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- "In that moment it was as if I could see straight through Elizabeth's veils, and what I saw was a woman completely free, free of Mama, free of Austria, free of empires and husbands and filled only with her own music and love of God. If people, especially women, knew the secret of Elizabeth, she would be the most envied woman in the Empire, in Europe, in the world!"
- —Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette (November 2, 1755 – October 16, 1793), born as Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna, was the last Queen of France. She was the youngest daughter of Maria Theresa and Francis I, rulers of Austria and Hungary. Marie Antoinette became the Dauphine of France upon marrying Louis Auguste, who later became King of France.
Maria Antonia was born on November 2, 1755 in Vienna, Austria. She was the youngest daughter of Francis I, the Holy Roman Emperor, and Maria Theresa. Maria had sixteen siblings, including Maria Anna, Joseph II, Maria Christina, Maria Elizabeth, Maria Amalia, Leopold II, Maria Josepha, Maria Carolina, Ferdinand, and Maximillian Francis. Three of her siblings died at a young age.
At age nine in 1765, Antonia's father passed away, followed by her elder sister, Josepha in 1767. That same year, her favorite sister Caroline was sent away to marry Ferdinand of Naples.
1769 – 1771
In 1769, Antonia was being prepared for her marriage to Louis Auguste, Dauphin of France. Her lessons ranged from French history and etiquette to learning how to dance and ride a horse in the French style. She received the official marriage proposal, while vacationing at Schönbrunn with her family. Antonia's mother increased all of her lessons in order for her to be ready in six months.
The following winter of 1770, Antonia's dear governess, the Countess Lerchenfeld, and beloved niece, Maria "Titi" Theresa passed away. On April 19, 1770, she married by proxy with her brother, Ferdinand standing in as Louis. Over the next few weeks, Antonia made her way to the Austrian border and eventually Compiègne, where she met her husband for the first time.
At the Palace of Versailles, Antonia, now Marie Antoinette, and Louis performed a second marriage ceremony. Her standing at court was shaky, when it appeared that Louis disliked her. However, they eventually became good friends, vexing the allies of Madame du Barry, the King's mistress. Antoinette refused to speak to du Barry for several months, even with the urging of her advisers. On New Year's Day, Antoinette conceded and simply said, "There are a lot of people today at Versailles."
Upon the death of King Louis XV in 1774, Louis Auguste and Marie Antoinette became King and Queen of France. They had their first child, Marie Thérèse in 1778, followed by Louis Joseph in 1781, Louis Charles in 1785, and Sophie Beatrice in 1786. Their youngest passed away in infancy, while their elder son died of tuberculosis in 1789.
In 1789, the "French people's anger exploded" at the extravagant upper class, marking the beginning of the French Revolution. Antoinette and her family were captured, after a failed escape attempt. In January 1793, Louis Auguste was found guilty and beheaded. Marie Antoinette was beheaded the following October. Their oldest daughter was allowed to go to Austria, but their youngest son died in prison two years later.
In her words, she was regarded as "quite pretty." Marie Antoinette had blue eyes and ash blonde hair, as well as a fair complexion. One of her few physical flaws was her hairline, which her mother thought was too high.
Personality and traits
Marie Antoinette was a happy and content girl, despite some doubts about herself and her situation. She was extremely fun-loving, and took pleasure in simple things, such as sledding and wading in water. Antoinette became confident during her time at Versailles, even describing herself as "resplendent" and "majestic" at times. She also had a soft spot for animals and children.
She had a hard time reading and writing French and her native language, German. Her teacher, Abbé de Vermond instructed her to write in a journal and she improved greatly over the following months.
|(2) Maria Josepha|
|Albert of Saxony||Ferdinand, Duke of Parma||Ferdinand of Naples-Sicily||Beatrice of Modena|
♜ - Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Hungary
♛ - Holy Roman Emperor
♚ - King or Queen of France
^ - Leopold had twelve children total.
Behind the scenes
- Marie Antoinette is the heroine of Kathryn Lasky's Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles.
- In That Fatal Night, Dorothy Wilton visits Madame Tussauds, where she sees a wax figure of Marie Antoinette and Elizabeth I.
- ↑ Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Kathryn Lasky, page 3
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Kathryn Lasky, The Habsburg-Bourbon Family Tree, pages 220-222
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Kathryn Lasky, page 10
- ↑ Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Kathryn Lasky, pages 48-49
- ↑ http://www.biography.com/people/marie-antoinette-9398996