trivial fact #1: Marie Antoinette Ate Indian Food

In the late summer of 1788, three Indian diplomats of the Indian sultan Tippoo Sahib arrived at Versailles, imploring that Louis XVI aid in their endeavor to oust their mutual enemy, the British Empire, from India’s shores. Although the King had to turn them down–the French National Treasury was almost bankrupt–a lavish state visit ensued nonetheless.

Crowds flocked to gaze upon these new visitors, fascinated by their rich silken robes, long white beards and “special armchairs.” Their complexion “a fine light Hindu.” At the Opera, the visitors brought their own chairs and rested their feet upon the edge on the box “to the delight of the public.”

le Gran Trianon

Onlookers had gathered at the Gran Trianon, where men sat cross-legged on the floor, “sifting rice and meat in their hands.” Just like their special armchairs, the Indian envoys brought their own special chefs along. The air filled with the ultramontane aromas of cumin and peppers. Being a good sport, Marie Antoinette did in fact try some of the foreign cuisine before realizing the spices were a bit potent for her European palate. I wonder what shade of crimson her famously pearlescent skin turned…

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About ♔ la dauphiine ♔

Connecticut-based jewelry monger, history buff, Mets fan. On the hum-drum side, call me a lauded poet, novelist and ghost-writer. (That's right, I haunt prose.)
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One Response to trivial fact #1: Marie Antoinette Ate Indian Food

  1. Pingback: Happy New Year in Review. | tiaras and trianon

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