The Last Queen of France

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
You will discover the intimate life of Marie Antonia in this story

Submitted: July 12, 2017

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Submitted: July 12, 2017

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The unfortunate Queen Marie Antonia of France thought being a Queen means having total power and control when she was young but she soon evolved into a woman who can understand pain and suffering of others. She was cruelly separated from her children, ii-treated and executed. As she spends her last days in an isolated prison she reflects back about her life. This is her story.

It was 13 October 1762 seven-year-old Marie Antonia collected roses in the garden and carefully placed one by one into her basket. She picked one of the roses and kept it close to her nose to feel the fragrance. She closed her eyes and remarked “So lovely are these roses. I will fill my bed with roses.”

Just then her elder sister Maria Carolina shouted from a distance “Antonia! Everyone is looking for you.”

She looks everywhere and finally to the direction of her sister and replied: “For what?”

Carolina ran towards her sister. Gasping for breath she cried “Hurry up! Some musicians are going to perform inside the court. They will be here anytime by now.”

Antonia unknowingly dropped her basket of flowers on the ground.

Carolina, took hold of her sister’s hand and both ran towards the steps of Schonbrunn Palace, then the long hallway, finally they reached the courtroom.

The Empress Maria Teresa and Emperor Francis I were already seated on the throne.

Maria Teresa looks at Antonia and said: “I expected you to be here a little earlier and I was afraid that you may delay your presence.”

Antonia cried “Sorry mother, I just forgot.”

The court was filled with nobles all murmured to each other, then there was sudden silence. A man named Leopold Mozart approached with two of his kids. He bowed in front of the Royals with respect and spoke politely “Your majesty my children will play music with perfect pitch. Don’t get deceived by their age.”

Empress Maria Teresa lifted her head high and replied calmly “That will be decided after their performance. “

Young seven-year-old Wolfgang Mozart made a cautious move towards the Harpsichord. He avoided to look at anyone’s face and was little nervous.

Antonia smiled to comfort him and kept looking at him throughout the performance. When the concert was finally over, everyone applauded. Wolfgang Mozart and his sister Marianne bowed in front of the Royals. He smiled at Antonia for encouraging him.

Soon it became late night. Antonia and Carolina shared the same bed.

“Oh no I left the basket of roses in the garden” cried Antonia

Carolina yawned “My sweet sister roses are not going anywhere. It will still be there, exactly where you left. We can find them tomorrow morning.”

“But they might get ripe.”

“So what? We have plenty of fresh roses to collect. I am feeling sleepy now. No more talking until tomorrow morning.”

Antonia turned to one corner of the bed held her precious doll in her arms and stared at the floor and thought about the events that took place the whole day. She dreamed of fairies and the magical world above the clouds. Then she slowly drifted into sleep. She didn’t know behind the rosy flowers it is also filled with thorns.

Next day morning Emperor Francis I was training his eagle to catch a rabbit in his splendid garden. One of the servants opened the rabbit cage loose. Soon the rabbit ran for its life. The emperor let the eagle glide towards the rabbit and bring it back to him. But the rabbit was too fast for the eagle and hid under the thick branches of a plant. Antonia picked the rabbit gently in her hand and caressed it.

She pleaded “Father can I have this one as my pet, please.”

"Sure child." answered the Emperor delightfully. He said to himself “Children” Then turned around and motioned his servants to get a new one to be hunted.

She ran and later showed it to her sister Carolina and beamed “I just saved this poor creature from being killed by an eagle.”

“So you are going to feed it every day. That’s your trouble.”

“I don’t mind feeding hundreds of rabbit.”

“Okay, okay, I give up. You win.” Then they both laughed at each other.

Many years passed Antonia now turned 14 years old. She sang a song like a nightingale while the court musicians played harp and flute under the direction of her music teacher Christoph Willibald Gluck.

He said “Bravo!! Antonia, you are gifted with a beautiful voice.”

She smiled, “Thank you, Sir.”

A royal maid entered the chamber and spoke “Princess Antonia, you have an important subject to discuss. Your mother wants to talk to you in private.”

