Queen Marie Antoinette, bronze commemorative medal, 1784-1790.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Obverse of a French medal commemorating the increase in obstetrical skills pioneered by C T Vermont, featuring a portrait of Marie Antoinette (1755-1793), Queen of France, by Pierre Simon Benjamin Duvivier. Vermont was patronized by Marie Antoinette. Daughter of Maria Theresa and Francis I of Austria, she married the future Louis XVI in 1770, to strengthen the French alliance with Austria. She exerted a strong influence over the king, and her extravagance, frivolity and devotion to the cause of Austria contributed to the growing unpopularity of the monarchy. After the French Revolution Marie Antoinette and Louis were apprehended trying to escape France to Austria in 1791, and were tried and executed by guillotine two years later.