The tragic final days of Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette was known as the last queen of France. She was instrumental in provoking unrest in the masses that eventually led to the French Revolution. She was vilified and suffered a horrible fate. Here are some little-known facts about the final days of Marie Antoinette:
Six months after her husband, King Louis XVI of France, was beheaded, Marie Antoinette was led to the Conciergerie
On August 2, 1793, six months after King Louis XVI of France was beheaded, Marie Antoinette was transferred to the Conciergerie, a prison known as “death’s antechamber” in Paris. The prison floor was covered with muddy slime and water trickled down the walls — a place purposely unfit for a queen.
The discovery of the Carnation Plot expedited her trial
Late in August 1973, former officer and a loyal follower of King Louis XVI Chevalier Alexandre de Rougeville, visited Marie Antoinette and dropped a carnation near the Queen. The carnation had a secret note informing her that Rougeville would try to rescue her. Unfortunately for her, a prison guard intercepted the note. When public prosecutor Fouquier-Tinville learned about the plot to aid the queen’s escape from prison (what became known as the Carnation Plot), he expedited her trial.
She was accused of sexually abusing his young son Louise
The prosecutor accused Marie Antoinette of making secret agreements with Austria and Prussia, shipping money abroad to Louis’s exiled brothers, conspiring with the enemies against France, and forcing her son Louis to be intimate with her. Historians believe the trial was mostly for show, the all-male jury declared Marie Antoinette guilty of treason and she was sentenced to die.
She was beheaded on October 16, 1793, and her remains tossed in a common grave
Two weeks shy of her 38th birthday, Marie Antoinette’s head was cut off at 12:15 pm on October 16, 1793. Crowds gathered and cheered. Her remains were placed in a coffin tossed in a common grave in a cemetery behind the Church of the Madeleine.