Advice from the queen: Cut, then burn the purse strings

It’s Sunday. That means that the former queen of France tells you about the mistakes she made so you won’t make them too.  If you find yourself in need of advice from the former Queen of France, please email whatwouldmarieantoinettedo at gmail dot com.

Madame, my Queen, 

I have a sister who can’t quite keep it together. She’s very lazy and manages to get other people to pay her bills. She lives at home but manages to get my parents to pay for her car insurance and has recently started to use their credit card to shop for elec

tronics and other things she doesn’t need and that my parents can’t afford. It drives me crazy. She’s asked to move in with me to see if she can get a job in my town. I’m worried that she’s just bored and will start to suck me dry as well. What should I do?


Money. That’s something that can throw us all asunder and I know that better than most. People without money depend on people who have it though. In my case, my husband, Louis XVI, paid all my extravagant bills. He was used to it by then.  He’d long paid his brothers’ own 31 million-livre gambling debts. His aunts lived on more than 1 million livres each a year and spent 3 million livres for 6-week spa outings to Vichy. I had no idea about the country’s financial straits and once explained, “Whenever I asked for 50,000 livres, they gave me 100,000.” Louis kept me in the dark about the crown’s finances but should have told me or those like me “no.”  Thousands of livres could have probably been saved just by refusing every other request.

Count yourself lucky: You know how this story will pan out. If she stays, be prepared to support her. It will be thankless and frustrating. She can’t support herself and you can’t teach her. It’s not your job. If you can’t grin and bear this and tell her the truth: that you simply can’t afford it. Tell her what you would need from her to consider her a better roommate. She’ll be angry with you, your parents will be angry with you, but someone needs to tell her the truth. I know I would have appreciated it in my day.

What do you think? Did the Queen get it right? Give us your take in the comments. 


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