Random House, Inc. An utterly riveting and intensely moving book by one of the world’s finest biographers.
Never before has the life of Marie Antoinette been told so intimately and with such authority. The eighteenth-century French queen whose excesses became legend, Marie Antoinette was blamed for instigating the French Revolution. In this lavishly illustrated biography, best-selling author Antonia Fraser portrays a woman whose journey from palace to guillotine was doomed by her innocence and the manipulations of the ancien régime.
Antonia Fraser takes us behind the scenes to tell the story of the fourteen-year-old Archduchess of Austria’s arrival at the French court of Versailles, betrothed to the future King Louis XVI. Hostage to her mother Empress Maria Theresa’s foreign policy, Marie Antoinette was immediately accused of political interference by the French, yet she was not interested in state affairs, preferring to play a gracious, philanthropic role, patronizing the arts, especially music.
Fraser weaves a richly detailed account of Marie Antoinette’s journey from an innocent, unsophisticated young girl into a magnificently courageous woman who, in the last days of the ancien régime, defied her enemies at her trial with consummate intelligence, arousing the admiration of even the most hostile revolutionaries.
Brilliantly written, Marie Antoinette is a work of impeccable scholarship. Drawing on a wealth of letters and other archival materials, Antonia Fraser successfully avoids the hagiography of some of the French queen’s admirers and the misogyny of many of her critics.