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Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution
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Chapel Royal

Related Materials: Marriage contract with the signatures of Louis XV, the Dauphin Louis-Auguste (who will become Louis XVI), Marie Antoinette, and the brothers and sisters of the Dauphin. Fireworks celebrating the marriage of Louis-Auguste and Marie Antoinette.
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Map of Versailles

The Chapel Royal at Versailles, dedicated to St. Louis (King Louis IX, the Crusader King), features a worship area on the same level of the apartments. This was where Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI attended mass, and was also where Marie Antoinette and the Dauphin Louis XVI were wed in an elaborate ceremony.

Roman Catholic mass was held daily.  The celebrants at these royal services were royally appointed, which was considered a great honor. The king and queen's presence at the service was an important part of protocol; seeing the King and Queen (and being seen by them) was highly anticipated by members of the court.  Members of the public could also crowd  into the chapel in the hopes of a glimpse of their King and Queen.  As one person who managed to squeeze in noted, "very few people listened to the Mass, everyone was busy looking at the King."

Needless to say, it was equally important for the King, whose legitimacy rested in large part on the idea that he was God's representative on earth, to be seen attending the religious service.  This was especially true for Louis XVI, whose predecessor had chosen not to confess his sins for decades in order to continue committing them with a whole string of royal mistresses.  

As  rumors of Marie Antoinette's debauchery began to spread, thanks to her own  actions as well as the Versailles rumor mills that churned out pamphlets attacking  her, her attendance at mass became increasingly important and her absence loudly remarked upon.

The chapel's architecture combines Gothic and Baroque styles. The Chapel Royal’s interior is almost exclusively white, with color only appearing on the marble flooring and painted ceiling.

This stark environment provides a striking backdrop for the Chapel’s breathtaking sculptures, which have Old and New Testament themes. The altar is adorned with dazzling gilded bronze bas-reliefs, featuring a Descent from the Cross at the base and a symbol of God on the top.

Royal Life

EntranceQueen's ChamberKing's ChamberPetit TrianonThe Petit HameauGrand CanalGrand ParkGardensOpera HallHall of MirrorsChapel RoyalThrone RoomKing's Tennis Courts
Explore Versailles Queen's Chamber

King Louis XVI
Read more about King Louis XVI's life.

Life as a Queen
Learn more about the events of Marie Antoinette's life.

Fact or Fiction Quiz