Off with her head

Today is the 218th anniversary of the day when Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France, was lifted onto the back of a common cart, her hands tied behind her back. She was driven through the streets of Paris for almost two hours, en route to her appointment with the guillotine.

“Like that of her late husband, her journey was designed to give as many spectators as possible a chance to enjoy the spectacle, which lasted for two hours. All along the roads people lined up, laughing and shouting at her. They revelled in her humiliation – albeit she had never personally done them any harm. Throughout this degrading ordeal she maintained an air of complete indifference. With her back straight and her chin up, the only sign of her inner torment was the way her cheeks alternately flushed and paled.”

Eye-witnesses told that the Queen went to her death with royal dignity and great courage. Even that most spiteful man, Hébert, wrote: ‘The whore, for the rest, was bold and impudent to the very end.'” 

RIP, Marie-Antoinette, 1755-1793

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