Marie Antoinette was an Archduchess of Austria and the Queen of France and of Navarre. She was the fifteenth and penultimate child of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and Emperor Francis I.
In April 1770, on the day of her marriage to Louis-Auguste, Dauphin of France, she subsequently became Dauphine of France. Marie Antoinette assumed the title of Queen of France and of Navarre when her husband, Louis XVI of France, ascended the throne upon the death of Louis XV in May 1774. After seven years of marriage, she gave birth to a daughter, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte, the first of four children.
Initially charmed by her personality and beauty, the French people generally came to dislike her, accusing “the Austrian” of being profligate and promiscuous, and of harboring sympathies for France’s enemies, particularly Austria, since Marie Antoinette was, after all, Austrian.
At the height of the French Revolution, Louis XVI was deposed and the monarchy abolished on 10 August 1792; the royal family was subsequently imprisoned at the Temple Prison. Nine months after her husband’s execution, Marie Antoinette was herself tried, convicted of treason, and executed by guillotine on 16 October 1793.
Even after her death, Marie Antoinette is often considered to be a part of popular culture and a major historical figure, being the subject of several books, films and other forms of media. Some academics and scholars have deemed her frivolous and superficial, and have attributed the start of the French Revolution to her; however, others have claimed that she was treated unjustly and should have more sympathetic views towards her.