“Please forgive me. I have to attend some urgent matter it seems.”

“Go ahead, young princess. Don’t make your mother wait anymore.” The musician smiled at her.

After Antonia left the music chamber she questioned the maid: “What is this all about?”

“This is regarding your marriage. Princess”

“Oh no! Not again. Can’t my marriage wait for some more years?” Antonia cried.

Finally, she met her mother in the presence of many nobles “Oh my daughter, how happy I am for you. Do you realize you are soon going to wed?”

“To who?” answered Antonia without much care

“Why? I well informed you already. It is going to be none other than the handsome boy Louis-Auguste, Duke, of Berry and Dauphin of France.”

“Mother” she cried “I am not ready for this.”

“Dear I understand your days of playing with dolls and pets are over. It’s time to act like a woman. The wedding date is finalized. The ceremony will take place on 16 May 1770 at the Palace of Versailles. You don’t have much choice. We Royals once take an oath we stick to it.”

Antonia ran away crying to her bedroom and closed the door.

“I haven’t been a good a mother to my daughter?”

“Your majesty, it’s just a childish attitude for girls of her age to act like this. I myself have a daughter of her age. It is sometimes difficult to make them understand but once they get married, love will bind them together.” said one of the nobles.

“Nevertheless this union must finally bring peace between Austria and France after seven years of war.” said the Empress in a grim voice.

Finally, wedding day arrived. Antonia had to travel from Austria to France. Many nobles and royals attended the grand wedding. She was dressed in a white wedding gown. Louis Auguste holding the hand of the bride arrived at the chapel and knelt in front of the Archbishop of Reims.

Many looked at her and said, “We won’t find a better bride more beautiful than the fully lit moon and a perfect match for the young prince.”

Later both the couples exchanged vows. Young Louis Auguste placed the wedding ring on the bride’s finger and kissed her lips.

Louis XV the emperor of France and grandfather of Louis Auguste blessed the couple and said: “Boy, I wish your father was alive to see this day.”

The crowd involving some 6000 aristocrats cheered and shouted: “Long live the young prince and the princess!”

Antonia found herself alone in the company of her young husband Louis Auguste who is only a year older than her in his bedroom chamber.

He presented her a chest filled with expensive jewels and looked at her with wide eyes “Do you like it?”

She looked at her reflection in the large mirror fitted with a golden frame and tried one of the diamond filled earrings from the chest and said “Lovely. Thank you.”

He looked at the window where the sun is now setting down and said: “You are my wife from now onwards.”

Antonia wanted to pull his legs “Oh!” She started “Well, it looks like you have to do a lot of task for your wife.”

Looking confused and asked her “what kind of task?”

She answered with a laugh “Just look at my eyes and tell me what you see.”

He stammered innocently “Umm, I see nothing.”

She laughed again “Never mind, now we are independent people, not children. We should decide what kind of life we should have.”

“Tell me what you want, I will do it.” He asked curiously.

“I want a fresh set of roses every morning. Now lock the door of your chamber and come close to me,” said Antonia in a whispery voice.

One day Antonia, while she stroked a pigeon in her hand and sat on the edge of a garden fountain, spoke seriously to Louis Auguste and asked: “How did your father die?”

“‘He died due to some sickness. So what’s about it?”

“Don’t you see you will be the king after your grandfather?”

He replied with hesitation “Maybe.”

“When you become the king the first thing I want you to do is to get rid of the pleasure seeking lovely mistress Jeanne Bécu (Madame du Barry) of your grandfather out of the palace at once. I can’t stand her.”

“Why? She behaves quite excellently towards me.”

“Don’t you see she is poisoning everyone’s mind? One day she will start ruling the entire France. Do you wish such calamity to fall upon us?”

“So what do you expect me to do?”

“I will tell you when the time comes.” Antonia let the pigeon and it flew high in the sky.

A year passed since their marriage. Antonia wore her hunting attire and said “I am feeling a little cramp on my neck shall I sit for a moment.’”

