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Marie Antoinette refers to a queen that was born in Vienna, Austria on 2nd November 1755. Her mother was called Marie Theresa and she was the 15th child in her family. In full names, she was called Marie Antonia Josepha Joanna. However, people knew her as Marie Antoinette or Maria Antonia. She had a nickname, Madame Deficit. Marie died in October 1793 in Paris France.
During her childhood, Marie had a relatively breezy way of life. She had an 18th century dignified girl’s education. The focus of this education was majorly on moral and doctrinal principles. The focus of the education of her other siblings especially brothers was on academic issues.
Towards the end of the 1763’s seven years war, cementing a friendly association between Austria and France was important. Therefore, Antoinette’s mother, Empress Maria Theresa chose to cement this association via marital connections. At that time, such a practice was acceptable among the illustrious families in Europe. In 1765, French Emperor Louis XV’s son, the grandson of the late Dauphine de France, Louis Auguste became the French throne’s heir at the age of 11 years (Antoinette, 1795).
After some months, Louis XV’s grandson, Louis Auguste and Marie Antoinette were to have a wedding. After pledging to get married, an instructor was sent by Louis XV to train Antoinette in Austria so that she can be a good wife to his grandson. The tutor noticed that Antoinette was knowledgeable than it was expected of her generally.
Nevertheless, the tutor said that Marie was frivolous and lazy. Therefore, training her was not easy. However, this marked the beginning of the journey of the wedding between Marie Antoinette and the prince (Antoinette, 1795).
Marie Antoinette was taken to France while she was 14 years old by 117 foot men, 57 carriages and 376 horses. This indicated the journey to her marriage. She and Louis Auguste got married on 16th May in 1770. Apparently, this was a tender age to initiate a marriage. Therefore, she faced difficulties in performing her new roles as a princess and as a wife.
As a French lady, Marie also had an obligation to perform certain rituals. Some of them did not conform to her beliefs’ system and therefore they were extremely challenging. According to Marie Antoinette’s description, marriage was not easy more so due to the difficulties and challenges that she faced. A princess’ and wife’s responsibilities as well as the high expectations that the society had of her due to her position made matters worse for her. Additionally, cultural diversity as well as the adaptation process posed a paramount challenge to her (Antoinette, 1795).
Auguste Louis took over the throne when Louis XV died in 1774. This made Antoinette the France’s queen at the age of 19 years. Auguste Louis had an introvert nature and he enjoyed lone pleasures. For example, he spent time reading books. Antoinette on the other hand was an outgoing, lively and bold girl. She loved being updated on fashion trends and partying.
Marie’s husband was a workaholic as well. He woke up very early in the morning to assign royal duties. Marie on the other hand would wake up at about noon and this increased their differences. Their marriage had many challenges because the two lived in different worlds. Until that time, their marriage was not consummated and on getting this information, her mother sent Antoinette’s brother, Joseph II to advise and guide them. Consequently, Marie Antoinette agreed to consummate their matrimony. The move bore fruits because in the year that followed, she gave birth to a daughter that was give the name, Marie Theresa Charlotte (Antoinette, 1785).
As observed earlier Marie’s nickname was Madame Deficit. This is because she lived an extravagant lifestyle. It was alleged that she and a Swedish diplomat, Count Axel von Fersen were having an affair. People accused her of ignorance, adultery and extravagance during the 1780s. From 1785, these accusations caused drama with a scandal that defamed her and her prominence completely.
A lady that was masquerading as Antoinette illegally transferred a 647-diamond necklace to London where it was to be sold in small pieces. Marie was not involved in the scandal. However, people considered her liable and squarely responsible for this scandal. However, she did not let this incident to affect her and she therefore moved on with life. She went ahead to establish the Hameau de la Reine in Versailles. The establishment was an extravagant retreat center situated near Petit Tranon (Antoinette, 1795).
Masses’ activities of every day were among Marie’s challenges. This is because she was used as the scapegoat to all problems in some parts due to the extravagant lifestyle that she led. She was blamed for virtually everything by the France peasants. Vicious stories were told about her by the common Parisians.
There was a time when a case of angry peasants was reported and after investigations it was discovered that their anger was due to lack of bread. Marie declared that the peasants be given cake on receiving the information. The statement, “LET THEM EAT CAKE” was believed by the people although she did not utter the words because they hated her. This phrase became very popular henceforth (Antoinette, 1795).
In July 1789, the French revolution started because it was during this month that the peasant and workers in France broke the Bastille prison where they took ammunitions and arms. In October of this year, a crowd went to palace in Versailles where it demanded the transfer of the Queen and the King to Paris. Marie was sufficiently bold at that time. Therefore, she acted quickly on the behalf of the king and met with ambassadors and advisors. She also sent the European rulers letters asking them to visit France and assist in saving the Monarchy.
In the June of 1791, Marie and Axel von Fersen, the alleged lover came up with a plan that would facilitate the disappearance of her dignified family from France. The plot was did not succeed because they were taken back to Paris after a seizure (Antoinette, 1795).
Prussia and Austria were still fighting in 1792. This caused killings in the France capital, Paris and the eventual abolition of the French Monarchy. A French Republic was also declared by the National Convention. The queen and the king were held in the custody. King Louis XVI was put on trial by the French Republic in 1793 and charged with disloyalty.
Upon conviction, he was executed in the guillotine. Marie was also tried and charged with theft, disloyalty, disturbing and false abuse of her son. She was declared guilty and a judgment similar to that of her husband was passed on her. On 16th October 1793, Marie was also executed. She served as the last Queen in France (Antoinette, 1795).
Antoinette, M. (1795). Marie Antoinette Biography, Retrieved on October 7th, 2013 from: http://www.greatkat.com/03/marieantoinette.html