But Marie-Antoinette, snatched away from her motherland, despised French etiquette, which was very strict towards the Royalty. An army of courtiers was to follow Louis and Marie-Antoinette around all day-long; they would silently watch the royal couple enjoying its daily course lunch. To cap it off, the gauche and shy Louis did not really insist on matrimonial duty, which added to Marie-Antoinette infinite boredom.
Fortunately for her, she could break her royal monotony among her ladies-in-waiting, especially the Princess of Lamballe, her favorite. With their support, the year-old Queen designed herself a life out of the narrow setting of the French monarchy. She ordered fancy furniture and took care over her appearance.
No longer wearing heavy gowns followed by long trains, Marie-Antoinette innovated with lighter, taffeta-made dresses; to guarantee her independence, she claimed freedom of movement.
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At nighttime, the Queen would desert the sleepy Palace of Versailles to attend a masked ball, incognito in the busy streets of Paris, or simply flee the royal protocol at her private domain, Le Petit Trianon, that King Louis XVI gave to his spouse in Her own mother castigated her appearance. Her brother dispensed her — embarrassing — matrimonial advice: after seven years of life together, the royal couple had not successfully given the French crown an heir, and it had become a critical government matter.
Plus, Marie-Antoinette spent heavily on dresses, buildings, jewels, while the population starved to death. Her romantic relationship with the Swedish nobleman Axel von Fersen, confirmed by dozens of impassioned letters, turned the Queen into an endless tabloid copy. Marie-Antoinette was young and carefree; she did neither notice acerbic lampoons passed from hand to hand, nor popular discontent caused by her fancies.
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The kingdom, burdened with debt, faced growing risks. The people took up arms. The Queen represented everything that went wrong with the monarchy: luxury, indecency and indifference. Was the Austrian woman true to the picture? The storming of the Bastille, although not as symbolic as the romantic imagery suggests — only seven people were incarcerated there at the time — was an alarm signal for the royal family.
The royal guard had been slaughtered by an out-of-control Parisian mob. Courtiers worrying about their survival fled Versailles for neighboring, less-risky areas. In this time of insurrection and popular rebellion, the behavior of Marie-Antoinette changed dramatically. She hardly ever found sleep; her family was not safe. Marie's son who was in line to become Louis XVI died here of tuberculosis in However, Marie Antoinette was moved to the Conciergerie prison, where over a thousand other prisoners were already held. After the Revolution, French rulers including Napoleon made the Palais des Tuileries their primary place of residence.
Perhaps it was this association that caused rioters to burn down the palace during the Commune uprising in They also burned the Hotel de Ville. The city hall was later rebuilt, but the Palais des Tuileries was torn down and the only memory of it now is the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which served as a kind of triumphal gateway to the palace grounds. Above is an actual photo of the arch and the palace from The Conciergerie, built on the banks of the Seine, has been a royal palace, a palace of justice, and a prison.
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This is where the queen was imprisoned for several months until her death by guillotine. Today you can visit a replica of her prison cell and view some items that belonged to her. Her sister-in-law, Elisabeth, was also imprisoned here before her own execution. The year-old queen and mother was executed on the Place de la Concorde on October 16, Today, there is a plaque in the center of the Place de la Concorde to commemorate the executions. In fact, concorde means peace or harmony and was so-named after the revolutionary period to signal it was now a time for peace.
Born in , Marie Antoinette was the 15th child of the royal Hapsburg family in Austria. Since she was herself royal , she adapted well to the royal life of Versailles, and soon became a fashion trendsetter. She was fond of spending money not only on fashion, but other on frivolities including her fairy tale farm at Versailles where she would pretend to be a country farmer's wife.
The queen's reign and life of leisure would be short-lived. In France, tensions had been building for decades between wealthy noblemen, starving peasants, and a disaffected urban class. After years of poor harvests, coupled with rising taxation and extravagant spending by the royals which started years before Louis XVI and M-A , the blame landed on the current royal family. The revolts would explode into the French Revolution of On the morning of October 16, , Marie Antoinette's executioner entered her prison cell.
Just hours before she had been convicted of treason and sentenced to death. Her hair was sheared to allow for a quick, clean cut. Moments after losing her head the crowd cheered, "Vive la nation! Following the execution, her body was placed in an unmarked grave in the nearby Madeleine cemetery. In a grisly detail, Marie Tussaud was hired to make a death mask from the queen's head.
Marie Antoinette's Paris – In The Footsteps Of History
In , when the royalty was restored and Louis XVIII was on the throne he was essentially placed there by the anti-Napoleon coalition of Prussia, England, and Russia , he ordered the bodies of his older brother, Louis XVI, and Marie Antoinette to be exhumed and given a proper burial in the Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis, where her body lays to this day.
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Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line. The Princesse de Lamballe was not clever.
She was, rather, the sort of young woman whose sensitivity was so excessive that she was said to have fainted in public at the sight of a bunch of violets; she was not particularly amusing either. On the one hand the Dauphine disliked clever women; on the other hand she had not yet discovered the entertaining possibilities of life at Versailles. There was also something that the two women had in common: although their experiences of the male sex were the exact opposite, neither of them had found much happiness there.
In the spring of , Marie Antoinette certainly had need of a sympathetic friend.
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- Below are the stories of 4 of these children that lived with the Queen:.
This was seen by the apprehensive Maria Teresa as a threat on two fronts. These plain appellations, vastly more honorific than more grandiose titles, were generally given to the second son and his wife. The stream of nagging letters from Vienna continued. Some of the criticism was on a petty domestic level. For example, the Empress heard that her daughter was not wearing her corsets, which would certainly ruin her figure.
When Marie Antoinette contended that such corsets were not worn in France, her mother offered to send her Viennese corsets.
When Maria Teresa denounced her daughter for laughing with her younger ladies and making fun of others at the court, she was certainly drawing attention to unwise behaviour. Sins that would be venial in any other girl were far more consequential in the future Queen of France. It was a question of how the passage of the Dauphine from adolescence into maturity was to be handled. Certainly the letter that the Empress wrote to the Dauphine on 8 May was more like a collection of skilfully directed blows with a dagger than a helpful maternal missive.
Why did Marie Antoinette receive her own ambassador so rarely, a man of such qualities, so much esteemed at court? This was her royal destiny: to make herself loved. And how well she had done so far! After this apparent tribute, the Empress proceeded to wield the dagger again. Marie Antoinette must be quite clear about what had helped her to do this.
Otherwise disaster would follow. Without these, she was nothing. It quickly became clear that no offspring was to be expected from the Provence marriage—not now, and probably not ever. Nor was she a quick learner.
Nevertheless the new Comtesse de Provence was anxious to do the right thing. When her Mistress of the Household, the Duchesse de Valentinois, advanced on her with the mandatory pot of rouge, Josephine flinched. Coming from the very different court of Savoy, she found rouge repugnant.
It would take more than a couple of bright red circles on the cheeks to excite the Comte de Provence. At fifteen he was already so fat as to be almost obese. Due to a deformity of the hips he waddled rather than walked, could not ride and took no other exercise. He also ate a great deal. But Provence was quick-witted.
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