The Archduchess Marie Antoinette

Emperor Francis and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria Ruled over a large area  of central Europe . Maria Theresa, who had inherited the throne from her father, was a strong and determined woman. On the night of November 2.1755, she took a break from her reports and other government paperwork when her labor pains grew too strong. In the evening ,she gave birth to Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna . Emperor Francis Announced the Arrival  of his daughter to the members of his royal cour  gathered at their palace in Vienna.

Maria  Antonia joined a household already full of  archdukes and archduchesses —-four brothers and seven sisters. Another brother would be born the following year! It was royal tradition to give all the archduchesses the first name “Maria”. The girls were called by their second names, so Maria Antonia’s parents called her Antonia.

The family spent winters at their place in the heart of the city.In the spring and summer, however, they moved to another enormous palace about five miles away.Decorated with mirrors, painted ceilings and tapestries on the walls, this palace had many rooms for each child .It was surrounded by the gardens and woods of a five-hundred-acre park. There was even a zoo with a camel puma, and rhinoceros.

Even thouth Austria had an emperor and an empress Maria Theresa was the ruler. Her husband , Francis, simply assisted her. Empress Maria Theresa was much too buys to watch her children. so she hired governesses to take care of them and tutors to teach them. As royalty the archdukes and archduchesses  lived a glamorous life. For fun ,they spent hours riding horses and hunting. During the cold Austrian winters ,they rode swan-shaped sleds through the snow.

Antonia spent more time playing on the place grounds than paying  attention to her lesson. She had a beautiful voice and performed in family concerts, singing while her brothers and sisters played the music.

In 1762, when antonia was six years old, a special musician visited the royal family in Vienna. His name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart . Mozart was the same age as  Antonia. Stories say that the little musician lipped on the well-polished floor of the palace. When Antonia helped him up, Mozart declared that he wanted to marry her.

Antoia’s father, the emperor, died in August 1765.Antonia was only nine years old. The empress, now ruling with her oldest son, Joseph, had a new focus. She was determined to arrange good marriages for her daughters.At the time , royal marriages were very important. Royal couples did not marry each other for love.They married to strengthen the bond between two countries so that the countries would support each other, especially during times of war. Maria Theresa especially wanted to marry one of her daughters to Louis Augueste, the future king of France.

Austria And France had a history of conflict. More recently , however , the two countries were at peace. Maria Theresa Thought a marriage between her own family — the Habsburgs–and the French Bourbon family would strengthen the ties between them. Antonia was the best choice for marriage. She was closest in age to the dauphin.

The French agreed to the marriage, so the empress began to prepare ther daughter. She hired a ballet teacher to help Antonia move more gracefully. A Frenchman straightened Antonia’s crooked teeth with wires. A hairdresser from Paris styled her hair in the most modern ways.

France also sent a tutor, Abbe de Vermond , to the imperial palace in 1768. When Vermond met Antonia he observed,” She has most graceful figure; holds herself well; and if .. she grows a little taller. she will possess every good quality one could wish for in a great priness.”

The thirteen-year-old archduchess was certainly charming , with her blue eyes, blond hair, and pink-and-white skin. Yet Vermond soon discovered that she knew very little. Her tutors had let her do whatever she wanted. So Vermond now made Antonia study religion.French literature, French history, and the French  language.

Antonia was growing into a fine young lady, worthy to be the new French princess.


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