There was no official agreed upon role for a French Queen at the time of Marie Antoinette’s arrival (Fraser 143). This was a lasting result of a fourteenth century law which forbade any female from ascending to the French crown—although Spain, England, and Hungary had seen female succession of the crown by this time (Fraser 144). This power gap between genders, however, could be weakened by the production of an heir. The power and status of the mother in France would be greater than that of a wife.
The fear of the French people was that Marie Antoinette’s power as Queen would cause unnecessary support for Austria. On the occasion of a threat of invasion of Bohemia, the Austrian royals requested the support of French troops. Marie Antoinette, naturally in support of her family and homeland, heatedly discussed the matter with her husband. Louis XVI, however, did not choose to aid the Austrians in this matter of their newly acquired territory (Fraser 179). The Queen’s failure of manipulation in this matter revealed to the public her lack of real power, while also re-positioning her sentiments with the Austrians in place of the French.