Marie Antoinette Biography: Her Own Undoing

her hair was piled atop her head often ornamented with jewels or trinkets her face was always made up and she wore the finest gowns and jewelry at only 19 years old she was already a queen and in the tumultuous times in which she lived she soon became a symbol of all that was wrong with French royalty so in the video today let's explore the life of Marie Antoinette the woman who was the face of royal excess during the French Revolution though now inextricably links with France Antoinette wasn't a native of the country descended from the Habsburg liner she was born into royalty in Austria Marie Antoinette entered the world in 1755 she was the daughter of the Empress of Austria and the Holy Roman Emperor like many born into royalty she had a lengthly name maria antonia Josefa johanna growing up she was educated by private tutors her education focused on morality and religion this was typical at the time for an aristocratic females education though she had a private tutor that worked with her Antoinette was no great shakes at academics in fact she could barely read and write her native German much less the French that she also had to study as one of her tutors described she is rather lazy and extremely frivolous she is hard to teach Antoinette had grew up during the Seven Years War she was only eight years old when it ended but the outcome of the conflict quite seriously affected her future you see as the Empress of Austria and Wynette's mother was the political leader at the end of the Seven Years War it was in her best interest to keep an alliance between the French and the Austrians and in the 18th century the best way to forge an alliance was through marriage two years after the war ended when Antoinette was the 10 years old her mother pegged the 11 year old heir to the French crown as her best bet for a son-in-law the necessary arrangements were made and at the age of only fourteen Antoinette was married off into foreign royalty to Louis Auguste Abobo even Marie Antoinette's entry into France's teenager was a spectacular affair a caravan was made up of nearly 60 carriages accompanied by 117 footmen and three hundred and seventy-six horses the destination for this veritable parade was a royal retreat in the forest outside of Paris but they had to make a stop as they approached the border with France Antoinette had to be dressed to look the part of French royalty her hair was powdered her makeup was done and she put on a dress that matched the lavish expectations of the French Court when they arrived Antoinette showed herself to be just a teenager she was impulsive and unable to control her excitement about being in a new place about to meet her soon-to-be husband rushing out of the carriage she dashed up to the King of France and when she curtsied he was charmed but the Kings grandson the future husband of Antoinette did not share his betrothed extroverted personality he did not – up to her on her arrival instead he averted his eyes gave her a quick formal kiss on the cheek and then stayed silence meanwhile Antoinette's and the King chattered away merrily one day after Antoinette met Louis the two were married the May the 16th 1770 wedding ceremony was held in the chapel of the famed Palace of Versailles Antoinette's dress was white and silver an opulent gown decked out in diamonds but there was a major problem with the gown it wasn't the right size for any bride discovering on your wedding day that your dress doesn't fit well it would be a nightmare but imagine being the future Queen with all eyes of the court and the country upon you and she did impress however at least not publicly she was expected to walk down the aisle and take the hands of Louie Bob on in marriage so that's what she did with a shift showing through the back of her dress in between rows of sewn diamonds the ceremony itself was a long mess and the groom had on a dour expression for the entire time then when it came to seal the contract with the signatures of the bride and groom Antoinette dripped her ink on the signature obscuring the name doing so was considered bad luck for the marriage and things well they didn't get any better as the day went on it was traditional in this era for newlyweds to be followed to the bedchamber by a crowd in the case of Antoinette and Louie the crowd included Royal dignitaries and an arch bishop the bishop gave a blessing the crown display and the couple disappeared behind drawn curtains and they undressed but as it would seem the entirety of Europe knew the next day they didn't actually consummate the marriage as was expected of newlyweds and indeed for the next seven years they didn't consummate the marriage to this day there's never been a clear answer to why it took so long for the two to fulfill this marital obligation historians have put forward theories two of those popular theory so that Louis had phimosis a condition the men's sex was painful for him or simply that the two teenagers were just young and confused but it did seem that the whole world knew about the lack of intimacy between the young royals including Antoinette's mother Antoinette and her mother regularly correspondent via letter than their discussions offer a glimpse into Antoinette's early years in the French Court and these reveals that she was very homesick Madame my very dear mother I have not received one of your dear letters without having the tears come to my eyes we actually disliked the French custom of royalty being attended to always I presume my Rouge and wash my hands in front of the whole world she complained to her mother in a letter her mother spent time in her letters admonishing her daughter for her frivolous behaviour at court as well as for not performing her marital obligations in one letter she told Antoinette that in order to be a good wife she needed to lavish more caresses on Louis part of the problem might have been their different schedules and lifestyles though married they lived two very different lives Antoinette was as outgoing and as social as ever that her husband remained