18th Century Mothers Know Best: Where to Find True Happiness

November 16, 2017

18th Century Mothers Know Best: Where to Find True Happiness

Another bit of advice from Marie Antoinette's mom!

"[a wife] ought to think of nothing but him [husband], to please him and fulfill his will... 

True happiness in this world is to be found in a happy marriage; I speak from experience. Everything depends on the wife; she must be obliging, gentle, and amusing.”  

Maria Theresa 4 May 1770

Maugras, Gaston. 
The Duc De Lauzun and the Court of Marie Antoinette. London: Osgood, McIlvaine & Co., 1896.


More advice from Maria Theresa to her daughter


  1. Funny, my mother told me 'that house work done well will kill you, so it is important one marry's well enough to hire an efficient staff,' it is very advice I think.
    All the very best.

  2. It is true, of course, and sound advice. As long as one person in a pair is willing to be obliging, then the relationship will go well.

  3. Silly and dated advice. I am not impressed. Even ole Queen Vicky from across the channel could probably come up with something less insulting to both man and wife.

  4. This was sound advice for Antoi... and maybe I could learn a little from it too :o)

    But my FAV advice from MT is still the excuses and 'kill em with kindness' approach in the 4th post

    Mother Knows Best Pt 4

  5. Oh, kill them with kindness is rock solid. I'll grant that. I learned it from an older colleague of mine years ago, when I waited tables at the Ground Round. Serving the public requires as much motherly advice as any marriage ever will.

  6. I wonder how far MT practised what she preached. The balance of power between herself and her husband was totally different to the Louis/Antoinette situation as MT was a ruler, not a consort, and I think that made it harder for her to advise MA, she really hadn't been in the same situation.

  7. Back in the "good old days" when women were the property/pets/subs of men, Im sure this was good advice. Nowadays, luckily, women have more options and can live a little for their own sake as well. :)
    I wonder if anyone ever told men to be that obsessed and obedient to their wives.....