“Please your majesty! I have almost completed your portrait. Just a little bit of touch on the eyes and lips.” said the artist Joseph Krantzinger.

Louis XV observed the picture “Marvelous, It is a pretty picture. Well done Joseph.”

“Thank you, your majesty.” Responded Joseph

Louis Auguste sat near a huge window stared aimlessly at the heavy rain that poured out.

“My boy, will you care to see how beautiful the portrait looks?”

“Yes, Grandpa” Looks at the painting “Very nice”

Antonia put her hands on her lips and smiled.

“You are taking good care of your bride it seems,” said Louis XV

“Grandpa, I need some time to be alone.” Louis Auguste implored

“I see you started thinking a lot since you got married, what’s bothering you? Do tell me, boy.”

“Nothing.” Answered Louis Auguste

“Well boy, if you have anything to share then let me know.”

Antonia rolled her eyes “He is very shy since the day I got married to him. I have to tell him everything.”

“Looks like you young couples have to solve this.” Louis XV took the hand of his young mistress Jeanne Bécu and retired to his chamber.

Antonia stared at Jeanne Bécu with resentment.

The year was now 4 May 1774. King Louis XV suffered from severe case of smallpox and poor health. He looked at his mistress and said in a faint voice: “Jeanne Bécu, my dear you served me well but I fear for your safety since everyone carrying a hostile attitude towards you and also I don’t want you to catch this miserable plague of mine.”

Jeanne Bécu wept “Then where should I go? Dear husband.”

‘I wish you to live in Aiguillon’s estate near Rueil. You will no longer carry the responsibility of assisting me.”

On 10 May 1774 finally Louis XV died. According to the will of Louis XV Louis Auguste, the eldest grandson will take the throne and assume the title, Louis XVI.

Antonio said “Do you remember my promise”

“What promise?” Louis Auguste Looked at her little perplexed.

“I already told you that we have to get rid of this illegal mistress Jeanne Bécu of your late grandfather.”

“Tell me what I should do now?”

“I want her to be exiled. Why should she get the same rights we Royal blood have? This will teach her a humble lesson.”

Soon within two days, Jeanne Bécu was imprisoned at Abbey du Pont-aux-Dames for a year. Later she was not allowed to come back to Versailles.

Louis XV during his rule invited wars, destruction, emptied the treasury and had many feuds. The common people of France hoped that new King Louis XVI and Queen Antonia can make a difference and make their life better. Louis Auguste was only 19 when his term began. He needed the advice of trusted ministers to guide him from this debt filled nation. Queen Antonia stood by her husband side whenever he felt weak and unable to make decisions.

She said “We are too young to take responsibility. Let us enjoy our life like we don’t have any care in this world.”

He laughed “You are right people should learn to take care of themselves instead of worrying us with their petty problems.”

However, He appointed Jean-Frédéric Phélypeaux (Count of Maurepas) as his chief advisor and as a minister to handle the affairs of the state. Who in turn appointed Turgot to be the minister of economy.

Louis Auguste focused more on religious tolerance and encouraged people of every faith in France to have equal rights.

On 19 December 1778 Antonia gave birth to a baby daughter. She looked at the child and said “Poor little one, you are not desired, but you will be none the less dear to me! A son would have belonged to the state—you will belong to me.”

The Kings, as well as Queens’s family, rejoiced that finally an heir was born to continue their bloodline. A grand celebration took place at the palace of Versailles and baby was named as Marie Therese. After the birth of her daughter, Antonia became a changed woman. She became more concerned about the suffering of other people and didn’t want her daughter to live blindly and ignore the pain of others. When Marie-Therese was a child Antonia would bring children of poor people to dine with her and encouraged her daughter to give her toys to them. She wanted to incorporate the notion of simplicity to her daughter. She also wanted her to understand that wealth and glory are not important than a human life.

