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Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette, Josephe Jeanne, Queen of France, was the fourth daughter of Maria Theresa and the Emperor Francis I. She was born in 1755. and in 1770 was married to Louis, Dauphin of France, who became Louis XVI. four years later. Marie Antoinette was expected to watch over Austrian interests in France, and was carefully tutored by Maria Theresa on that subject, and also on her own conduct. On account of her position in this respect, and of the heedlessness of her life, she had become very unpopular before the Revolution. Though guiltless in the affair of the diamond necklace [Rohan, Caedinal de], the belief in her guilt was widespread, and the company she kept made all appearances tell against the purity of her life. In home politics she procured the dismissal of Turgot, and, though she tried to keep Necker in office in 1781, her friends thwarted his most important measures. The birth of her children raised up bitter enemies to her in Orleans and his party, who did all they could to ruin her in public opinion. Marie Antoinette induced Louis to take the fatal steps of the attempted coup d'etat, which led to the taking of the Bastille, and the still more fatal flight to Varennes. By her, too, he was prevented from giving full confidence to either Mirabeau, or Lafayette, or to the moderate Jacobins. Marie Antoinette was imprisoned with her family in the Temple after the proclamation of the republic in August, 1792, but she was afterwards separated from her children and sent to the Conciergerie. In October, 1793, several months after the death of her husband, she was brought, before the revolutionary tribunal, and was guillotined on the 16th in the flower of her life. [Louis XVI., Mieabeau, etc.]