The Testament of Marie Antoinette

Friends and regular guests of The Courtier know that he does not celebrate July 14th, i.e. Bastille Day. Instead he usually dresses appropriately – wearing either Royalist white (as today), funereal black, or his tie of Marie Antoinette’s initials interlocked with fleurs-de-lis taken from the wallpaper of her apartment in the Petit Trianon. He also prays for the victims of the French Revolution, some of whom were his ancestors, even as he realizes that had it not been for the Reign of Terror, he himself might not be here to condemn it, since some of his relatives fled France for America as a result.

The Courtier draws the gentle reader’s attention to the last letter of Marie Antoinette, known as “The Testament”, with which many may not be familiar. It was written after the Queen was condemned to death following a sham trial based on a number of spurious accusations, including that she had sexually abused her own son. Again, many are not aware of this Leftist monstrosity, but then the Left has always been very good at decrying Right-wing atrocities while coming up with apologias for its own.

During her show trial the Queen showed herself to be every bit the Hapsburg, rather than a Bourbon: a woman very much aware of who and what and where she is, and not afraid to stand up for herself. In this final letter however, after her condemnation, the Queen chose to pour out her heart in private by writing to her sister-in-law Madame Élisabeth, Princess of France and sister of her late husband Louis XVI. I highly recommend a visit to the Tea at Trianon site, which not only produces the full text in French and in English translation of this letter, but also images of the actual letter. Sadly, this final, comforting communiqué never reached Madame Élisabeth: Robespierre, architect of the Reign of Terror and one of the great turds of history, kept it for himself and had Madame Élisabeth executed a few months later.

The Queen tells her sister-in-law not to worry, because she knows that upon her execution she is going to see her husband again. The letter then continues with her concerns over the welfare of her children and for Madame Élisabeth herself. The Queen also very presciently writes that she knows her son was tortured to lie on behalf of the prosecutors against her, and that she forgives him this; had he survived no doubt this would at least have provided the Dauphin some consolation.

Catholic readers may be surprised to read that Marie Antoinette writes that she is lacking in spiritual consolation, but again, this is due to Leftist shenanigans. Priests who sought to keep their heads were made to swear oaths of loyalty to the atheist Republic against the Pope, among other acts; these priests were subsequently excommunicated by Pope Pius VI. Marie Antoinette naturally refused to give her last confession to such a man, who would no doubt have immediately gone to Robespierre and disclosed everything she had said in the confessional.

The paragraph that is most touching, and which is reproduced here by way of conclusion, concerns the Queen’s steadfast faith under such circumstances:

I die in the Catholic Apostolic and Roman religion, that of my fathers, that in which I was brought up, and which I have always professed. Having no spiritual consolation to look for, not even knowing whether there are still in this place any priests of that religion (and indeed the place where I am would expose them to too much danger if they were to enter it but once), I sincerely implore pardon of God for all the faults which I may have committed during my life. I trust that, in His goodness, He will mercifully accept my last prayers, as well as those which I have for a long time addressed to Him, to receive my soul into His mercy. I beg pardon of all whom I know, and especially of you, my sister, for all the vexations which, without intending it, I may have caused you. I pardon all my enemies the evils that they have done me. I bid farewell to my aunts and to all my brothers and sisters. I had friends. The idea of being forever separated from them and from all their troubles is one of the greatest sorrows that I suffer in dying. Let them at least know that to my latest moment I thought of them.

Marie Antoinette and her children, engraving of c. 1785
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3 thoughts on “The Testament of Marie Antoinette

  1. Thanks for this, William. It wasn’t until very recently that I learned just how awful the French Revolution was, especially for Catholics. Public schools (back when we were young) presented it as all kinds of sunshine, wonderful because of Democracy. The fact that the Church was oppressed didn’t matter at all, and wasn’t even mentioned in passing. The only mentions of the Church in my history texts were to talk of corruption.

    I know we aren’t supposed to promote one religion over another in public schools, but facts would have been kind of nice.

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    • Thanks for reading, I’m glad I dug that out of the archives. And you’re right: all we hear is one side of the story, and as bas as things were, the way this was dealt with was completely uncivilized.

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  2. Pingback: REPORTS: Truck Mows Down Pedestrians at Bastille Day Celebration in Nice, France

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