Infamous Queen Consort, Marie Antoinette, born November 2, 1755, is a historical figure most identified with being part of the reason why the French revolted. Unable to crush the French Revolution, the royal family tried to escape to Varennes in 1791 but were quickly caught and returned to Paris. King Louis XVI was executed in January 1793. Antoinette was charged with high treason, incest, conspiracy against the internal and external security of the State, and depletion of the national treasury. She faced the guillotine on 16 October 1793 and her body was buried in an unmarked grave. She was, however, exhumed in 1815 and reburied at the Basilica of St Denis.
From Queen of France to enemy of the state, Marie Antoinette’s rise and fall to fame and historical reverence was swift. Born as Archduchess Marie Antonia on November 2, 1755, at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, Antoinette was the youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa, ruler of the Habsburg Empire, and her husband Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. Her zodiac sign was Scorpio, and she was Austrian.
She is known to have an idyllic childhood and had the renowned musician Mozart as her childhood friend. At age 14, she married the then-Dauphin Louis of France and became the Dauphine. Four years later, the couple ascended to the throne as King and Queen of France and Navarre when her father-in-law died. Antoinette’s reign was marred with numerous scandals, including overindulgence and spending habits, rumors of infidelity, and apathy towards her subjects. The Queen’s inability to produce an heir was of particular chagrin to the people of France. After eight years of barrenness, the Queen’s brother, the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, intervened in the inexperienced royal couple’s marital bed affairs. Their first child was born eight months later, in 1778. Having produced the heir and Dauphin Louis Joseph in 1781, Antoinette still lacked the favor of the French people. The people met her hiring a lowly-born governess for the Royal children with disdain. Her suspected affair with Count Axel von Fersen did not improve her popularity either. She was accused of impropriety (lesbian affairs, among others), defrauding jewelers (the Affair of the Diamond Necklace), and greed (for wanting a residence of her own to endow to any of her children). Furthermore, her overwhelming influence over the King further cemented the opinion of the Queen as a vain, extravagant airhead who needed to be removed from the throne.
Born an Austrian archduchess, her marriage to the future Louis XVI of France makes her the Dauphine of France.
Following her father-in-law’s death, Antoinette’s husband is now King Louis XVI, and she becomes the Queen of France and Navarre.
After eight barren years and finally delivering a healthy girl, Antoinette gives birth to the first Dauphin, Louis.
Decades of declining popularity, an uprising against over expenditure and taxes, and a threat to their lives leads the royal family to flee Paris.
Louis XVI is killed in January 1793, with Antoinette’s turn coming in October following a trial accusing her of an incestuous relationship with her son and high treason.
Why We Love Marie Antoinette
She traveled with her chocolatier
It was well known that the queen loved drinking chocolate. Such was her love for the drink that she brought her personal chocolatier from Vienna when she married her husband.
She was an exhibionist
Long before Kourtney Kardashian did it on live T.V., Antoinette gave birth to her first child in public.
She serves as a warning
Antoinette’s downfall serves as a reminder to modern-day leaders of the power of their citizens. She forgot that her title meant nothing without subjects and treated the people badly. She paid with her life for that mistake.
5 Surprising Facts
She was childhood friends with Mozart
Before they reached historical fame, the two icons were childhood friends.
Her most famous quote is not hers
She never uttered “Let them eat cake” — it was actually said by an unhappy ancestor of her husband years before Antoinette arrived in France.
The U.S. town with her name
Marietta, Ohio, residents can proudly claim that their town was named after Antoinette in 1788.
She was a teen bride
Antoinette married the then-Dauphin of France when she was just 14 years old.
She was sober
You’d think the Queen of extravagance would be guzzling wine, but Antoinette was sober, preferring special imported water and lemonade.
Marie Antoinette FAQs
Where is Marie Antoinette’s head now?
The Queen and her husband are buried with other French royalty at the Basilica of St. Denis, Paris.
What were Marie Antoinette’s last words?
Before being beheaded, Antoinette is believed to have uttered, “I did not do it on purpose.”
Who owns Marie Antoinette’s jewelry?
Two of her diamond bracelets have been hidden from public view in a private royal collection for over two centuries.
Marie Antoinette’s birthday dates