Marie Antoinette was the youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa, ruler of the Habsburg Empire, and her husband Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor.
61 Facts About Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette's godparents were Joseph I and Mariana Victoria, King and Queen of Portugal; Archduke Joseph and Archduchess Maria Anna acted as proxies for their newborn sister.
Marie Antoinette learned to play the harp, the harpsichord and the flute.
Marie Antoinette sang during the family's evening gatherings, as she was known to have had a beautiful voice.
Marie Antoinette excelled at dancing, had "exquisite" poise, and loved dolls.
Marie Antoinette told her that she would not be traveling to Naples to marry King Ferdinand IV of Naples, to whom she was betrothed, but for the family vault.
Marie Antoinette found her "more intelligent than has been generally supposed," but since "she is rather lazy and extremely frivolous, she is hard to teach".
Marie Antoinette was Louis XV's mistress and had considerable political influence over him.
Marie Antoinette was persuaded by her husband's aunts to refuse to acknowledge du Barry, which some saw as a political blunder that jeopardized Austria's interests at the French court.
Marie Antoinette merely commented to her, "There are a lot of people at Versailles today", but it was enough for Madame du Barry, who was satisfied with this recognition, and the crisis passed.
In spite of her very ample proportions, Marie Antoinette represented and played the role of the queen better than anyone in her court with her grace and demeanor.
Marie Antoinette pleaded with her husband for the French to intercede on behalf of Austria.
The new fashion called for a simpler feminine look, typified first by the rustic robe a la polonaise style and later by the gaulle, a layered muslin dress Marie Antoinette wore in a 1783 Vigee-Le Brun portrait.
Repayment of the French debt remained a difficult problem, further exacerbated by Vergennes and by Marie Antoinette's prodding Louis XVI to involve France in Great Britain's war with its North American colonies.
The result of these two nominations was that Marie Antoinette's influence became paramount in government, and the new ministers rejected any major change to the structure of the old regime.
Marie Antoinette feared that the death of her mother would jeopardise the Franco-Austrian alliance, but her brother, Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, wrote to her that he had no intention of breaking the alliance.
In 1782, after the governess of the royal children, the Princesse de Guemene, went bankrupt and resigned, Marie Antoinette appointed her favourite, the Duchesse de Polignac, to the position.
Marie Antoinette supported some scientific endeavours, encouraging and witnessing the first launch of a Montgolfiere, a hot air balloon for the first time in human history; this extraordinary feat which represented a turning point in human civilization was done by Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier.
Marie Antoinette wanted to be able to own her own property, one that was actually hers, to then have the authority to bequeath it to "whichever of my children I wish," choosing the child she thought could use it rather than it going through patriarchal inheritance laws or whims.
Marie Antoinette was named after the king's aunt, Princess Sophie of France.
Marie Antoinette began to abandon her more carefree activities to become increasingly involved in politics in her role as Queen of France.
Marie Antoinette had profoundly disliked Rohan since the time he had been the French ambassador to Vienna when she was a child.
Marie Antoinette, who had insisted on the arrest of the Cardinal, was dealt a heavy personal blow, as was the monarchy, and despite the fact that the guilty parties were tried and convicted, the affair proved to be extremely damaging to her reputation, which never recovered from it.
Marie Antoinette did not attend the meeting and her absence resulted in accusations that the queen was trying to undermine its purpose.
Marie Antoinette began to institute more cutbacks at court while trying to restore the royal absolute power weakened by parliament.
Marie Antoinette had played a decisive role in the disgrace of the reformer ministers of finance, Turgot, and Jacques Necker.
Marie Antoinette did participate in the King Council, the first queen to do this in over 175 years, and she was making the major decisions behind the scene and in the Royal Council.
Marie Antoinette accepted Necker's proposition to double the representation of the Third Estate in an attempt to check the power of the aristocracy.
Marie Antoinette's role was decisive in urging the king to remain firm and not concede to popular demands for reforms.
Marie Antoinette continued to perform charitable functions and attend religious ceremonies, but dedicated most of her time to her children.
Marie Antoinette played an important political, albeit not public, role between 1789 and 1791 when she had a complex set of relationships with several key actors of the early period of the French Revolution.
Marie Antoinette blamed him for his support of the Revolution and did not regret his resignation in 1790.
Marie Antoinette even went as far as exiling the Duke of Orleans, who was accused by the queen of fomenting trouble.
Marie Antoinette had joined the Third Estate and was not against the monarchy, but wanted to reconcile it with the Revolution.
Marie Antoinette wanted to be a minister and was not immune to corruption.
An agreement was reached turning Mirabeau into one of her political allies: Marie Antoinette promised to pay him 6000 livres per month and one million if he succeeded in his mission to restore the king's authority.
Fersen and Breteuil, who represented her in the courts of Europe, were put in charge of the escape plan, while Marie Antoinette continued her negotiations with some of the moderate leaders of the French Revolution.
Marie Antoinette's health began to deteriorate, thus further reducing her physical activities.
Marie Antoinette continued to hope that the military coalition of European kingdoms would succeed in crushing the Revolution.
Marie Antoinette counted most on the support of her Austrian family.
That summer, the situation was compounded by multiple defeats of the French armies by the Austrians, in part because Marie Antoinette passed on military secrets to them.
At this point, the tide against royal authority intensified in the population and political parties, while Marie Antoinette encouraged the king to veto the new laws voted by the Legislative Assembly in 1792.
Marie Antoinette's head was affixed on a pike and paraded through the city to the Temple for the Queen to see.
Marie Antoinette was prevented from seeing it, but fainted upon learning of it.
Marie Antoinette was found guilty by the Convention, led by the Jacobins who rejected the idea of keeping him as a hostage.
Marie Antoinette still hoped her son Louis-Charles, whom the exiled Comte de Provence, Louis XVI's brother, had recognized as Louis XVI's successor, would one day rule France.
Strict security measures were taken to assure that Marie Antoinette was not able to communicate with the outside world.
Until her removal from the Temple, Marie Antoinette spent hours trying to catch a glimpse of her son, who, within weeks, had been made to turn against her, accusing his mother of wrongdoing.
Marie Antoinette was attended by Rosalie Lamorliere, who took care of her as much as she could.
Marie Antoinette's will was part of the collection of papers of Robespierre found under his bed and was published by Edme-Bonaventure Courtois.
Marie Antoinette wanted to wear a black dress but was forced to wear a plain white dress, white being the colour worn by widowed queens of France.
Marie Antoinette's hair was shorn, her hands bound painfully behind her back and she was put on a rope leash.
Marie Antoinette maintained her composure, despite the insults of the jeering crowd.
Marie Antoinette sat by her in the cart, but she ignored him all the way to the scaffold as he had pledged his allegiance to the republic.
Marie Antoinette Tussaud was employed to make a death mask of her head.
Marie Antoinette's body was thrown into an unmarked grave in the Madeleine cemetery, located close by in rue d'Anjou.
Marie Antoinette quickly suspended protections of reformers and intellectuals in Naples, allowed Neapolitan bishops wide latitude to halt the secularization of the country, and offered succor to the overflowing number of emigres fleeing from revolutionary France, many of whom were granted pensions.
For many revolutionary figures, Marie Antoinette was the symbol of what was wrong with the old regime in France.
Marie Antoinette is known for her taste for fine things, and her commissions from famous craftsmen, such as Jean-Henri Riesener, suggest more about her enduring legacy as a woman of taste and patronage.
Long after her death, Marie Antoinette remains a major historical figure linked with conservatism, the Catholic Church, wealth and fashion.
Marie Antoinette has been the subject of a number of books, films, and other media.