Antonia was a childish woman quick to detect any kind of disloyalty towards her and immediately showed her displeasure directly which caused many to hate her and created misjudgments about her. If she finds anyone very remarkable she will go to any length to support them. Antonia became very close to Gabrielle (Duchess of Polignac). She got very much attracted towards her because of bright personality and inner nature. Antonia wanted Gabrielle to be near her so she made an arrangement to move her permanently to Versailles and even cleared all the debt of Gabrielle’s husband. This caused many to frown at Antonia for she bestowed too much favor towards a single person. Many were jealous of their relationship. Antonia again gave birth to a son Louis Joseph on 22 October 1781. It was good news since the Royal family badly needed a male heir. Antonia made Gabrielle Governess of her children in the year 1782. She invited further bad reputation about her among the nobles since Gabrielle came from a modest background. Antonia deliberately allotted thirteen chambers in the palace of Versailles for her including a cottage in Antonia's favorite pastoral refuge, the Hameau de la Reine.

In the year 1784, Axel von Fersen the Younger began to get close to Antonio. He was of Swedish descent and spoke French fluently since his father used to be at service for Louis XV. He was the same age as the Queen and took various tasks on behalf of the French royals. He was a fearless knight. During his many conferences with Queen Antonio in private, he dared to speak of his love for her.

Axel looked at her tenderly “I have seen many women but your beauty and thoughts always too special in my heart.”

Antonio understood that he had fallen in love with her spoke back to him carefully “I know how much you care for me. I wish you all the good in this world for you.”

He looked sadly at her and said “Life can be meaningless sometimes. Only your love motivates me to take all assignments.”

“I can understand your pain and the strenuous assignment you have to undertake. Tell me when you will visit your home in Sweden.” Antonio smiled.

“Yes in a couple of months.” Axel looked at her rosy lips.

Antonio wished to cheer him up and requested “If you have time can you get a pet dog for me from Sweden.”

Axel laughed “Why? I can give my life for you. I am afraid I have to leave now. But I will be back with a pet dog for you.” He climbed his horse and looked back again “See you soon my Queen.” And he left swiftly.

Certain people in the court were against her and circulated many pamphlets to general public alleged that Queen and her friends were involved in immoral sexual conduct thus creating a negative image in the eye of common people. Antonio was visibly upset and shaken. She started to get depressed and avoided any public appearance. Louis-Auguste noticed her state.

“Dear Antonio” he spoke gently “I am beginning to worry about you.”

“Oh, it's nothing. I am doing fine.” She tried to conceal her sadness.

“No. You are not.” He protested.

“What will I do when everyone filled with so much hate towards me?” She cried.

“Well, perhaps visiting your sister Carolina and staying with her for a couple of months might improve your spirit.” He suggested.

“Yes, it’s been a long time since I saw my sister.” She looked at him with happiness.

Soon Antonio took a journey to Naples in Italy. She took her daughter Marie-Therese for the journey and left her son Louis Joseph in Versailles since he was a fragile child with poor health, she asked her intimate friend Gabrielle to look after him. When she finally reached her sister Carolina at Royal Palace of Naples who was married to Ferdinand I the ruler of Naples and Sicily.

“How wonderful to see you again.” Carolina greeted her sister warmly

“It’s such a relief to leave France.” Said Antonio, carrying a terrible expression on her face.

“I heard about your ill-treatment. I am very much worried about your safety my dear sister.” Carolina said with concern.

“People are trying to hurt me like a knife.” Antonia cried.

“To hell with those people. You supposed to be the strong one when compared to me. Don’t let those heartless people dictate your life.” Carolina said with a scorn.

Antonio looked at her daughter Marie Therese and said: “I told you a lot about your aunt, she will take good care of you.”

Carolina smiled “My sweet niece, I have a lot of toys for you.”

Marie Therese looked at her aunt shyly and smiled.

“Come with me, I will introduce you to your cousins.” Carolina took hold of her niece's hand.

Eventually, Antonia regained her spirit and returned back to France.

On 27 March 1785 Antonia gave birth to a second son, Louis Charles. Again many detractors try to wound her again and questioned about the father of her child and proclaimed Axel von Fersen as the possible father. They accused her of being disloyal to her husband. However Louis Auguste came in defense of his wife, he made a public statement telling that these allegations are baseless but Antonia reputation was already in the state of ruin.

