The Italian ‘Training’ of Catherine de Medici : Portraits as Dynastic Narrative
ffolliott, Sheila, "The Italian ‘Training’ of Catherine de Medici : Portraits as Dynastic Narrative", dans The Court Historian, n° 10, 1, dec. 2005.
Early modern royal marriage customarily entailed the exchange of women across national borders. Many future queen consorts left home in their teens to take up residence in a foreign country. Most never saw parents or siblings again and documents occasionally reveal their separation anxiety. Their welcome often involved lavish expense and demonstrations of deference, but remained a double-edged sword because many marriages resulted from treaties concluding wars.
Nowhere is the transition more dramatic than the experience of fifteen-year old Marie Antoinette on her arrival in France for her 1770 marriage to the future Louis XVI. In the words of Dena Goodman : ‘As she crossed the river that marked the boundary of French territory, she was stripped of her ‘Austrian’ clothes and, thus, symbolically, of her attachment to the family and nation of her birth.’ The ritual continued with her reclothing and coifing à la française...