Let Them Eat Cake is a BBC comedy set mostly in and around the Palace of Versailles in the year 1782. The series follows the intrigues of Colombine, Comtesse de Vache. Regarded as one of the most dangerous women in the court of King Louis XVI she is assisted by her faithful servant, Lisette, in uncovering all the dark secrets of the aristocracy. Meanwhile, her couturier, Bouffant struggles to keep the Comtesse and her Rubenesque figure at the forefront of 18th century French fashion.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Let Them Eat Cake - Let them eat cake - Netflix
“Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu'ils mangent de la brioche”, supposedly spoken by “a great princess” upon learning that the peasants had no bread. Since brioche was a luxury bread enriched with butter and eggs, the quote would reflect the princess's disregard for the peasants, or her poor understanding of their situation. While the phrase is commonly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, there is no record of her having said it. It appears in book six of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Confessions, his autobiography (whose first six books were written in 1765, when Marie Antoinette was nine years of age, and published in 1782). The context of Rousseau's account was his desire to have some bread to accompany some wine he had stolen; however, feeling he was too elegantly dressed to go into an ordinary bakery, he recalled the words of a “great princess”:
At length I remembered the last resort of a great princess who, when told that the peasants had no bread, replied: “Then let them eat brioches.”
Rousseau does not name the “great princess” and he may have invented the anecdote, as Confessions cannot be read as strictly factual.
Let Them Eat Cake - Bibliography - Netflix
Barker, Nancy N., Let Them Eat Cake: The Mythical Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution, Historian, Summer 1993, 55:4:709. Campion-Vincent, Véronique and Shojaei Kawan, Christine, Marie-Antoinette et son célèbre dire : deux scénographies et deux siècles de désordres, trois niveaux de communication et trois modes accusatoires, Annales historiques de la Révolution française, 2002, p. 327