Marie Antoinette was the wife of King Louis XVI of France.  She was born in 1755 in France and was the daughter of the Great Emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa of Austria. Because her parents came from two countries at war with each other, their marriage formed a peace treaty.  Marie was very spoiled and grew up with an extravagant lifestyle. She herself became the wife of the next heir to the French throne to further keep the peace. The heir was Louis XVI, who was a very dull and unsociable person.  She was the opposite. She was beautiful, vivacious and bent on pleasure.   She became very insensitive to the plight of poor people.  When she was queen, her spending only aggravated the difficult economic crisis of the country. She didn’t seem to care. A famous story about Marie has to do with a court official coming to her to tell her that the people didn’t have any bread to eat. She laughed and just said, “Let them eat cake, then!”.  Whether or not she really said this, the truth of the matter was that this story portrayed the way she really thought.  She was either completely naive about the problems of the common people, or she thought that they were of no value.

In 1774, Louis XV died, and his son Louis XVI became the true King.  People were dying of starvation and most of the people were blaming it on the Queen Mari Antquonette. On Oct, 5 during the French revolution, thousands of people marched from Paris to Versailles (The Palace) to present their food demands to the king.  They somehow forced the royal family to come with them back to Paris.

After spending months in the Parisian Palace as prisoners, the Queen and King tried to escape to the eastern border.  Unfortunately, they did not make it. They were recognized and forced back. On August 10, 1972, revolutionaries stormed the Palace of Tuileries and killed all of the Swiss Guards.  The Royal family was imprisoned.  On September 22, France was proclaimed a republic and on October 14, Louis XVI was beheaded and on Jan 21, the queen was sentenced to Treason and became a victim to the Guillotine.

Marie Antoinette is very famous, but not for any good deeds.  She is well known for her selfishness and self indulgence. This story shows that even powerful royalty is useless without followers. It shows how the poorest people, with so little power, can overthrow a great monarchy.  Marie Antoinette was the last straw for the people.  Even though she didn’t exactly cause the Revolution, she was a great target for hatred which fanned the fire of revolution.  Even if she wasn’t such an insensitive person, she probably would have been killed anyway, since she represented the authority.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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