Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Widow Capet

Above is a posthumous portrait depicting Marie-Antoinette in the Temple prison after the murder of her husband. A bit idealized (I doubt that she had a bust of Louis XVI at hand) it is nevertheless based upon a Vigee-Lebrun portrait. The queen did have her missal with her, because it is recorded that the Revolutionaries later took it away when she was sent to the Conciergerie. Antonia Fraser mentions in Marie-Antoinette: The Journey that the queen would ask her sister-in-law Madame Elisabeth to read the words of the Mass to her from the missal. (In the Temple prison they were forbidden to receive the sacraments.)

Here are the statements of Louis XVI concerning his wife from his Last Will and Testament:
I commend my children to my wife; I have never doubted her maternal tenderness for them. I enjoin her above all to make them good Christians and honest individuals; to make them view the grandeurs of this world (if they are condemned to experience them) as very dangerous and transient goods, and turn their attention towards the one solid and enduring glory, eternity. I beseech my sister to kindly continue her tenderness for my children and to take the place of a mother, should they have the misfortune of losing theirs.
I beg my wife to forgive all the pain which she suffered for me, and the sorrows which I may have caused her in the course of our union; and she may feel sure that I hold nothing against her, if she has anything with which to reproach herself.
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4 comments:

alice L. said...

Brought tears to my eyes.....

tubbs said...

I believe that sensualists can be exquisitely adept at cruelty, and this explains the French and their treatment of M.A.

lara77 said...

The King's letter is so moving and shows his heart and kindness. He forgave his murderers and prayed his death would not bring misfortune to his beloved people. One just has to read the history of France from the point of the King's murder. There was to be no peace for France; either internally or from abroad. The French People paid a huge price for this great crime against an annointed sovereign King.

Matterhorn said...

Yes, Louis XVI was very eloquent in writing.