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Having grown up at the Austrian court, she had no idea of the costs or the values of goods. Marie Antoinette felt trapped performing endless royal appearances, enduring the infinitesimal details and the stultifying centuries-old etiquette of the court. She decided to be herself rather than a conventional dauphine. To escape from the tedium, she mixed with a risqué crowd known as the Queen’s Secret Society, an association that further damaged her image. She continued to suffer from salacious gossip and lurid tales about her alleged depraved sexual behavior; the stories spread throughout France and damaged the prestige of the monarchy.

In early 1789, he published Offrande à la Patrie, the first of his many political pamphlets, in which he denounced government corruption and urged unity among the people in his cause. In the first part of his pamphlet, Marat argued that the monarchy was still capable of solving existing problems and criticized those advocating the British system of government. However, in a supplement printed several months later, he expressed more critical and radical ideas. He continued to produce political works throughout the summer of 1789 and was among the mob that stormed the Bastille fortress on July 14.

The populace accused her of meddling, calling her Madam Deficit. Marie Antoinette’s personal life troubled her considerably. Baby Sophie had failed to thrive and died on June 19, 1787. Marie Antoinette went into seclusion at Trianon. The dauphin was also seriously ill, with a malformed spine, and could not enjoy a normal childhood. The queen’s lengthy friendship with a Swedish count, Hans Axel von Fersen, encouraged a considerable amount of gossip. They often went riding together and developed a friendship that gave her a respite from her Marie Antoinette, Queen of France troubles.

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