Marie-Antoinette

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Marie-Antoinette was the born Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Hungary, Bohemia, and Tuscany.

Marie-Antoinette is probably one of the most colorful figures of French history. She is mostly known for her opulent lifestyle in Versailles and for her death through the guillotine, but a few facts from her life make even the most dazzling Hollywood movies look pale by comparison. When Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna was 12 years old, her engagement to the future King Louis XVI was arranged by her parents. She underwent oral surgery without anesthesia to get a smile befitting a queen. During her wedding she was 14 years old. The marriage was a means to an end to burry a feud between the dynasties Habsburg-Lothringen and Bourbon. Initially Marie-Antoinette was just a pawn in the power play of the royal families, but later on she was a proactive political decision maker and a sharp contrast to the indecisive king.

She is mostly known for having said “"Then let them eat cake!” Shortly before the French Revolution the sentence seemed like epitome of the ignorance and decadence of royalty. The thing is: She never said that. The saying appeared when the future Queen was 8 years old and was most likely uttered by her best friend. Moreover, the translation of “brioche” to “cake” as a law at the time stated that bakers were obliged to sell the high-quality brioche for the same price as cheap bread, if they were to run out of the latter.

Despite her pricey life-style Marie-Antoinette was not quite as lavish as expected. To be exact, her economy drove two jewelers to ruin. The jewelers Böhmer and Bassenge made a 2,800 carat heavy necklace worth the equivalent of 100 million US dollars. The gem should have been purchased by King Louis XV for his mistress, but died before its completion. The elegant necklace was offered Marie-Antoinette's husband, but she persuaded him to invest the money in France instead. The jewelers remained in possession the piece of jewelry until they fell a victim to intrigue.

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