Marie Antoinette (/ˌæntwəˈnɛt, ˌɒ̃t-/, French: [maʁi ɑ̃twanɛt] (listen); born Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna; 2 November 1755 – 16 October 1793) was the last queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an archduchess of Austria and was the penultimate child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis 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 10 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, harboring sympathies for France’s perceived enemies—particularly her native Austria—and her children of being illegitimate. 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 10 August 1792, the attack on the Tuileries forced the royal family to take refuge at the Assembly, and they were imprisoned in the Temple Prison on 13 August. On 21 September 1792, the monarchy was abolished. Louis XVI was executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793. Marie Antoinette’s trial began on 14 October 1793, and two days later she was convicted by the Revolutionary Tribunal of high treason and executed, also by guillotine, on the Place de la Révolution.