Anniversary of the Execution of Marie Antoinette

  October 17, 2012 at 2:29 am by

Yesterday marked the anniversary of Marie Antoinette’s execution.

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France

On October 16th, 1793, Marie Antoinette of Austria, former Queen of France, left her prison cell at the Conciergerie in Paris, where she had been imprisoned since August of that year, for the last time.

Having been found guilty of treason by the Revolutionary Tribunal on October 14th, Marie Antoinette was condemned to death, her trial having been a complete farce. King Louis XVI, her husband, had been executed in January, after having been deposed in 1792 following the abolition of the Bourbon Monarchy.

Before she left her cell, Marie Antoinette composed her last letter to her sister-in-law, Princess Élisabeth of France, who was imprisoned at the Temple with Marie Antoinette’s daughter, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte. The letter never made its way to Élisabeth. The former Queen of France left the Conciergerie dressed in a white cotton dress with a black petticoat and white hat, her hair having been cut earlier that morning.

A painting of Marie Antoinette's execution

With her hands bound, Marie Antoinette was taken to the Place de la Révolution in a open cart drawn by two white horses, a priest accompanied her. At noon, Marie Antoinette arrived and climbed the steps to the scaffold where the guillotine awaited her. Just two weeks shy of her 38th birthday, the most famous French Queen was beheaded at 12.15pm, her remains were then dumped in a common grave at the Madeleine Cemetery.

In 1815, following the Bourbon Restoration, King Louis XVIII ordered that the remains of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette be exhumed from the Madeleine Cemetery and be reburied at Saint Denis Basilica outside Paris, where they have remained ever since.

Filed under Austrian Royals, French Royals, Historical Royals
Tagged , , , , .

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2 Responses to Anniversary of the Execution of Marie Antoinette

  1. Father Andrew L. J. James, Ph.D. says:

    Here is a part of the story no one else seems to remember: As she was getting to the guillotine, the Queen accidentally stepped upon the headsman’s foot. “Pardon me,” she said, “for I did not mean to do it.”

    There in, it seems to me, is the “real” Marie Antoinette. She is always accused of saying: “Let them eat cake!” words put in the mouth of the “Wicked Princess,” in Jean Jacques Rousseau’s “Confessions,” which was published in Paris, when Marie Antoinette was 12, and living in Austria. The lie is apparently indelible.

    Though the man upon whose foot she stepped was going to murder her, she would not be so petty and vindictive as to step on his foot! The anniversary is a mournful thing. My family left France, in 1790, never to return. It is estimated that one-quarter of the emigres from the Revolution came to Gallipolis, OH.

    They were robbed by the founders of the old Northwest Territory, who have public buildings named for them. The Rev. Manasseh Cutler (one of the chief frauds) has the principal administration building at Ohio University, Athens, named in his alleged “honor”.

  2. Mavis F says:

    I did not ever beleive that the queen of France utterd those words. “Let then eat cake instead”. It was a big lie that stuck.

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