Skip to comments.Today in History: Marie Antoinette beheaded (10/16/1793)
Posted on 10/16/2006 11:24:52 AM PDT by yankeedame
...At two o'clock in the morning of 2 August 1793 Marie Antoinette was awoken by guards and told to get dressed. She was taken away from her daughter and sister-in-law and transferred across Paris to the Conciergerie Prison.
"the Widow Capet"
She was re-named "the Widow Capet," after Hugh Capet, founder of the Capetian Dynasty. She was no longer to be referred to as "Marie Antoinette" but simply "Antoinette Capet" or "Prisoner No. 280."
A young peasant girl, Rosalie Lamorlière, was entrusted to take care of Marie Antoinette's needs, but these were few since the queen did not ask for much.
"Le cachot de la reine à la Conciergerie - gravure du temps."
On 2 September the republican journalist and politician, Jacques Hébert told the Committee of Public Safety, "I have promised [my readers] the head of Antoinette. I will go and cut it off myself if there is any delay in giving it to me."
Most republicans now felt an intense hatred for her and they were determined to see her dead.
She was brought to trial on 14 October.
When she entered the courtroom, most people were shocked at her appearance. She was emaciated, prematurely aged, exhausted and care-worn. Forty witnesses were called by the prosecution. They returned to the Affair of the Necklace or alleged that the queen had plied the Swiss Guard with alcohol during the siege of the palace.
The most horrific charges came whenever Hébert accused her of having sexually abused her own son.
When the queen was pressed to answer this charge she replied, "If I have not replied it is because Nature itself refuses to respond to such a charge laid against a mother."
The following questions were actually put to the jury:
-Is it established that manoeuvres and communications have existed with foreign powers and either external enemies of the republic, the said manoeuvres, &c., tending to furnish them with assistance in money, give them an entry into French territory, and facilitate the progress of their armies?
- Is Marie Antoinette of Austria, the widow Capet, convicted of having co-operated in these maneuvres and maintained these communications?
- Is it established that a plot and conspiracy has existed tending to kindle civil war within the republic, by arming the citizens against one another?
- Is Marie Antoinette, the widow Capet, convicted of having participated in this plot and conspiracy?
The jury decided unanimously in the affirmative, and she was condemned to death for treason on 15 October and escorted back to the Conciergerie. She wrote her final letter known as her "Testament", to her sister-in-law Elisabeth. She expressed her love for her friends and family and begged that her children would not seek to avenge her murder.
On the morning of 16 October a guard arrived to cut her hair and bind her hands behind her back. She was forced into a common, slow-moving cart and paraded through the streets of Paris for over an hour before reaching the Place de la Révolution where the guillotine stood.
She stepped lightly down from the cart and stared up at the guillotine.
The priest who had accompanied her whispered, "This is the moment, Madame, to arm yourself with courage."
Marie Antoinette turned to look at him and smiled, "Courage? The moment when my troubles are going to end is not the moment when my courage is going to fail me."
Legend states that her last words were "Monsieur, I ask your pardon. I did not do it on purpose," spoken after she had stepped on the executioner's foot.
At 12:15 on Wednesday 16 October 1793, Marie Antoinette was executed. Her head was exhibited to a cheering crowd. Her body was then taken and dumped in an unmarked mass grave in the Rue d'Anjou.
Western Civilization took a heavy blow when the French monarchy was destroyed by anti-clerical socialists. So much of European history for the past 200 years is merely the reverberation of the explosion.
Kirstin Dunst looks nothing like the woman in the sketches. Dunst will play Marie A in the forthcoming film.
Constrast and compare the American War for Independence with the French Revolution, not even twenty years apart.
In the former, the rebelling colonials relied upon God, and invoked the name of Jesus.
In the latter, the rebelling French mocked the Christian faith and openly murdered nuns and priests and destroyed churches.
At one point, the French revolutionaries took a common whore, placed upon her naked frame a sash proclaiming her to be "La Deite de Raison" and set her up on the altar of a Catholic church, bowing to her in mock worship.
The French Revolution was the first Communist Revolution.
I thought Marie Antonette was a movie actress from the 40's didn't know she was a Queen who was beheaded.
So was she guilty of incest or did her enemies set her up to execute her?
Amen, brother. That's the first time -- outside a Birch meeting years ago -- that I've heard anyone correctly describe the French Revolution. And it's been downhill for the frogs ever since.
Thanks for getting it right.
Where in the world do they sell these?
Talk about tasteless.
Do you have proof that the French revolutionaries mocked all christians or that they were communist (marxist, leninist, maoist, fascist) in nature?
My history books tell me that the French Revolution legalized (yes, legalized for the first time in 1,400 years) the open worship of protestantism, sabbatarianism, Judaism, mohammedism, paganism, agnosticism, and even atheism if you so chose in your own free will. They also eliminated the state mandated coersion that the Catholic Church control a tithe (1/10) of all civil taxation. The Revolution also dismantled the Catholic hegemony in land distribution--church lands that could not be circulated into a free market economy. It also eliminated the Catholic Church intimately involved in secular politics of the sovereign nation on behalf of the interests of a foreign city-state theocracy. History tells us that the Catholic church co-ruled France in a pseudo-theocracy making all other religions and sects illegal, punishable by death if need be, and subject to all efforts of the Office of Inquizition--which meant all lands, titles, and wealth of non-conformists could be seized as church property on behalf of the Holy See. And the co-rule also made France's destiny guided by the ambitions of Roman popes that sometimes had horrible results for the French armies and navies.
BTW, you will notice that the US Constitution does not allow a state religion, nor a coersive tithe system to a state-mandated religion, nor an allowance for ecclesiatic positions in sectarian matters. The USA was not nor will not ever be a theocracy as long as the Constitution reigns supreme as law of the land. You have inalienable rights to free will choices. It was also a vision the French Revolutionists were initially trying to bring to the Republic.
So, in truth, the French Revolution was neither communist nor anti-religion. However, it did rid the country of its puppet strings under the sway of Pontiff et al.
That's what my history books tell me. Regarding communism, I think the second French Revolution of the 1840's was more likely a source influencing or influenced by Marx. It did not succeed.
All revolutions seem to start off moderate. Later they are hijacked by radical extremists--the American Revolution being the exception. And it's highly possible that it would have taken that course were it not for the measured and temperate leadership of Washington.
A preview for the movie came on tv while I was reading this.....weird.
It sounds like a pretty good film, from the review I read in the NYTimes.
Hollywood does an extremely poor, poor, poor job of getting historical figures (female) right.
The worst was 'The Necklace' where every female lead was under 25 and a skeleton. When they all should have been older and heavier.
Looked like a "Teen History" movie.
It isn't like they have a lot of options for heavier actresses.
but the fashions of the era look very weird on boney frames. The corsets were made for plumper, more buxom women. On very thin females, they looked very odd. Like no matter how tight they tied them, they never hit skin.
Thanks for this post - reading a book on "The Terror" now - unfortunately it takes a very pro-revolutionary bias - as if all those folks deserved to have their heads chopped off. I actually trace all the madness back to the "enlightenment" - that was the equivalent of Eve biting into the apple - once man is deemed as being either perfect or perfectable - watch out! Of course the islamofascists' solution of theocracy is no good either. The Pope nailed it when he said the greatest good is served when faith is combined with logos - a balance is truly needed.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.