When Antonia was alone in the chamber with Louis-Auguste, she cried “I am scared. I don’t know what our future will be like. This country is threatening me from every corner.”

Louis Auguste took hold of her hands and comforted her silently.

“I am not happy with myself. I had enough of this ill treatment.” She cried

“Look at me, stop thinking about them or you will live forever behind their shadows. We shouldn’t entertain others attention on us.” He tried to convince her but it was no avail. She was permanently left in the state of turmoil.

People saw Antonia as nothing more than a person who made love to many and entertained herself with lavish luxury while the country economy was in ruin and the common people life deteriorated rapidly. Regular circulation of print reporting every action of the King and Queen constantly changed general public perspective about them. Louis Auguste and Antonia failed to see the warning that their future will be doomed if they don’t show any concern for the public.

On 9 July 1786 Antonia gave birth to a daughter, who was her last child. They named her Sophia. She was happy to have a baby daughter but her joy didn’t live for long since the child died when she was only eleven months old due to tuberculosis. Antonia cried helplessly “Don’t worry my child I will join you soon. You brought peace in my life. What I have to do living in a world without your tender love.”

Antonia made many attempts to prove that she was a caring and good mother towards her children. She also took charge of the administration very seriously when Louis Auguste was not able to manage himself and lost control of his mind thus putting himself in a vulnerable position. She stopped entertaining her close friend Gabrielle anymore. After years of unrest and many setbacks the King and Queen on 4 June 1789 again lost their elder son Louis Joseph due to prolonged illness at the age of seven which left them with an elder daughter and a son. Antonio feared that she will lose her remaining children, so she constantly brought many physicians to check their state of health. Their dream of being a happy family soon faded away. Meanwhile, the public suffered due to severer famine and increase on the food tax slowly paved way for French revolution. The monarchy also lost lots of money supporting American Revolution to drive away the British. Due to a lot of constant humiliation caused to her by the public, Antonia expressed her anger by foolishly using force to suppress the revolution instead of coming with a peaceful resolution. Dismissing Jacques Necker (director-general of finances) was a disastrous move since he adopted a balanced policy by not raising taxes during France participation of American Revolution against England.

On 14 July 1789, the common people wore the red cap to show their protest and armed with cannon and guns charged at Bastille (a fortress, which was used as a prison to punish the oppressor). Due to chaos and confusion, in spite of Governor Bernard-René de Launay who was in command of troops stationed there trying to make peace with them, they ended up fighting but the common people gained victory and got total control of weapons held inside the fortress and also arrested Bernard. He was taken towards Hôtel de Ville where he was severely beaten and stabbed. Later his head was chopped off and placed on a pike along with some of the defenders of the fortress. The heads were carried all the way in the street to express injustice done to the common people.

Soon Louis Auguste came to know about the event. He returned from Versailles to Paris. He agreed to the condition of common people and promised to reinstate Jacques Necker. Everyone pleased with Kings wise move shouted “Long live the King” and “Long live the Nation.” Many wealthy nobles appalled by the situation started to leave the country since they sensed the danger of being in a country filled with mob violence and revolution. Even Gabrielle the Duchesse de Polignac who once led a lavish life under Antonia deserted her. Despite the danger, Louis Auguste and Antonia foolishly continued to lead their lives in the palace of Versailles, while Paris was suffering from bread shortage. On 5 October 1791 without warning all the remaining residents of royals as well, Louis Auguste and Antonia were forced to move from Versailles to Tuileries Palace in Paris. Again Antonia was plagued with several accusations of her involving in immoral sexual activities and this news was circulated in papers. This was a tactic to make her unpopular in the eyes of general public. She by this time got used to this kind of false accusation and stopped fretting about them. She dedicated more time towards her children. She even involved herself in a lot of charitable activities but still, Antonia believed in restoring complete power to the monarchy based on the established tradition of the divine right of kings. She still didn’t understand that her life and family were in mortal danger.