quiet avoiding the frivolities of court life that his wife Sarah enjoyed the differences they grated on the marriage Antoinette wrote to her friend my tastes are not the same as the Kings who is only interested in hunting and his metalworking he would often go to bed well before midnight while she was just getting started with her party's late into the night then she'd wake up late morning after had already been up tending to his duties or studies from an early hour eventually Antoinette's brother was sent to France to talk to Louie it's not clear what Antoinette's brother said to Louie but after their chat the couple was finally able to consummate their marriage by the time their marriage was consummated Louie's father had died and the two had been king and queen for three years and at this point she was just 21 years old as Queen Antoinette tastes remained lavish much to her mother's dismay in an almost portentous letter her mother wrote you lead a dissipated life I hope I shall not live to see the disaster that is likely to ensue her hair itself was a mark of her opulence with wigs and ornamentation piled feet at all our heads her hair was so extravagantly done that she could even honey – tiny vases of water in it to keep the ornamental flowers fresh Leonard outine hairdresser became a cultural icon in his own right the women of the court ins of high society in Paris began emulating Antoinette's hairstyles with mourning women even going so far as to ornaments their towers of hair with urns her jewelry was also flashy to have her diamond bracelets were worth as much as an entire mansion in Paris just getting dressed in the morning was literally a production one of Antoinette's maids would hold up a book of fabric samples to help her decide what to wear then she'd put on layers of undergarments including a frame for under her skirt to emphasize her hips a corset of course then layers of fabric and then her dress again her mother did predictably not approve as you know I've always been of the opinion that fashions should be followed in moderation but should never be taken to extremes a beautiful young woman a graceful Queen has no need of such madness on the contrary simplicity of dress is more befitting and more worthy of a queen I love my little Queen and watch everything you do and feel I must not hesitate to draw your attention to this little frivolity the royal couple was living well and showing it off but the people of France weren't sharing in the opulence and not all of the French population was impressed with their new Queens luxurious style in the late 1770s the harvest in France it wasn't going well grain was at a premium prices were skyrocketing and farmers and peasants they were hurting there were literally riots in the street over bread it is during these riots that Antoinette was supposed to have said let them eat cake but she never actually said this that phrase was attributed to her much later in 1843 Antoinette may have never uttered that famously callous phrase but she certainly wasn't sympathetic to the plight of the peasants in fact even as her subjects were suffering she continued spending even more she gambled and she spent money to construct her own private retreat of versailles feet building known as the tryin on already existed antoinette though she needed to make it her own she installed artificial rivers a rotunda and a series of what appeared to be in rustic cottages once inside it became clear they were anything but they were furnished in the typically comfortable style of the wealthy complete with pool tables silk hangings and other ornate wall decor fine china and luxury furniture brought the cost of the retreat to an astounding two million francs beyond the cost of the Decker and the property the trial also caused other problems for Antoinette among her subjects people wondered why a queen would need such a retreat so they jump to conclusions and began spreading rumors and gossip the Queen she was hosting men they set obscene gatherings had to be happening at the Tryon why else would she need a lavish getaway for just herself and her friends one rumor it persisted and that was of Antoinette's affair with the Swedish diplomat axel de frst in 2016 a team of researchers announced their decoded a letter that showed Antoinette and the first ins relationship went beyond just discussing matters of state among the decoded passages is this I will ends this letter but not without telling you my dear and gentle friends that I love you madly and that there is never a moment in which I do not adore you the two had first been introduced in 1774 and saw each other more and more as first in attended more events at the French Court he left Europe for a time to fight in the American Revolution but that didn't dim the feelings between him and Antoinette another letter that survived the centuries has Fersen telling his sister that he could never marry because his one true love was already taken the Queen well she was certainly giving the people of France a great deal to talk about discussions of Antoinette as a traitor's her husbands and about her frivolity with money were spread in pamphlets distributed throughout France drawings and Antoinette accompanied servic words showing her in extravagant dresses this drove great iya towards her and the rest of the royal family as leaking a green were acting as if nothing was different about life the people of France were getting angrier and angrier in 1789 King Louie had sent troops to Visayans Paris and French citizens were starting to worry it might be a move to dissolve the National Assembly in response 900 Frenchmen descended upon Paris and stormed the Bastille prison they stole weapons and ammunition but the event was much more than a stockpiling of weapons it was a symbol of the people being ready to take on the powerful forces of the monarchy the Bastille was a fortress but it was also the prison where political enemies were kept it was a symbol of the monarchies power and by taking it over the people showed just how weak the monarchy could be the storming of the Bastille