Best Known For
Marie Antoinette helped provoke the popular unrest that led to the French Revolution and to the overthrow of the monarchy in August 1792.
To escape the politics and gossip of the French court, Marie Antoinette would go to her small house on the grounds of Versailles called the Petit Trianon.
Marie Antoinette found herself caught up in an elaborate scheme to steal an expensive diamond necklace. Though she was not involved in the plot, the Queen of France found herself taking much of the blame.
Marie Antoinette was born in 1755 in Austria and helped provoke the French Revolution. She became a symbol of the excesses of the kingdom. A consort to Louis XVI, she was beheaded after he was in 1793.
Learn about the origins and outcomes of the French Revolution.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
When the king went to bed before midnight, Marie Antoinette's nights of partying and carousing had yet to begin. When she woke up just before noon, he had been at work for hours. When word reached Empress Maria Theresa in 1777 that her daughter and Louis XVI had not yet consummated their marriage, Maria Theresa immediately dispatched her son, Joseph II, Marie Antoinette's older brother,
to France to act as a sort of marriage counselor. Whatever his counsels, they apparently worked. A year later, Marie Antoinette gave birth to a daughter, Marie Therese Charlotte.
Beginning in 1780, Marie Antoinette began spending more and more time at Petit Trianon, her private castle on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, almost always without the king. Around this time the first rumors surfaced about her relationship with Swedish diplomat Count Axel von Fersen. During the 1780s, with the French government sliding into financial turmoil and poor harvests driving up grain prices across the country, Marie Antoinette's fabulously extravagant lifestyle increasingly became the subject of popular ire. Countless pamphlets accused the queen of ignorance, extravagance and adultery, some featuring salacious cartoons and others dubbing her "Madame Deficit."
In 1785, an infamous diamond necklace scandal permanently tarnished the queen's reputation. A thief posing as Marie Antoinette had obtained a 647-diamond necklace and smuggled it to London to be sold off in pieces. Though Marie Antoinette was innocent of any involvement, she was nevertheless guilty in the eyes of the people. Refusing to let public criticism alter her behavior, in 1786, Marie Antoinette began building the Hameau de la Reine, an extravagant retreat near the Petit Trianon in Versailles.
On July 14, 1789, 900 French workers and peasants stormed the Bastille Prison to take arms and ammunition, marking the beginning of the French Revolution. On October 6 of that year, a crowd of 10,000 gathered outside the Palace at Versailles and demanded that the king and queen be brought to Paris. At the Tuileries Palace in Paris, the always indecisive Louis XVI acted almost paralyzed, and Marie Antoinette immediately stepped into his place, meeting with advisors and ambassadors and dispatching urgent letters to other European rulers, begging them to help save France's monarchy.
In a plot hatched primarily by Marie Antoinette and her lover, Count Axel von Fersen, the royal family attempted to escape France in June 1791, but they were captured and returned to Paris. In September of that year, King Louis XVI agreed to uphold a new constitution drafted by the Constituent National Assembly in return for keeping at least his symbolic power.
However, in the summer of 1792, with France at war with Austria and Prussia, the increasingly powerful radical Jacobin leader Maximilien de Robespierre called for the removal of the king. In September, 1792, after a month of terrible massacres in Paris, the National Convention abolished the monarchy, declared the establishment of a French Republic, and arrested the king and queen.
profile name: Marie Antoinette profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Whether by sword, axe or guillotine, death by beheading was historically considered the most humane form of death sentence—as long as the executioner was swift, strong and good at hitting his mark. While the practice was never legally supported in the United States, we do give the method a nod in this country whenever we use the term "capital punishment"; the word "capital" is derived from the Latin "capitalis," which translates to "of the head." Here are some of the most famous victims of this gruesome form of execution.
Beheaded 14 people in this group
Famous Scorpios 554 people in this group
They are the famous women who were born into royalty, or found their way to it by marriage, and grew up to be the ecelectic empresses who have inspired countless stories, books, plays and films. As Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, a celebration of her 60 years on the throne, the queens who have long been admired—some for thousands of years—for their grace, public charm, dedication to philanthropy, finesse and fashion sense, come back into the spotlight. Explore the lives of notable queens such as Cleopatra VII, Queen Rania and Anna Ivanovna, from the time they were crowned, to their tragedies and milestones as rulers and consorts.
Famous Queens 31 people in this group