Also available as an Orion audiobook

Marie Antoinette

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Marie Antoinette’s dramatic life-story continues to arouse mixed emotions. To many people, she is still ‘la reine méchante’, whose extravagance and frivolity helped to bring down the French monarchy; her indifference to popular suffering epitomised by the (apocryphal) words: ‘let them eat cake’.

Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny. Antonia Fraser examines her influence over the king, Louis XVI, the accusations and sexual slurs made against her, her patronage of the arts which enhanced French cultural life, her imprisonment, the death threats made against her, rumours of lesbian affairs, her trial (during which her young son was forced to testify to sexual abuse by his mother) and her eventual execution by guillotine in 1793.

The major movie about the legendary French queen, directed by Sofia Coppola, is based on this Sunday Times bestselling book.

Critical Acclaim

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‘Fraser is at her best here, lucid, authoritative and compassionate’
Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times

‘This sparkling new biography . . . Antonia Fraser writes beautifully, with impressively shrewd judgement . . . This is a fine book and a very good read’
Desmond Seward, Daily Mail

‘A hugely well-researched work . . . Marie Antoinette is a heroic, and tragic, exercise in identification’
Andy Martin, Daily Telegraph

‘In Marie Antoinette, Fraser’s superb gifts of narrative, characterisation and eye for salient detail are deployed to greater effect than ever before’
Mark Bostridge, Independent on Sunday

‘Fraser sets out to rescue Marie Antoinette from the shadow of the guillotine, and she does this with resounding success’
Ruth Scurr, The Times

‘She has written a fine biography . . . A fine and rewarding book’
Douglas Johnson, Spectator

‘It would be a stern republican indeed who could finish this life unmoved – and an inert reader who could remain unstirred by the vivid portrait Fraser paints of an age of turmoil’
Michael Kerrigan, Scotsman

‘A superbly researched book which will clearly become the definitive work on the ill-fated queen’
Margot Lawrence, Catholic Herald

‘Engrossing . . . With this excellent book, Fraser has done something to counteract 200 years of vilification – she has made the doomed Queen human’
Anna Carey, Sunday Tribune

‘This beautifully paced, impeccably written biography is destined to generate the same success as Antonia Fraser’s previous work. Don’t miss it’
Andrea Stuart, Independent

‘An authoritative, sympathetic and beautifully written life of the much maligned queen’
Charles Osborne, Sunday Telegraph

‘She has once more demonstrated her particular distinction as a trenchant and scrupulous biographer of doomed royals . . . 429 pages of tested evidence, assembled with such eloquent intensity the effect is that rare thing: an authoritative history both critical and heart-wrenchingly human’
Anne Simpson, Glasgow Herald

‘Antonia Fraser has written an account of Marie Antoinette’s life which is sensitive and sympathetic’
Robert Gildea, Times Literary Supplement

‘By filling out her story with a wealth of sociological detail, Fraser offers a picture of the queen made interesting, even sympathetic, because set in context’
Michèle Roberts, New Statesman

‘This extraordinarily well-informed account of her life and times will provide much food for thought on the subject’
Jeananne Crowley, Independent on Sunday

‘A riveting and honest account of her life as an ill-educated girl who rises to become a magnificent and courageous woman’
Woman’s Journal