Honors ¾ (A)
22 February, 2012
Marie Antoinette was born on the 2 of November in 1755. She was the 15th child of the Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa and the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I. The day after her birth, she was baptized Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna. (Fraser 2002) Her godparents were the King of Portugal and his wife. When she born, she was described as “A small, but completely healthy Archduchess.” In her family, she was simply called Antonia. (Fraser 2002)
She had a simple and carefree childhood. She was never lonely, since she never had the chance to be alone, because of her relationship with her older sister, Maria Carolina. They were the two youngest girls, and shared the same governesses. (Cultureandstuff.com 2010) Antonia taught to play the harpsichord, spinet, and clavichord, and the harp. During the family’s musical evenings, she would sing French songs and Italian arias. (Fraser 2002) She was also wonderful at dancing, being carefully trained since a young age. She had great poise and loved dolls by the time she was 13. (Amillionlives.com 2010)
When Marie was 10 years old, her father died of a stroke. By the time she was 12, she was arranged to be married to 14 year old Louis Auguste, who was her second cousin twice removed. Marie Antoinette was officially handed over to her French relations on the 7th of May in 1770. (Infoplease.com 2000) She was stripped of everything she owned; including her dog, her clothes, and anything that she had brought with her and it was all traded for things with a more “French appeal” and “royal like.” Her only communications allowed between her family back in Austria was by letters. (Biography.com 1996) Only royals were allowed into the palace. The ceremonial wedding took place on the 16th of May in 1770 making Marie Antoinette the Queen of France at the age of 15. After seven years of marriage, she gave birth to a daughter, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte, the first of four children. (Biography.com 1996) The fact that it took about 7 seven years to finally get pregnant made Marie be looked down upon by her French people. Her husband was awkward and shy, making it difficult for them to actually be sexually active and produce a child.
Marie Antoinette's first child was born at Versailles on December 19, 1778. She was forced to endure the humiliation of a public birth in front of hundreds of courtiers in her bedroom. (Fraser 2002) After the birth of her child, she fainted from a combination of embarrassment and pain. She refused to have a public birth again. (Chevroncars.com 1997) After having a child, she abandoned her elaborate wigs and refused to buy any more jewels. Later, she was criticized for her simplicity and looking like a shepherdess.
In the 1780s, Marie Antoinette was involved in an incident that has been referred to as, “The Affair of the Diamond Necklace.” (Fraser 2002) In the public’s view she was guilty of a crime and The Affair was one of the reasons that the French people mistrusted the monarchy and led to the French Revolution. (Infoplease.com 2000) The incident began with Marie not wanting to buy a diamond necklace from the Royal Jewelers claiming that the cost was too high. The Comtesse de la Motte, who was an impoverished aristocrat, pretended to be a good friend of the queens and persuaded Louis, telling him that the queen really wanted the necklace. (Fraser 2002) The cardinal paid 2 million livres and the Comtesse collected the necklace from the jewelers and then the Comtesse disappeared with both the money and the jewels. (Fraser 2002) The jewelers then complained to the queen, who told them that she never got the necklace and didn’t even order it. On August 15, 1785, the cardinal was arrested as an accomplice in the scandal and the Comtesse was found and arrested 3 days later. (Fraser 2002)
Marie Antoinette’s youngest daughter died shortly after her first birthday. (Amillionlives.com 2010) Marie was…