Marie Antoinette Biography

Marie Antoinette was the Queen of France and Navarre from 1774 to 1792. who played a major role in provoking the French Revolution. This biography of Marie Antoinette provides detailed information about her childhood and life

Quick Facts

Nationality: Austrian, French

Birth Date: November 2, 1755

Died At Age: 37

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Born in: Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria

father: Francis I

mother: Maria Theresa

siblings: Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, Maria Carolina of Austria, Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor, Maria Christina, Duchess of Teschen, Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria, Archduke Maximilian Franz of Austria, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este, Duke of Breisgau, Archduchess Maria Elisabeth of Austria, Archduchess Maria Josepha of Austria, Archduchess Maria Anna, Archduchess Maria Johanna Gabriela of Austria, Archduke Charles Joseph of Austria, Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria

Spouse/Partner: Louis XVI of France (m. 1770–1793)

children: Marie Thérèse of France, Louis XVII of France, Louis Joseph, Dauphin of France, Princess Sophie Hélène Béatrice of France

religion: Roman Catholic

Died on: October 16, 1793

place of death: Place de la Révolution, Paris, France

Cause of Death: Execution

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Marie Antoinette was the Queen of France and Navarre from 1774 to 1792. She is considered a major historic figure and is said to have been the biggest force in provoking the French Revolution. Born as the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresa, she was married to Louis-Auguste who ascended the throne as Louis XVI of France in 1774. Marie, who became the Dauphine of France upon her marriage was conferred the title of Queen of France and Navarre when her husband became the king. When she was newly married into the royal household, the French people adored her for her beauty and charms. However the general public sentiments towards her began to change when she was suspected of harboring sympathies for France’s enemies and for her utter lack of concern for the common people’s welfare. The public’s outrage at the queen increased at her extravagance and ignorance which ultimately led to the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. The French common public was demanding that the monarchy be brought down and that the unpopular king and his equally hated wife be brought to Paris for trial. After monarchy was overthrown, both the king and the queen were sentenced to death and executed at the guillotine within months after each other.

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Marie Antoinette
Childhood & Early Life
  • She was born as Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna in Austria as the 15th child of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa.
  • As an 18th century aristocratic girl she was trained in dance, music and appearance. She was taught Italian, French and German, the languages the imperial family was fluent in. She was also tutored in music and could play the harpsichord, spinet and clavichord. She was a skilled dancer in her youth and was appreciated for her grace.
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Later Years
  • ‘The Seven Years’ War involving most of the great powers of Europe ended in 1763, and the relations between Austria and France were fragile at that time. The Austrian Empress Maria Theresa proposed a matrimonial alliance between her daughter Marie Antoinette and Louis Auguste, the heir to the French throne, in order to cement relations between the two nations.
  • The couple was married in a lavish wedding ceremony on 16th May 1770 as more than 5,000 guests watched. Both the bride and the groom were just teenagers at the time of their wedding. Though it was customary for the royal couples to consummate their marriage on the wedding night itself, the couple did not consummate their wedding for the next seven years.
  • Marie Antoinette was given the title of Dauphine of France upon her marriage. Initially she was much loved by the French public for youthful charms. She was delicately built, with fair skin, blonde hair and beautiful eyes, and captivated the people with her angelic beauty.
  • The King Louis XV passed away in 1774 and Louis Auguste succeeded him to the French throne as Louis XVI. The king and the queen had a difficult relationship and personality clashes were frequent. In order to distract herself from her troublesome marriage the queen indulged herself in partying and gambling.
  • Due to marital discord she had several affairs for which she was scorned upon. She was also a lavish spender and did not control her extravagances even when France was going through a period of financial turmoil.
  • The French public, which once adored her was now unrestricted in their display of hatred towards her. She was nicknamed ‘Madame Deficit’ and pamphlets accusing the queen of adultery, ignorance and extravagance were printed and circulated.
  • An incident in 1785 tarnished her imaged forever. A thief disguised as the queen obtained an expensive diamond necklace and smuggled it to London. Although the real queen was innocent, the public viewed her as guilty.
  • The worsening living conditions of the common people in France convinced them that the monarchy was responsible for their problems. Revolts were held throughout the country demanding that the monarchy be brought down.
  • July 14, 1789 marked the beginning of the French Revolution. Public emotions ran high as thousands demanded that the king and queen be brought to Paris. The incompetent king became seized with terror while the queen made futile attempts to save the monarchy.
  • The French monarchy was abolished by the National Convention in 1792 and the royal couple was arrested. Louis was tried by the Convention which found him guilty and sentenced him to death. He was executed at the guillotine on 21 January 1793.
  • Marie Antoinette was also tried for several charges including theft and treason. She was also wrongly accused of sexually abusing her own son. She too was sentenced to death and was executed at the guillotine on 16 October, 1793.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • She was married to Louis Auguste, the heir to the French throne in 1770 when she was just 14 years old. The marriage was not a happy one. She was rumored to have taken many lovers to compensate for her unsatisfactory married life. She had four children—their parentage was a topic of debate.
  • After the fall of monarchy in France, she was tried on several charges and found guilty. She was sentenced to death and was beheaded on 16 October 1793 when she was 38 years old.
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Trivia
  • Marie Antoinette was the woman who played the biggest role in instigating the French Revolution. She was the last queen of France who though initially liked by her subjects fell to disgrace with her lavish spending and extravagance. She was famously cited as asking the people to eat cake when informed about the shortage of bread.
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How To Cite

Article Title
- Marie Antoinette Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/marie-antoinette-2257.php
Last Updated
- July 24, 2017

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Marie Antoinette