Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia FraserBrilliantly written, a work of impeccable scholarship. An utterly riveting and intensely moving book by one of our finest biographers.
Never before has the life of Marie Antoinette been told so intimately and with such authority as in Antonia Frasers newest work, Marie Antoinette: The Journey. Famously known as the eighteenth-century French queen whose excesses have become legend, Marie Antoinette was blamed for instigating the French Revolution. But the story of her journey begun as a fourteen-year-old sent from Vienna to marry the future Louis XVI to her courageous defense before she was sent to the guillotine reveals a woman of greater complexity and character than we have previously understood. We stand beside Marie Antoinette and witness the drama of her life as she becomes a scapegoat of the Ancien Regime when her faults were minor in comparison to the punishments inflicted on her.
The youngest daughter, fifteenth out of sixteen children, of Austrian empress Maria Teresa and Francis I, Marie Antoinette was sent on a literal journey by her mother from Vienna to Versailles with the expectation that she would further Austrian interests at all times. Yet, Marie Antoinette was by nature far from interested in state affairs and much more inclined to exert a gracious, philanthropic role, patronizing the arts especially music, as royalty would come to behave in the nineteenth century. Despite this the French accused her of political interference and wrote scandalous tracts against her, mocking her lack of sophistication. Meanwhile, longing for a family and the birth of an heir who would have cemented the Franco-Austro alliance, the French queen had to endure more than eight years of public humiliation for her barren marriage before the delivery of her first of four children.
As these problems unfold, Antonia Fraser also weaves a richly detailed account of Marie Antoinettes other, more poignant journey: from the ill-educated and unprepared girl who sought refuge in pleasure as a consolation into a magnificent, courageous woman who defied her enemies at her trial with consummate intelligence, arousing the admiration of even the most hostile revolutionaries.
Brilliantly written, Marie Antoinette is a work of impeccable scholarship. Drawing on a wealth of family letters and other archival materials, Antonia Fraser successfully avoids the hagiography of some the French queens admirers and the misogyny of many of her critics. The result is an utterly riveting and intensely moving book by one of our finest biographers.
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Marie-Antoinette was born on November 2nd, All the royal sisters were called Marie as a sign of devotion to the Virgin Mary, and so the future queen became known by her second name Antonia which became Antoinette in France. She was bought up, like most noble women, to obey her future husband, an oddity given that her mother, Maria Theresa, was a powerful ruler in her own right.
The Birth of Marie Antoinette
Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna, better known as Marie Antoinette, was the last queen of France who helped provoke the popular unrest that led to the French Revolution and to the overthrow of the monarchy in August She became a symbol of the excesses of the monarchy and is often credited with the famous quote "Let them eat cake," although there is no evidence she actually said it. She was 37 years old. She lived a relatively carefree childhood. With the conclusion of the Seven Years' War in , the preservation of a fragile alliance between Austria and France became a priority for Empress Maria Theresa; cementing alliances through matrimonial connections was a common practice among European royal families at the time. His death left the king's year-old grandson, Louis-Auguste, heir to the French throne. In , the king of France, Louis XV, dispatched a tutor to Austria to instruct his grandson's future wife.
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Her rejection of reform provoked unrest, and her policy of court resistance to the progress of the French Revolution finally led to the overthrow of the monarchy in August Marie-Antoinette was queen of France from to and is associated with the decline of the French monarchy. She was only 14 when her parents had her married to the dauphin Louis , grandson of Louis XV of France, for diplomatic purposes. In , when her husband ascended the throne as Louis XVI, she became queen. As queen, Marie-Antoinette was always unpopular.
The young couple soon came to symbolize all of the excesses of the reviled French monarchy, and Marie Antoinette herself became the target of a great deal of vicious gossip. After the outbreak of the French Revolution in , the royal family was forced to live under the supervision of revolutionary authorities. In , the king was executed; then, Marie Antoinette was arrested and tried for trumped-up crimes against the French republic. She was convicted and sent to the guillotine on October 16, Four years later, Marie Antoinette and the dauphin were married by proxy in Vienna. They were 15 and 16 years old, and they had never met.