Marie Antoinette, (1755–1793), queen of France as the wife of Louis XVI. Born on November 2, 1755, she was a daughter of Maria Theresa of Austria. She married Louis in 1770, four years before he ascended to the throne. Marie Antoinette enjoyed great popularity at first. Gradually, however, members of the royal court turned against her, as she ignored her French advisors and continued to depend on Austrian relatives for guidance. Also, her extravagant behavior and apparent unconcern for the welfare of the people brought their hatred upon her. According to legend, she responded to news that the people had no bread by saying, Let them eat cake.

At the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, Marie Antoinette opposed the moderate reformers, and constantly plotted to restore the power of the monarchy. The royal family attempted flight in 1791, but was intercepted and held prisoner. During imprisonment, Marie Antoinette acted with courage and dignity. Louis was put to death early in 1793. The queen was then placed on trial, and in October was guillotined.