Have you ever ordered all of your Disney movies into chronological order?? No? I guess it’s just us then – many hours were once spent as the My Fangirl Life team researched the approximate year each Disney movie would have historically taken place. This led to a number of questions and discoveries.
We have a number of questions when it comes to Beauty and the Beast. Seriously, how did they not know a French Prince was locked up in the nearby castle (a castle which no one seemed to know existed??). To better understand this I’m going to take us back to the 1700’s, because, of course, I’m sure Beauty and the Beast is historically accurate. You see, a very important event began in 1789 – the French Revolution. And I think the events of Beauty and the Beast played a large role in what happened in France in the years that followed.
I think it’s safe to say the Beast was not the Dauphin of France and the heir to the French throne. His name is supposedly Adam and not Louis, which is what everyone in the French royal family was named at this time. This means the Beast must have been a younger brother of the Dauphin – let’s make him the Prince Harry to France’s Will. And similar to the currently British brothers, Adam was a bit of a troublemaker and was sent off to his own castle where he met the Enchantress and the story we know unfolds.
But what happens next is very intriguing. The original Beauty and the Beast fairytale was published in 1757, during the reign of King Louis XV. Was the Beast we know and love King Louis XV’s younger brother? This idea excites me! Louis XV became king when we was only 5 years old and his reign is often remembered as one of stagnation, unrest and a perfect lead up to the French Revolution.
According to our story, during this time the Beast was off in the countryside where he fell in love with Belle, the middle class commoner. I have a feeling the French Monarchy would have pushed this relationship aside. The monarchy was all powerful and destined to rule as absolute divine monarchs. They wouldn’t have wanted a commoner in their ranks. Which unfortunately, I don’t think helped them in the long run. Louis XV died and his son Louis XVI took the throne only to lose his head a few years later. The lower classes were angry and the monarchy was overthrown. If Belle and Prince Adam’s relationship was made public and the monarchy was shown as more human and realistic, then I think this could have been avoided. Why would the lower classes revolt once they’ve seen one of their own ascend the ranks and see their humanity?
Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. Once the French Revolution broke out, the monarchy was going to fall. In 1789, the Beast would have been in his late 70’s (but then there is the whole issue of how he was aging during his beast years) and Belle likely a few years behind. As royals they were almost guaranteed to lose their heads in the early years of the Revolution. However, life expectancy in France in the late 1700’s wasn’t much higher than 30, but the Beast was descended from Louis XIV who lived until he was 72. I don’t know which is worse, Belle and Beast losing their heads in the Revolution or having only 10 or so years together as a result of the low life expectancy.
Either way, I stand by the belief that the French Revolution may have been prevented or at least less dramatic if the French royal family had accepted and embraced Prince Adam and Belle’s relationship. I’ve discovered how we could time travel and prevent the French Revolution. But of course, that’s assuming Beauty and the Beast is historically accurate.
**The one fan account I’ve found dating Beauty and the Beast has it taking place in the 1770’s. I like this date, but it doesn’t fit with the original story. That being said, maybe there’s another solution. Perhaps instead, Adam is Louis XVI’s younger brother. Nothing changes – if Belle and Beast’s relationship was made public at this time the Revolution likely would have happened differently. The events would have been more fresh in people’s minds and things might have worked out better. But unfortunately, they probably still would have lost their heads (and Belle would have been wearing some fantastic Marie Antoinette inspired dresses).
– Justine Alyssa