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March 28, 2011

Seven Charges made against Marie Antoinette



Many people use Yahoo Questions and sometimes some pretty funny ones will pop up during searches. I stumbled on my amazingly relevant Yahoo Question of the Day recently, "What was the deal with Marie Antoinette?"

So the asking party really was wondering if she was executed, which I think we all here can safely answer 'yes.' But what were the grounds for her execution?  Let's take a look at her trial....

Anonymous (French), Marie Antoinette in the Temple Prison in 1793, painting. Musée Carnavalet. 
Marie Antoinette was brought to trial as the Widow Capet, after Louis XVI had already lost his own trial (among other things).  She went before the revolutionary tribunal on October 14, 1793.  Her jury was all men, and it was a two day trial.  She had seven charges against her:

With having dilapidated and lavished the finances of the nation, in concert with the execrable Calonne, by causing to be transmitted to the Emperor several millions, which still serve to carry on the war with France

With having, in imitation of Brunehaud and De Medecis, who also called themselves queens of France, conspired against the liberty of the French nation

With having sought to starve the people in 1789

With having excited the murders of October 5 and 6

With having, in concert with Bailly and la Fayette, caused the patriots to be butchered in the Champ de Mars

With having prevailed upon the Swiss to fire on the people on the 10th of August

With having, like another Agrippina, forgotten that she was a mother, in order to commit incest with her son
She was found guilty by a jury of men on October 15. The next day she was brought to the guillotine, October 16, 1793.

Danish School ( ? - 1799), The Execution of Marie-Antoinette (1755-93) 16th Oct 1793. Oil on copper, 18th century. Musee de la Ville de Paris, Musee Carnavalet, Paris, France.

8 comments

  1. Charges not worthy of comment.

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  2. Well "Brunehaud" aka Brunhilda was a Visigoth so that is explanation enough for her actions.

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  3. Ridiculous! She may have held herself in a higher esteem than others (she was descended from Caesar) but these rabble were definitely not her peers and couldn't put together a credible list of charges if their lives depended on it! The last one makes me want to slap them all!

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  4. Even at her trial the women of Paris watching were forced to declare that the last charge was hardly credible for a mother.

    There was some talk of ransoming her, but the Emperor of Austria had no interest in a woman he had never met, and she therefore had no value to the French who simply wanted to find an excuse to exercise the hatred they had for her.

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  5. Hopefully someone pointed out to the asker on yahoo that most, if not all, of the charges had no substantial evidence on them to be proven true and it was pretty much a show trial because their minds were already made up. There were numerous reasons why they didnt like here besides the fact that the regime was sittin on all the money. Im surprised they didnt charge her for sleeping with the Duchess of Polignac or the Princess de Lamballe as well since there were many drawings circulating around prior.

    Though most of us on here sympathize with her, we all know how difficult it is to convince non history buffs to feel the same way we do. Lol

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  6. I always think it is interesting to see what was said at the time. You can tell how painful it would have been to hear these spoken!

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  7. On a side topic, what do you think of the portrait? Queenly?

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  8. In reply to your question on the portrait, my first thought and prior to seeing your question, was that she looked precisely like what she was to the end...a mother. Isn't that odd...

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