on July the 14th 1789 is widely considered to be the start of the French Revolution and things were moving pretty fast by October the crowds of revolutionaries had grown to thousands ten thousand French commoners gathered outside Versailles calling for the king and queen to be dragged to Paris among them were thousands of women who had marched miles from Paris and along the way they were joined by men with guns when they showed up outside the royal residence Louis didn't know what to do his first instinct was to escape so he ordered his carriages be prepared but they were no match for the angry crowds the carriages were ruins and Louis and his family remained trapped in the palace they were much safer inside though some of the crowds tried to get it down to Annette's and they nearly succeeded two guards were killed as the crowd forced their way towards their quarters and so net wasn't in the bedroom though she had left earlier and was safe in the dining rooms of Louis quarters soon after troops under the command of Marquis de Lafayette arrived and were able to restore order the feast was not to last though the crowds were able to capture the king and queen and force them back to Paris in a procession led by the heads of their dead bodyguards which were hosted up on pikes throughout the crisis Antoinette was meeting with ambassadors and writing letters to other European officials calling on them to help out the French monarchy Louie meanwhile seems at a loss for how to help then in 1891 aided by the help of her lover de Fersen and not Louis Antoinette's put together a plan to get the royal family out of France and away from the danger of an ever angry at public the plan was to escape to the Netherlands where they could plot a counter-revolution Antoinette's proved herself able to make decisions and plan but when it came time for her to escape her desire for luxury got in the way again a French General had told the Royals that their journey would be much safer if they made it in two small inconspicuous carriages instead Antoinette demanded that they use large carriages that could be outfitted with a full silver dinner service as well as a wine chest also joining the royal family in their luxurious carriage was deverson the plan called for him to leave the royal family a short way into the journey then meet back up with them at their destination he wanted to travel the whole way as part of their group to offer protection but Louis demanded he follow the plan and separate from the group shortly after the first ins departure from the group they ran into trouble a peasant recognized the king and was able to muster up a crowd to attack the carriage they weren't dragged into a house and held captive eventually they were allowed to return to Paris but still were held captive the French assembly allowed Louis to serve as king but he didn't really have any power and Antoinette well she wasn't much in favour of the assembly at all she was actively working against them writing to officials throughout Europe about how terrible she thought the new constitution was she was also pretty clear in how she felt about the members of the assembly themselves describing them as a heap of black guards madmen and beasts during this time Louis had also declared war on Austria things they were falling apart all around Antoinette and they were about to get a whole lot worse in 1792 the French royal family was forced into the medieval temple tower fortress as they were held prisoner the millennium old monarchy of France was dissolved and a new French Republic took its place as all this was going on outside the royal family tried to live a somewhat normal life in prison Louie and Marie tooted their children played chess and played instruments but they were also trying to bring the monarchy back to power and it was this effort that ultimately undid her and Louie the couple had hidden the letters they received from foreign powers in a box inside the prison when the correspondence was discovered Louie was dragged on trial he with ultimately sentenced to death with the revolutionary leader Rose Pierre proclaiming Louie must die so that the country may live Antoinette and their children were able to spend a few final hours with him before he met his fate at the guillotine with 20,000 Frenchmen looking months later Antoinette herself would be the one on the platform after Louie's execution she was brought to a new prison a prison with the dire nickname of deaths antechamber here a sympathetic military officer actually attempted to help her escape when his efforts were uncovered Antoinette was put on trial right away in order to avoid any danger of her escaping she was charged with treason and theft and it was left up to a male jury to decide her fate it only took two days for them to decide that she was guilty and she should be sentenced to death the 37 year old queen made one final trip through the streets of Paris her hair Shawn in preparation for execution she sat sterically in her carriage on the ride to the guillotine platform where she would ultimately meet her face when she arrived at the platform the priest told her to have courage her response courage I have shown it for years thank you I shall lose it at the moments when my sufferings are to end from the moment she was born Marie Antoinette was destined to play a role on the world stage a mother set her up for a powerful marriage a marriage that thrust her into the midst of the French Revolution and made her the ultimate representation of the excesses of royalty she was only alive for 37 years but in that time she certainly left her mark on the world so I really hope you enjoyed the video if you did please hit that thumbs up button below and do not forget to subscribe also we've got a new feature if you would like to vote on who we do here at Baia graphics you can visit our companion site it's called bio graphics org and click on the bio vote in the bar at the top and then you'll be able to suggest people and also vote on existing suggestions so go check that out and as always thank you for watching

