France In Revolution 1774 – 1815
Marie Antoinette was born on November 2, 1755, in Vienna
(Austria) the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. She was the eleventh daughter of the Holy Roman emperor Francis I (1708–1765) and the empress Maria Theresa (1717–1780). She mothered 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls.
In 1766, as a way to cement the relatively new alliance between the French and Habsburg thrones, Maria Theresa promised her young daughter’s hand in marriage to the future king Louis XVI of France. Four years later, Marie Antoinette and the dauphin were married by proxy in Vienna. (They were 14 and 15 years old, and they had never met.) . On May 7, 1770, the 14-year-old royal bride was delivered to the French on an island in the middle of the Rhine River, and a grand procession escorted the archduchess to the Palace of Versailles. The day after Marie Antoinette met the 15-year-old future king of France, the two were wed in a lavish palace ceremony May 16, 1770, a lavish second wedding ceremony took place in the royal chapel at Versailles. More than 5,000 guests watched as the two teenagers were married. It was the beginning of Marie Antoinette’s life in the public eye. Dauphin Louis-Auguste was the oldest son of the king of France and became king fours years later in 1774, which made Marie Antoinette the queen.
Life as a public figure was not easy for Marie Antoinette. Her marriage was difficult and, as she had very few official duties, she spent most of her time socializing and indulging her extravagant tastes. The personalities of the two rulers were very different. Louis XVI was withdrawn and emotionless whist Marie Antoinette was happy and careless in her actions and choice of friends. At first the new queen was well liked by the French citizens. She organized elegant dances and gave many gifts and favors to her friends. However, people began to resent her increasingly extravagant ways. Widely circulated newspapers and inexpensive pamphlets poked fun at the queen’s profligate behaviour and spread outlandish, even pornographic rumours about her. Before long, it had become fashionable to blame Marie Antoinette for all of France’s problems. She soon became unpopular in the court and the country, annoying many of the nobles, including the King's brothers. She also bothered French aristocrats, who were upset over a recent alliance with Austria. Austria was long viewed as France's enemy. Among the general French population she became the symbol for the extravagance of the royal family.
Activities such as the "diamond necklace affair," increased her unpopularity and led to a stream of pamphlets and articles against her. The fact that after the birth of her children Marie Antoinette's way of life became more restrained did not alter the popular image of an immoral and extravagant woman.
On October 1, 1789, the queen attended a banquet at Versailles, during which the French Revolution was attacked and insulted. A few days later...