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Marie Antoinette was born in 1755 She was one of the 16 children of Maria Theresa archduchess of Austria and queen of Hungary and Bohemia and Holy Roman emperor Francis I Her original name was Maria Antonia Marie Antoinette was the name she took when she married Archduchess Antonia grew up in the highly moral environment of her mothers court Maria Theresa was a strong leader beloved by her people The busy empress supervised her childrens upbringing as closely as she could but Antonias education was left largely in the hands of a governess who was happy to spoil the pretty high-spirited little girl Antonia spent more time playing than studying although she enjoyed her music lessons and became an excellent harpist and dancer Unlike so many royal couples her parents had married for love and truly enjoyed family life Although the court was a place of great formality on important occasions in private the royal family was rather casual Antonia regarded her mother with awe but was close to her good-natured father A shadow fell over Antonias sunny life in 1765 when her father died of a stroke at the age of 56 A few years later Antonias childhood came to an end Her mother had arranged Antonias marriage to the dauphin crown prince of France to cement an alliance between Austria and France In 1770 at age 14 Marie Antoinette left her homeland and travelled to the French palace of Versailles to be married Her 15-year-old groom Louis was fat awkward and shy He neglected his royal duties in favor of hunting and working in his locksmith shop He also suffered from a medical condition known as phimosis which prevented him from fathering children for the first seven years of his marriage The public knowing nothing of this blamed Marie Antoinette for her failure to bear heirs to the throne -- as she would so often be blamed for
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