Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Marie Antoinette: The Journey

Marie Antoinette was the youngest of fifteen children born to Empress Marie Theresa in 1755. She was married to the Dauphin of France in 1770. She became Queen of France in 1774. Marie Antoinette was ill prepared for her role as Queen. Her education was not closely supervised until it was known she would replace her sister in a marriage contract with the Dauphin. Her reputation came under attack as the country faced internal pressures. Along with the rest of the royal family, her lavish spending was one of the many issues revolutionaries had with the royalty, as the poor in France starved. In 1793, she was put on trial and beheaded by the revolutionaries.

This was a fascinating biography. Knowing that Marie Antoinette's life ends with her head being cut off, did not stop me from being completely engaged in the book. Fraser presents Marie Antoinette as a woman with much more to her than many people realize. She had relationship and political issues that were deeply intertwined, which made it difficult for her to meet everyone's expectations. Upon finishing this book, I have a deeper understanding of, and much more sympathy towards Marie Antoinette.

This was a well researched biography that presented a new side to Marie Antoinette. Most people think of her as a cold hearted person that just lavishly spent all the country's money while the people starved. The famous words "Let them eat cake" are usually the first thing anyone thinks of when her name is mentioned. Fraser shows that Marie Antoinette did not say this. An earlier French princess said this phrase, and anytime people were dissatisfied with a later female ruler, this phrase was applied to them.

I highly recommend this biography if you want to learn more about Marie Antoinette. It was well researched, and presented in a very clear and engaging manner.

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