singing or harpsichord teacher until six.

At six-thirty, I almost always go to my aunts' when I do not go for a walk; you must know that my husband almost always accompanies me to my aunts'. At seven we sit down to cards until nine, but when the weather is nice, I go for a walk, and then the card playing takes place not in my apartment but in my aunts'. At nine we have supper, and when the King is away, my aunts come and have supper with us, but when the King is there, we go to their apartments after supper and wait for him; he usually comes at ten forty-five, but, while waiting for him, I lie down on a large sofa and sleep until he arrives; if he's away, we go to bed by eleven. That is out whole day. As for what we do on Sundays and holidays, I will keep it for another time."

Source: "Secrets of Marie Antoinette" by Olivier Bernier, published by Doubleday (New York, 1985) pages 40-41

Marie Antoinette's Daily Schedule In Summary:

9-1030 am Wakeup, get dressed in an informal gown, say morning prayers, eat light breakfast, and go to aunts room

11 am Have hair dressed
1130 am Toilette in presence of the court

12 noon Mass

1230-130 Dinner with M. Le Dauphin in public
130-3 pm Embroidery, reading, writing

3 pm Visit with aunts, where the King visits
4 pm Visit with abbe de Vermond
5 pm Music lesson with vocal or harpsichord teacher

630 pm Walk or visit with aunts
7 pm Card playing
9 pm Supper
11 pm To bed