Portrait of Marie Antoinette painted by Vigée-Lebrun in 1779. Maintained by the Palace of Versailles. Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
I have shown it for years;
think you I shall lose it
at the moment when my sufferings are to end?
Maria Theresa, mother of sixteen children, had the best interests of her country in mind when she selected a husband for her daughter. A meaningful political alliance, not a love match, was most important to the Empress as she determined the future of her youngest girl.
At fifteen - the average age of a high-school sophomore - Marie Antoinette (then called Antoine) left her family’s home in Vienna to solidify an Austro-Hungarian alliance with France (previously longstanding enemies). Within four years, the young foreigner would become queen of her adoptive country.
Had she lived to learn her child’s fate, Antoinette’s mother - the daughter of Charles VI and the only woman to be Empress of the Holy Roman Empire - would surely have regretted her political-marriage decision.
Original Release Date: October, 2006
Updated Quarterly, or as Needed
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