Marie Antoinette


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Marie Antoinette
  

Marie Antoinette has gone down in history as the callous queen of France who said "Let them eat cake!" while the peasants starved. Actually she wasn't that bad. 

She was only 14 when she went to France to marry Louis XVI and from the beginning the people hated her because she was from France's enemy, Austria. If ever anyone was the victim of a bad press, it was Marie. She soon was known by the nicknames "the Austrian Whore" and "Madame Deficit," and was accused of having affairs and spending lavishly. 

She probably did a bit of both but she had her reasons. Not only did everyone at the court hate her, for the first seven years Louis was unable to consummate their marriage due to a physical problem. Alone, young and friendless she looked for comfort where she could find it. When Louis finally had surgery to correct his problem and she was able to have children, she settled down. 

She never said "Let them eat cake" - in fact she helped to feed the poor people of Paris with her own money. Unfortunately it was too late to save her reputation - the French Revolution took everything from her.

First she said goodbye to Louis for the last time; he was executed by the new radical state. Then she saw her son, Louis Charles, torn from her arms; he died in prison later. She finally went to the guillotine herself.

The Guillotine

The French Revolution

The Mystery of Louis XVII

Part of Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite: The French Revolution, a HistoryWiz exhibit

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