Marie-Antoinette Takes Possession of the Petit Trianon on 6 June, 1774
It was on this day 245 years ago that Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France for hardly a month, took possession of the Petit Trianon. It was a gift from her husband, the freshly proclaimed Louis XVI. She celebrated the event with a housewarming party, the guest list of which included the King, his brothers, the Counts of Provence and Artois, their wives, and his sister Madame Clothilde, soon to become Queen of Sardinia.
The acquisition of the Petit Trianon fulfilled the young queen’s wish to have a private country residence of her own. None of her predecessors had ever had such a thing except in widowhood. To mark the occasion, the King presented her with a symbolic key set with 531 diamonds. To complete her satisfaction, the king also gave her the authority to issue orders in her own name within the domain.
The little palace had been commissioned by Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour in 1763. The marquise didn’t live to see it finished, but Louis XV spent increasing amounts of time there in the final years of his reign, sometimes with Madame du Barry. In fact, it was while staying at the Petit Trianon in April of 1774 that he came down with the small pox that would kill him on 10 May.