“Let them eat cake” is the most famous quote credited to Marie-Antoinette, the queen of France during the French Revolution. Legend has it, it was the queen’s response after being told that her starving peasant subjects had no bread.
“Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, said to have been spoken in the 17th or 18th century by “a great princess” The French phrase mentions brioche, a bread enriched with butter and eggs, considered a luxury food. The quote is taken to reflect either the princess’s frivolous disregard for the starving peasants or her poor understanding of their plight.
While the phrase is commonly attributed to Marie Antoinette, there are references to it prior to the French Revolution, meaning that it is impossible for the quote to have originated from Antoinette, and it is unlikely it was ever spoken by her.
The “Let them eat cake” story had been floating around for years before 1789. It was first told in a slightly different form about Marie-Thérèse, the Spanish princess who married King Louis XIV in 1660. She allegedly suggested that the French people eat “la croûte de pâté” (or the crust of the pâté). Over the next century, several other 18th-century royals were also blamed for the remark, including two aunts of Louis XVI. Most famously, the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau included the pâté story in his “Confessions” in 1766, attributing the words to “a great princess” (probably Marie-Thérèse). Whoever uttered those unforgettable words, it was almost certainly not Marie-Antoinette, who at the time Rousseau was writing was only 10 years old—three years away from marrying the French prince and eight years from becoming queen.
Amazingly, the earliest known source connecting the quote with the queen was published more than 50 years after the French Revolution. In an 1843 issue of the journal Les Guêpes, the French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr reported having found the quote in a “book dated 1760,” which he said proved that the rumor about Marie-Antoinette was false. Rumor? Like so many of us, he was probably just repeating something he had heard.
Nowadays something like that would be called “the Mandela Effect”
The Mandela effect got its name when Fiona Broome, a self-identified “paranormal consultant,” detailed how she remembered former South African President Nelson Mandela dying in the 1980s in prison (although Mandela lived until 2013).
Broome could describe remembering news coverage of his death and even a speech from his widow about his death. Yet none of it happened.
If Broome’s thoughts occurred in isolation, that would be one factor. However, Broome found that other people thought the exact same as her.
Even though the event never happened, she wasn’t the only one who felt like it did. As a result, the Mandela effect concept was “born.”
Either way. I like cake and that is not a false memory. The picture is courtesy of “Art and Cake” a specialty cake shop workshop in Tongeren, Belgium. Just over the Dutch border.