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    One of the more popular French expressions is rather British.

    Order of the Garter

    The Order of the Garter is the most senior and the oldest British Order of Chivalry and was founded by Edward III in 1348.

    The origin of the emblem of the Order, a blue garter, is obscure. It is said to have been inspired by an incident which took place whilst the King danced with Joan, Countess of Salisbury. The Countess's garter fell to the floor and after the King retrieved it he tied it to his own leg. Those watching this were apparently amused, but the King admonished them saying, 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' (Shame on him who thinks this evil). This then became the motto of the Order. Modern scholars think it is more likely that the Order was inspired by the strap used to attach pieces of armour, and that the motto could well have referred to critics of Edward's claim to the throne of France.

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    Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.

    Let them eat cake.

    I don't think I would translate brioche as "cake". One dictionary translates it as "buns".

    It appears that it was Marie Thérèse, not Marie Antoinette, who greeted news that the people lacked bread with qu'ils mangent de la brioche. (The phrase was cited in Rousseau's Confessions, published when Marie Antoinette was thirteen years old and still living in Austria.) This story appears in print in Confessions (the 6th book), by Jean Jacques Rousseau, which was written two to three years before 1770.

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Last modified: April 01, 2002