35 thoughts on “Marie Antoinette Biography: Her Own Undoing

  1. Hello everyone. We've been experimenting with a bit of a podcast (a few people were asking for audio versions so they can get Biographics while doing other things)! Fair warning: none of these are new biographies, but rather me having a bit more of a free form chat around the script. I'd love to know what you think, if these are useful, wanted etc :). Thanks, Simon.

    Trolled people:

  2. Wow you made a massive blunder of saying 1891 and you couldn't bother to go back and reread it before you post it? Sorry but your credibility now is completely out the window.

    You want people to subscribe to earn you Revenue but you're too lazy and can't take the time to fix the mistake he made instead you let it sit on here for over a year?

  3. She was the victim of a smear campaign by French Freemasons and propagandists. Not only did she never say "Let them eat cake", but she actually cared very much about the poor. Masonic agitation and preexisting debt from Versailles were what brought down the House of Bourbon, not Marie Antoinette. She was as Dreyfus was a century later.

  4. Man you should concentrate more on the French Revolution.. We want a video about Maximilian Robespierre

  5. Why did you show a picture of Elizabeth (Sissi) as her mother instead of Maria Theresia???

  6. 10:31 So this is how people memed in the 18th Century xD. Distributing Pamphlets with drawings and some text. Interesting

  7. A great story of why mother knows best.

    If she listened to her mom, she may of not of become the primary scapegoat for the French Revolution

  8. Woah Woah Woah. Why do you have a picture of Empress Elisabeth "Sisi", instead of Maria Theresa, Marie Antoinette's ACTUAL mother!! Big fail!! As I continue watching, you also show random pictures of men, NOT pictures of Louis XVI. What a terrible documentary!

  9. It's unlikely that she even knew the people were starving. She was part of a horrid system, but she didn't create it, and women were not taught or told anything…not even queens (unless they ruled in their own right).

  10. Queen excesses where used as a way to bring blame on Royalty,it’s no secret that Royals have had rich life,always is the way.She was born into royality,look at the Revolution in Russia,nobody played there any excesses and still people would rage.There always will be people on high positions or lower ones,with more luxury or less and it’s not the reason to kill them.People always find it easier to blame their life misfortunes on others,it’s the human nature…I wonder if one these peasants put into Royal life would still live as peasant…It’s a pure hipocrisia

  11. They shouldn't execute Marie …They could've sent her adrift to another land or back home to her MUM

  12. I suggest Marie Antoinette by F.W. Kenyon its an old old book but I’ve not yet read a work about her that felt so real. And opinions prolly vary on this but I think Kirsten Dunst played a remarkably intense and subtle performance of her in the Sofia Coppola biopic. She played a girl forced to grow up overnight and survive in a cutthroat world that was on its last legs, I recommend that also.

  13. Wow!! So much info in 17 minutes. I feel it was thrust into my brain at lightening speed. I wish my history lessons would have been like this at school, I might have remembered more.

  14. If we can step back a moment. SUGGESTION: Please consider doing a BioGraphic episode on Maria Theresia / Theresa (Mother of Marie Antoinette). If my understanding of her history is correct she had to fight off quite a number of battles all around Austria just, to rule in peace. Her marriage although arranged (I think) was definitely a love match for the young couple.

  15. hello. Can I ask a video about the definition of "democracy" and Ancient Greece?? I really love stoics and that political system… not sure if you understand.

    The importance of stoicism in life. (that would be a great video) and the effects of that over the next generations.

    Ancient Greece would be so much better.


  16. I think they deserved to die. They were King and Queen for a reason , NOT to spend money like crazy while people were starving. Their lifestyle was their choice! If you want to stop spending money on silly things you DO! the parties were her choice!! that costs money!!! Maybe France was way better without them. We should do the same today with politicians. Lots of them deserve to die! I love your videos!!! ❤️

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