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The Marriage of Archduchess Marie Antoinette & Louis, dauphin of France

Augustine Church of the Friars, Vienna
photo by Mikel Hendriks
Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria and Louis, Dauphin of France, were married by proxy on April 19, 1770 in the evening in the Augustine Church of the Friars in Vienna.   At six in the evening, wearing an opulent wedding gown of cloth of silver, Marie Antoinette entered the church.  Her proxy bridegroom was her older brother, Archduke Ferdinand.  A lavish supper followed the ceremony and lasted several hours.

On April 21 at nine in morning, Marie Antoinette bid her family a tearful farewell and boarded the luxurious carriage that had been built specially for her journey from Austria to France.

"Farewell, my dearest child, a great distance will separate us...Do so much good for the French people that they can say I have sent them an angel," her mother instruced, before shedding tears of her own.

It took Marie Antoinette two and a half weeks to complete her journey from Vienna to the border of France.  She wept when she crossed the border, declaring, "I shall never see my mother again!"

On May 14, 1770, she met her grandfather-in-law, Louis XV, and her husband, the dauphin of France, in a mist shrouded forest near Compiegne.  She charmed the king, whom she would forever call Papa or Papa-Roi.  What her husband, the future Louis XVI, thought of his new bride is a mystery. Though an avid journal keeper, he did not write his impressions of the young, wide-eyed Austrian that was to share his life and tragic fate.

On May 16, 1770, before a crowd of 6000 nobles, Marie Antoinette and Louis were married in the Chapel Royal at Versailles.  The doll-like dauphine wore a lilac-colored gown, satin slippers, and barbes (a headdress with lace streamers that was often worn at court).  Louis wore a suit of silver.

Marie Antoinette received numerous wedding gifts, including diamonds and jewels, a pearl collar once belonging to Anne of Austria, and a diamond encrusted fan.

Wedding costumes of the Dauphine and Daupin of France

Tidbits About Marie Antoinette's Wedding and Marriage:
  • Marie Antoinette got her first menstrual cycle weeks before her marriage by proxy.
  • She was 14 years old when she wed. 
  • To cement the union, Archduke Ferdinand, Marie Antoinette's proxy husband, merely had to utter, "I am willing and thus make my promise."
  • The church in which Marie Antoinette wed was the same church in whcih she was baptized.
  • The Papal Nuncio, Monsignor Visconti officiated.
  • Marie Antoinette's procession from Austria to France included dozens of attendants and 57 carriages.
  • Marie Antoinette left for France two days later. She crossed the border into France on May 7, 1770.
  • On May 16, 1770, their French wedding was held ain the Chapel Royal at Versailles. 
  • Her wedding dress was decorated with diamonds and pearls.
  • Marie Antoinette and Louis received a coffer six feet long and three feet high filled with treasures.
  • After a formal dinner and the blessing of their bed by the Archbishop of Reims, Marie Antoinette and Louis-Auguste were escorted to their bedroom.
  • Louis and Antoinette were not to consummate their marriage for several long years. 
  • Louis XVI was the first French king in two hundred years not to have a royal mistress.

Celebrations for the wedding of Marie Antoinette
and Louis XVI

    9 comments:

    1. Very nice writeup about the proxy wedding of Marie Antoinette to Louis XVI. I wonder what his first impressions of her really had been. It does seem that they consoled themselves with their lot rather well. It is a very difficult story to understand, and odd that this is also the day that Princess Grace chose to marry the Prince of Monaco.

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    2. yo`ur and it really contains useful information

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    3. Hi Leah! Just curious if you've ever read anything about a masked ball that occurred on May 20 or 21 1770 for Marie Antoinette and the Dauphin. Either in the Hall of Mirrors or the Royal Opera. I've read about this is a couple places online (conflicting info) but cannot pin down whether it is fact or not. I'm researching for a novel.

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    4. Do you know if any of her actual belongings besides her shoes still exist?

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      1. Yes, many of her belongings still exist. Too many to list. The Musee Carnavalet has several items - tea set, etc.

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    5. Wow, how do you know all this? This info is so cool and useful!

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    6. Great article Lot's of information about wedding and marriages to Read... atunbi

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