trivia #4 Marie Antoinette was near-sighted, needed braces

Your Toothless Blog Hostess

Yeah, a week ago Monday, our three remaining wisdom teeth were wrested from my jaw and your Blog Hostess did not receive the memo on pain duration. Hint: it’s f–ing long for minor surgery the dolor is anything but. We’ve been drowning in this dolorous haze for going on ten days. It’s the kind of constant sharp throbbing that keeps you awake at night. Insomnia, our old friend, is back. Just like any shitty houseguest, Lord knows how long he plans to stick around.

Sleepless means senseless if you’re la Dauphiine–though it doesn’t preclude us from delerious hilarity. A telethon of aches doesn’t help the creativity, alas. The past week and a half have yeilded much Internet shopping and general drooling. We beg forgiveness. Oh and then there’s baseball. Watching the Royals edge the Pirates didn’t help the dental distress. Didn’t write any blog post either. Stupid Royals.

so yeah distracted, drooling, disdentalated…

We don’t think that’s a word either.

So brace yourselves for an old-fashioned “blast from the past” post. When this one was originally posted, about 99% of you darlings had yet to join court. Entirely our fault. We all know your Toothless Hostess’ hapless style of self-promotion. Most of you found this place by accident. Or using the Force. Good for you! As a reward, indulge yourselves with ‘Trivia ‘Toinette #4. It’s thematic to my wisdom whining.

marie antoinette wore braces, glasses and wasn’t the sharpest knife

marie antoinette, 1768

Time to hit the books, Antoine. No, the piano is not a desk.

By the time the ink had dried on the marriage arrangement with the House of Bourbon, Marie Teresa decided her youngest daughter, “Antoine” needed an overhaul prior to her exodus to Versailles. Correcting the archduchess’ faults was no walk in the Schoburnn for the Austrian Empress.

It was suddenly brought to (the future) Marie Antoinette’s mother that the young Archduchess “hardly knew how to read and write in the three languages in use at the Viennese court”. This included her native German. Seriously?

The French sent the Abbé de Vermond to the Hofburg to tutor the future Dauphine in French language and history. He had less than flattering commentary in regard to Antoine’s attention-span. That should not be mentioned was Antoine’s near-imbecile status was Marie Theresa’s fault. Yep. We’re goin’ Freudian. It was the Empress herself who dismissed the youngest as having no value in the Empress’ political chess-game of marital alliances across Europe. Those archdukes & archduchesses valued as rooks and bishops were prodded, eyed vigilantlu on their studies, manners, teeth. As it turns out, our Marie Antoinette was one of the first individuals to suffer that teenage trauma-drama that’s almost a rite of passage nowadays.

The girl’s teeth were aligned like a picket fence after a tornado and a French specialist, Pierre Fauchard, came to Vienna with his brand new inventiFauchard's Bandeau, the first pair of braces ever ca. 1769on to remedy this comely feature. [Dr. Fauchard, however, was not yet advanced enough to fix the classic Hapsburg underbite.] This first use of wires was known as the Fauchard’s Bandeau. Made of precious metal and horseshoe-shaped, it had regular perforations through which golden wires were threaded. In three months her teeth were princess presentable, though it took a platinum bandeau to fix hers. Only 3 months! Shoving the ivories around so quickly must have caused some damage to the madibular areas, n’est-ce pas? We like to play arm-chair orthodontist. Heh.

Marie Antoinette Film, with fans

makes you wonder what they’re staring at…

Not quite as grave as vicimization to the world’s first orthodontic work was the fact that Marie Antoinette was rather near-sighted. This was not as much of a crisis as most of the elegant fans a flutter at court included lorgnettes (think opera glasses) through which she could peer across the salons and ballrooms without having to be a “nerd”. On the upside, Marie Antoinette’s short-sightedness “brought an enchanted, misty glimmer to her large, blue-grey eyes.”

We want our eyes to do that! I wonder if modern opticians craft us a fan as such.

marie antoinette, fan, thigh-highs

I certainly hope the longettes weren’t necessary during Fersen-time








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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4 Responses to trivia #4 Marie Antoinette was near-sighted, needed braces

  1. The more I read about Marie Antoinette, the more sorry I feel for her. In so many instances she seems to have been misunderstood. Good to see you back!


  2. Angelyn says:

    Fersen-time! And speaking of eyes, apparently Madame la Reine’s filled with tears as she gazed upon dear Axel, according to the King of Sweden’s envoy to Paris.


it's not just a love-affair with my own voice

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