Marie Force Biography & Facts
Marie Antoinette (; French: [maʁi ɑ̃twanɛt] (listen); born Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna; 2 November 1755 – 16 October 1793) was the last queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an archduchess of Austria and was the penultimate child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I. She became dauphine of France in May 1770 at age 14 upon her marriage to Louis-Auguste, heir apparent to the French throne. On 10 May 1774, her husband ascended the throne as Louis XVI and she became queen.
Marie Antoinette's position at court improved when, after eight years of marriage, she started having children. She became increasingly unpopular among the people, however, with the French libelles accusing her of being profligate, promiscuous, harboring sympathies for France's perceived enemies—particularly her native Austria—and her children of being illegitimate. The false accusations of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace damaged her reputation further. During the Revolution, she became known as Madame Déficit because the country's financial crisis was blamed on her lavish spending and her opposition to the social and financial reforms of Turgot and Necker.
Several events were linked to Marie Antoinette during the Revolution after the government had placed the royal family under house arrest in the Tuileries Palace in October 1789. The June 1791 attempted flight to Varennes and her role in the War of the First Coalition had disastrous effects on French popular opinion. On 10 August 1792, the attack on the Tuileries forced the royal family to take refuge at the Assembly, and they were imprisoned in the Temple Prison on 13 August. On 21 September 1792, the monarchy was abolished. Louis XVI was executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793. Marie Antoinette's trial began on 14 October 1793, and two days later she was convicted by the Revolutionary Tribunal of high treason and executed, also by guillotine, on the Place de la Révolution.
Early life (1755–1770)
Maria Antonia was born on 2 November 1755 at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria. She was the youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa, ruler of the Habsburg Empire, and her husband Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. Her godparents were Joseph I and Mariana Victoria, King and Queen of Portugal; Archduke Joseph and Archduchess Maria Anna acted as proxies for their newborn sister. Maria Antonia was born on All Souls Day, a Catholic day of mourning, and during her childhood her birthday was instead celebrated the day before, on All Saint's Day, due to the connotations of the date. Shortly after her birth she was placed under the care of the governess of the imperial children, Countess von Brandeis. Maria Antonia was raised together with her sister, Maria Carolina, who was three years older, and with whom she had a lifelong close relationship. Maria Antonia had a difficult but ultimately loving relationship with her mother, who referred to her as "the little Madame Antoine".
Maria Antonia spent her formative years between the Hofburg Palace and Schönbrunn, the imperial summer residence in Vienna, where on 13 October 1762, when she was seven, she met Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, two months her junior and a child prodigy. Despite the private tutoring she received, the results of her schooling were less than satisfactory. At the age of 10 she could not write correctly in German or in any language commonly used at court, such as French or Italian, and conversations with her were stilted.Under the teaching of Christoph Willibald Gluck, Maria Antonia developed into a good musician. She learned to play the harp, the harpsichord and the flute. She sang during the family's evening gatherings, as she had a beautiful voice. She also excelled at dancing, had "exquisite" poise, and loved dolls.Later in 1768, Mathieu-Jacques de Vermond was dispatched by Louis XV to tutor Marie Antoinette as she became the future wife to Louis XVI. Serving as an educator, Abbe de Vermond found her to be unsatisfactorily educated and lacking in, at the age of 13, important writing skills. Nonetheless, he also complimented her stating "her character, her heart, are excellent." He found her "more intelligent than has been generally supposed," but since "she is rather lazy and extremely frivolous, she is hard to teach."
Dauphine of France (1770–1774)
Following the Seven Years' War and the Diplomatic Revolution of 1756, Empress Maria Theresa decided to end hostilities with her longtime enemy, King Louis XV of France. Their common desire to destroy the ambitions of Prussia and Great Britain and to secure a definitive peace between their respective countries led them to seal their alliance with a marriage: on 7 February 1770, Louis XV formally requested the hand of Maria Antonia for his eldest surviving grandson and heir, Louis-Auguste, duc de Berry and Dauphin of France.
Maria Antonia formally renounced her rights to Habsburg domains, and on 19 April she was married by proxy to the Dauphin of France at the Augustinian Church in Vienna, with her brother Archduke Ferdinand standing in for the Dauphin. On 14 May she met her husband at the edge of the forest of Compiègne. Upon her arrival in France, she adopted the French version of her name: Marie Antoinette. A further ceremonial wedding took place on 16 May 1770 in the Palace of Versailles and, after the festivities, the day ended with the ritual bedding. The couple's longtime failure to consummate the marriage plagued the reputations of both Louis-Auguste and Marie Antoinette for the next seven years.The initial reaction to the marriage between Marie Antoinette and Louis-Auguste was mixed. On the one hand, the Dauphine was beautiful, personable, and well-liked by the common people. Her first official appearance in Paris on 8 June 1773 was a resounding success. On the other hand, those opposed to the alliance with Austria had a difficult relationship with Marie Antoinette, as did others who disliked her for more personal or petty reasons.
Madame du Barry proved a troublesome foe to the new dauphine. She was Louis XV's mistress and had considerable political influence over him. In 1770 she was instrumental in ousting Étienne François, Duc de Choiseul, who had helped orchestrate the Franco-Austrian alliance and Marie Antoinette's marriage, and in exiling his sister, the duchess de Gramont, one of Marie Antoinette's ladies-in-waiting. Marie Antoinette was persuaded by her husband's aunts to refuse to acknowledge du Barry, which some saw as a political blunder that jeopardized Austria's interests at the French court. Marie Antoinette's mother and the Austrian ambassador to France, comte de Mercy-Argenteau, who sent the Empress secret reports on Marie Antoinette's behavior, pressured Marie Antoinette to speak to Madame du Barry, which she grudgingly agreed to do on New Year's Day 1772. She merely commented to her, "There are a lot of people at Versailles today", but i.... Discover the Marie Force popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Marie Force books.