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Marie Antoinette

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Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette was Queen Consort of France, and prior to that an Archduchess of Austria. Though she was known for her charm and fashion sense, she became notorious for her extravagent spending, and eventually the common people turned against her, blaming her for much of France's economic trouble. She was executed during the French Revolution in 1793.









Full Name Marie Antonia Josepha Johanna von Habsburg-Lothringen Antoinette
Who Queen Regent of France
Birth Date November 2, 1755
Death Date October 16, 1793
Country France / Austria
Born Vienna, Austria
Died Paris, France
Cause execution - guillotined
Education royal tutors
Father Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Theresa
Spouse Louis XVI of France
Siblings

Maria Anna of Austria

Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor

Maria Christina, Duchess of Teschen

Maria Elisabeth of Austria

Charles Joseph of Austria

Maria Amalia of Austria

Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor

Maria Johanna Gabriella of Austria

Maria Josepha of Austria

Maria Carolina of Austria

Ferdinand, Duke of Breisgau

Maximilian Francis of Austria

Children

Marie Therese of France

Louis Joseph, Dauphin of France

Louis XVII of France


Connections

Antoinette's godparents were Joseph I of Portugal and Mariana Victoria of Spain.

Antoinette was close to her older brother, Joseph II. He visited her many times in France, and was one of her most trusted advisors. However, in the later years of her reign, the common people became suspicious of his numerous visits, and rumors flew about that she was using them to siphon royal funds into a personal account.

Antoinette met Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1762. She was seven, and Mozart was six.

As a child, Antoinette learned music from Christoph Willibald Gluck. Under his teaching, she became a skilled musician, especially with the harp, harpsichord, and flute. She also was a beautiful singer. Later in life, as queen regent of France, Antoinette invited Gluck to her court under her patronage, and Gluck stayed there from 1774 - 1779.

Antoinette was married by proxy to Louis XVI, then the Dauphin of France, in 1770. She did not meet him, however, until one month later, when she traveled to join him in France. They had a lavish ceremonial wedding, but the marriage was not consummated, which would plague both of their reputations for the next seven years. Louis and Antoinette apparently did not have any great chemistry together, and were not close. They made no further moves to attempt to consummate their marriage until seven years later. After this, Antoinette became pregant with her first child.

Antoinette was not liked by one of the most powerful women at court, the king Louis XV's mistress, Jeanne du Barry. Their relationship was strained. After Antoinette's husband Louis XVI took the throne in 1774, du Barry was exiled.

Antoinette first met Yolande de Polastron in 1775, when she became queen regent. The two young women sparked up an instant friendship, and Polastron remained one of Antoinette's closest friends for the rest of her life. She was known as a favorite of the queen, and Antoinette made her governess of the royal children in 1782 - quite a high ranking position. Her promotion was not a popular one at court, as Polastron was not considered of aristocratic birth, and unsuitable. Despite this, Antoinette gave her a thirteen-room royal apartment and paid her extremely well, and also took care of her family.

One of Antoinette's closest friends at court was the Princess Marie Louise of Savoy, who she appointed Superintendent of the Household in 1774.

Axel von Fersen was a close friend of Antoinette's. When he returned to France in 1783, he became a favorite of the queen, and a part of her most intimate society of confidantes. At the very least, the two shared a deep attraction to each other, which seemed to be generally known at court. It has long been speculated that the two were having a long affair. Some historians have even debated over evidence that two of Antoinette's children were quite possibly fathered by Fersen. 

Antoinette was a colleague of Louis Auguste le Tonnelier de Breteuil, and helped him make political advancements at court.

Antoinette was a friend of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, and the two powerful women wrote many letters to each other. Antoinette's English, however, was imperfect.

Antoinette was an admirer of Pierre Beaumarchais, and her support of his play The Marriage of Figaro actually enabled the play to be performed, whereas its subject matter would have otherwise undoubtedly caused it to be banned. Antoinette even gave secret readings of portions of the play at court, and dramatically influenced its success and popularity.

Honore Gabriel Riqueti was an ally at court of Antoinette.

As public opinion reached new lows and presented danger to the royal family, Antoinette and her family fled Paris, disguised as servants, in 1791. Antoine Barnave led a successful mission to recover the royal family and escort them back to the city. Despite his task, he was sympathetic to the family, and protected Antoinette from the jeering crowds. He also made sure that the royal family recieved a fair trial back in the city, and were not charged with any criminal consequences for having fled.

In the midst of the French Revolution, Antoinette's most powerful supporter, her brother Joseph II unfortunately passed away. She then hoped for support from his successor - another of her brothers - Leopold II. In a balance between family and politics, however, Leopold could only agree to support her in limitation. However, shortly afterward, Leopold also died, leaving Antoinette to hope for support from his successor and son, her nephew Francis II. Francis was a conservative, but still reluctantly agreed to attempt to intervene on his aunt's behalf.

Thomas Paine was sympathetic toward Antoinette during her imprisonment, and advocated that she be exiled to America, rather than executed.

Antoinette was painted by many artists, the most prominent of which was Louise Elisabeth Vigee le Brun, a favorite of Antoinette's. She was so pleased with Brun's work, she invited her to stay at court. Over the next few years, Brun painted over thirty works of the royal family. Other artists included Joseph Ducreux.


How Added - She was on a LT list of people's favorite historical figures.

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