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Marie-Antoinette (1755–93)

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Queen of France, (1774–92). Daughter of Francis I and Maria-Theresa of Austria, she was married in 1770 to the future louis xvi as part of diplomatic moves to strengthen anti-British ties between France and the habsburg empire . Her initial popularity rapidly waned, partly because of her Austrian background, but also because of her extravagances, and her failure to bear an heir to the throne quickly. With the outbreak of the french revolution of 1789 she was further tainted by her reactionary meddling. She helped to organize the ill-fated flight to varennes . Popular hostility was heightened after the French declaration of war against Austria in April 1792, and she was lucky to escape unharmed from the attack on the Tuileries in the summer. She was then imprisoned with the rest of the royal family, before being put on trial and executed in October 1793. The principal charge of treason was unanswerable for she had informed the Austrians of French military dispositions. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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