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On This Day… A Marriage That Ended Badly

Written by: George Chittenden : 10 May 2019

It was on this day, 16th May back in 1770 when the future King and Queen of France, Marie Antoinette and Dauphin Louis Auguste were married at the Palace of Versailles just outside of Paris. The marriage sealed a newfound alliance between long-time enemies Austria and France. Austrian monarchs offered the hand of their youngest daughter to the heir apparent to the French throne. She was only fourteen when she married the future King Louis XVI, who was only fifteen years old. Marie Antoinette was initially idolised by the French public, so much so that during her first appearance in Paris, a crowd of 50,000 grew so uncontrollable that at least thirty people were trampled to death in the crush.

Unfortunately for the married couple they struggled in the bed-chamber, as supposedly Louis suffered from a painful medical condition that rendered him impotent. Eventually though they managed to consummate their marriage after seven years, with the birth of their daughter, the first of their four children. Many people believe Louis XVI underwent an operation that fixed his condition. Ultimately the couple faced greater problems than consummating their marriage. Both were brutally guillotined in the wake of a bloodthirsty revolution that swept through France.

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