Marie Antoinette came to France as a child-bride from Austria, France's traditional enemy, but the hatred she aroused seems out of proportion to her faults as an inexperienced girl presiding over the most splendid court in Europe. It was not the sansculottes who first accused her of every vice; the slanders originated among the nobility. Most persistent was that she said of the starving peasantry, 'let them eat cake1. Since the French Revolution she has been seen as foolish, immoral and devious, a meddler in politics manipulating her incompetent husband, Louis XVI. Yet Desmond Seward finds a different Marie Antoinette: a strong, devotedly maternal woman, forced to intrigue as best she could to save the monarchy for her son. This biography tells the gripping drama of Marie Antoinette's life, from the happy early years at the Petit Trianon to the terror of her imprisonment with her family, and the dignity with which she faced death.
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