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Marie Antoinette (November 2, 1755 – October 16, 1793) was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an Archduchess of Austria, of the House of Habsburg and was the penultimate child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary, Bohemia, Croatia and Archduchess of Austria and Emperor Franz I.

She became dauphine of France in May 1770 at age 14 upon her marriage to Louis-Auguste, heir apparent to the French throne. On May 1774, her husband ascended the throne as Louis XVI and she became Queen.

Marie Antoinette’s position at court improved when, after eight years of marriage, she started having children. She became increasingly unpopular among the people, however, with the French libelles accusing her of being profligate, promiscuous, allegedly having illegitimate children, and harboring sympathies for France’s perceived enemies—particularly her native Austria.

The false accusations of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace damaged her reputation further. During the Revolution, she became known as Madame Déficit because the country’s financial crisis was blamed on her lavish spending and her opposition to the social and financial reforms of Turgot and Necker.

Several events were linked to Marie Antoinette during the Revolution after the government had placed the royal family under house arrest in the Tuileries Palace in October 1789. The June 1791 attempted flight to Varennes and her role in the War of the First Coalition had disastrous effects on French popular opinion. On August 10, 1792, the attack on the Tuileries Palace forced the royal family to take refuge at the Assembly, and they were imprisoned in the Temple Prison on August 13.

On September 21, 1792, the monarchy was abolished. Louis XVI was executed by guillotine on January 21, 1793. Marie Antoinette’s trial began on October 14, 1793; she was convicted two days later by the Revolutionary Tribunal of high treason and executed, also by guillotine, at the Place de la Révolution.