Marie Antoinette’s Trial

Marie Antoinette as “The Widow Capet.”

After the death of Louis, Marie Antoinette went into a deep depression. Cruely, she was separated from her son on July 3, 1793. This caused her even more grief. She refused to eat and soon became very ill with tuberculosis and an illness which caused her to menstruate continuously (probably ovarian or uterine cancer).

On August 3rd, Marie Antoinette was moved from the Temple to the Conciergerie, an old medieval castle now fashioned into a dank and dark prison. She was now known as “Prisoner No. 280.” Plots of escape began to surface, but Marie Antoinette refused. She would not leave France without her children. Her son was now under close supervision and escape was unlikely.

Sketch from Marie Antoinette’s trial

On Oct. 14th, Marie Antoinette was brought before the Revolutionary Tribunal. She was put on trial for crimes against France, with such “evidence” as sending millions of livres to Austria, plotting to kill notable Revolutionary leaders, and committing incest with her son. Upon this last charge, Marie Antoinette refused to answer. When asked why, she simply replied, “If I have not replied it is because Nature itself refuses to respond to such a charge laid against a mother.” Many of the women in the room began to rally to her.

Despite this temporary support, she was found guilty on Oct. 16th.

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