Marie Antoinette ( /məˈriː æntwəˈnɛt/ or /æntwɑːˈnɛt/; ; baptised Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna (or Maria Antonia Josephina Johanna); 2 November 1755 – 16 October 1793), born an archduchess of Austria, was Dauphine of France from 1770 to 1774 and Queen of France and Navarre from 1774 to 1792. She was the fifteenth and penultimate child of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresa.
In April 1770, on the day of her marriage to Louis-Auguste, Dauphin of France, she became Dauphine of France. Marie Antoinette assumed the title of Queen of France and of Navarre when her husband, Louis XVI of France, ascended the throne upon the death of Louis XV in May 1774. After seven years of marriage, she gave birth to a daughter, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte, the first of four children.
Initially charmed by her personality and beauty, the French people generally came to dislike her, accusing "L'Autrichienne" (meaning the Austrian (woman) in French) of being profligate, promiscuous, and of harboring sympathies for France's enemies, particularly Austria, her country of origin. The Diamond Necklace incident further ruined her reputation. Although she was completely innocent in this affair, she became known as Madame Déficit.
The royal family's flight to Varennes had disastrous effects on French popular opinion, Louis XVI was deposed and the monarchy abolished on 21 September 1792; the royal family was subsequently imprisoned at the Temple Prison. Eight months after her husband's execution, Marie Antoinette was herself tried, convicted by the Convention for treason to the principles of the revolution, and executed by guillotine on 16 October 1793.
Even after her death, Marie Antoinette is often considered to be a part of popular culture and a major historical figure, being the subject of several books, films and other forms of media. Some academics and scholars have deemed her frivolous and superficial, and have attributed the start of the French Revolution to her; however, others have claimed that she was treated unjustly and that views of her should be more sympathetic.
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“Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomythe mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.”
—Voltaire [François Marie Arouet] (16941778)