The future Queen of France was born on November 2nd, 1755


Born in an armchair in a room at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna at about 8.30 in the evening after an all-day labour, the future Queen of France was the fifteenth child and the eleventh and last daughter of the Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, the Emperor Francis I. In homage to the Virgin Mary, all Habsburg princesses were christened Maria and the new arrival was baptized next day as Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna, and known in the family as Antoine.


Image: Wikipedia “A picture of Marie “Antoine” Antoinette when she was seven years old by Martin van Meytens. 7歳のアントニア”

She was swiftly handed over to a wet nurse and spent her first winter in the palace’s nursery wing. Her mother, whose routine day began at 4am in summer and 6am in winter, was too absorbed in affairs of state to have much time for her. In the summertime the family left Vienna for Schönbrunn Palace in the countryside, set among gardens, woods and parkland where the children could run wild.


Image: Wikipedia “Maria Theresa with her family, 1754, by Martin van Meytens. 女帝の家族”

Antoine made her first official appearance at the celebration of her father’s birthday in 1759, when she was three years old. She sang a song in French and some of her brothers and sisters played music. It was a musical family and in 1762 the young Mozart was invited to the Hofburg. There’s a story that the six-year-old prodigy slipped on the polished floor and Antoine, who was the same age, ran to help him up and impulsively gave him a kiss. He said, ‘You are kind, I would like to marry you’, at which everyone laughed.


Image: rmc.library.cornell.edu “Unauthenticated Portrait by Martin van Meytens”