Finally, the day came for them to realize that to leave France will be their best option since the mobs are not letting them leave Paris for any reason.

Louis Auguste cried “This is going too far. My hands are shivering whenever I see those frightening mob. We have to leave this cursed life and start our life elsewhere.”

Antonia hugged her children “Safety of my children is my first priority. We need to leave this place soon. I cannot live in fear anymore.”

Antonia made contacts with Axel von Fersen and asked “Dear Fersen, I need you in this hour of need. I and my children are not safe here anymore. Please help us to get out of this place before it’s too late.”

He looked very tense “Don’t worry my Queen, I take complete responsibility for your safety and I will see that you are out of Paris as soon as possible. Your majesty Do you willing to leave without your husband?”

Antonia cried “I cannot leave without my husband.”

Axel looked over his shoulder “Don’t worry, Please give me some time to hatch a plan.”

Antonia looked at him feverously “You are my only hope. I will be forever in debt for your love and support. Thank you so much.”

Axel looked intensely in her eyes “Every moment we are running out of time. We are surrounded by death. I have to leave now and come back with an arrangement as soon as possible.” He took her hand and kissed it gently.

On 19 June 1791 Finally Axel von Fersen returned and explained his plan to Antonia “Your Majesty this is the plan we have to follow. Your governess Louise-Elisabeth de Tourzel will assume the role of a Russian baroness. You will pretend to be the nurse and kings Sister Madame Elisabeth will be the governess. The King will play the role of a servant. Marquis de Lafayette the leader of National Guard will bring the carriage to take you to Varennes at midnight tomorrow. If all goes according to the plan you will be free from the clutches of those heartless mob. So be prepared tomorrow. Don’t be afraid God will be on our side.”

Next day on June 20 at 11:15 pm Antonia’s children were safely brought out of Tuileries Palace. Soon Louis-Auguste and his sister joined them. Antonia still took some time to get out.

Axel looked worried and whispered “What’s taking the queen to leave. The carriage will be here anytime by now.”

Marquis de Lafayette arrived half an hour later with some of his men with torched carriage and Antonia too came out at the same time. Axel motioned everyone to climb into the carriage silently. Immediately Axel drove the carriage swiftly. Antonia throughout the journey kept praying to God for their safety. While the carriage rattled and bumped on the uneven road with six horses neighing from time to time.

On June 21 by evening all reached Sainte-Menehould. As soon as they stopped, everyone climbed down in front of a house. The man inside the house named Drouet came out to see the visitors. Royals pretended as if they are just some passer-by needed some rest but Drouet recognized Louis Auguste as King Louis XVI. He enquired about where they are heading. Once they left he later alerted their enemies about the route they have taken. Finally, they reached Varennes by 11 pm on 22 June. Everyone took a deep breath and laughed with relief for they finally made it. Everyone sat under a tree trying to regain from the tedious journey they went through. They rested for an hour.

Antonio looked at her children tenderly and said: “Finally we are free from that country filled with hate.”

Axel spoke sharply “My queen I am afraid we shouldn’t stop here for long. We need to reach citadel of Montmédy until then we are still not safe.”

Everyone got into the carriage again and while they headed towards the intended destination. A sudden appearance of cavalry blocking their path shouted “Halt.” Everyone’s heart was beating so fast as if it is going to explode any moment.

Antonia’s son asked, “Mommy, what happened?”

She tried to comfort her child “Oh! Some people like to know who we are, better tell them our secret.”

The child smiled thinking it’s some kind of game everyone is playing.

The Royals were taken into custody until the troops from National conventions escorted the unfortunate family back to Paris. The Royals were surrounded by six thousand armed citizens and National Guardsmen. Axel managed to escape from being captured and left France. The Royals were imprisoned once again in the Tuileries Palace. Now many people lost faith on their King since he tried to escape and didn’t care about their revolution. They decided it’s time to erase any trace of monarchy rule and bring France completely under Republic rule. Now the fate of the Royals became grave. People didn’t show a drop of humanity towards them.

Louis Auguste tried many attempts to establish monarchy rule back in France but to no avail. Finally, he was separated from his family and imprisoned in the Temple on 13 August 1792 (An ancient prison in Paris). Soon the fate of king was condemned to be beheaded through guillotine. On Monday, 21 January 1793, Louis Auguste appeared in front of the guillotine, he didn’t show any fear for he was strong in his heart and wished only to forgive those who are responsible for his death. He was quickly beheaded by guillotine on the Place de la Révolution. Some people cared to inform Antonia about her husband’s death and the last words he spoke to the people. She wept and hid her Tears when she saw her children. However, her elder daughter understood the fact that her father had reached heaven. Soon the remaining family was moved to the Temple.

On 3 July 1793 one of the mobs entered their prison chamber and forcefully separated Antonia’s eight-year-old son from her. She cried and begged them with tears not to take her child away. The boy cried “Mother help me.” The mob laughed at her and gave merciless scorn. The mob handed the boy to a cobbler to take care of him and make him forget the fact that he had any Royal connection. Antonio sadly hoped someday her son will grow up to be a man and rule France like his father. On 6 October the mob forced the innocent boy to sign a confession letter that her mother and aunts molested him so that they use this in the trial against her to prove Antonia is not a woman of good virtue.

On the night of 1 August 1793 after a tearful farewell to her daughter and sister in law, Antonia was moved from the Temple to an isolated cell in the Conciergerie. Rosalie Lamorliere the only servant of Antonia who took care of her during her last days.

Antonia smiled at her and looked at the window of prison cell “What’s your name?”

Rosalie answered timidly “Rosalie Lamorliere.”

Antonia pressed further “Are you part of this revolution.”

Rosalie answered “I am just a humble daughter of a shoemaker. I don’t see how the revolution can make my life any better.”

Antonia asked her with a smile “So what will be my fate?”

Rosalie cried “Please don’t ask me.”

Antonio anxiously asked her “Did you see my son.”

Rosalie replied “Yes”

Antonio with tears “Is he fine?”

Rosalie looked at her sadly “No. He cries for his mother often.”

Antonio wiping her tears “Oh my poor child, tell him that I am always with him and no one can harm him. Can you do that for me?”

Rosalie took a deep breath “Yes I will surely do that for you.”

Antonia looked at her with a little bit of satisfaction and prayed to God.

On 14 October 1793 Antonia was taken to the court and they judged her without pity and in the end, she was humiliated by branding her as an improper mother who molested her own son.

Antonia felt hurt to this allegation and said: “I would like to speak to all the mothers present here, will you accept being accused of such heartless allegation.”

Many women stood up for her. One of the women spoke for her “How come you people be so cruel to question the purity of a mother.”

Another woman said “I am a woman. You men don’t know what it means to raise a child.”

Antonia wiped her tears “Thank you so much for defending me. Now I can die in piece.”

There was a guilty silence in the court but still, the final verdict was death for her.

On 16 October 1793 few hours before Antonia’s death she wrote a letter to her sister in law showing concern about her children’s future and thanked her for taking care of them during her absence. The cruel mobs deliberately hid the letter from her sister in law since they thought of her letter nothing more than an empty prattles. Soon it was time for her execution. She had to wear a white dress to show she is a widow. The mobs bound her hands behind her back with a rope. She sat on the cart, which carried her to the execution ground. The mobs launched insults upon her without humanity. Antonia looked at the sky and the sun shined on her face. Her last thought was about parting from her children and family. When she finally reached the scaffold her eyes were clouded with tears and accidentally she stepped on the executioner's foot. Antonia without looking at his face said: “Pardon me, sir, I meant not to do it." Her head was placed on the guillotine, she closed her eyes and prayed “Please give me courage and make my death swift and painless.” She opened her eyes one last time and closed it tightly. Soon the blade was released. After that everything became black. The mob cheered that they finally got rid of their last Queen.

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Praveen Newman. All rights reserved.

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