Thursday, June 13, 2019

Marie-Antoinette at Saint Denis

Catherine Delors beautifully describes the statue of the Queen over her tomb at the Basilica of Saint Denis, and how it reflects the transformation of her relationship with Louis XVI. To quote:
Here... she is pensive, humble, leaning forward and sideways towards her husband. This is very moving in light of the evolution of the royal couple's complex relationship: mutual coldness at first, then disdain on her part, gradually followed by ever increasing closeness, respect and affection. During their last months together at the Temple, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette cared for each other in the deepest sense of the word. She was devastated by his death, and his last earthly concerns were for her and their children.

I believe this sculpture beautifully captures this. There was definitely more than propaganda to the Saint-Denis reburials.
I agree; the royal couple became more and more devoted to each other over the years. I think that the deaths of their baby Sophie and then of their oldest son Louis-Joseph in 1787 and 1789 respectively brought them closer together, too, even before the long imprisonment forged them into one. It has been described by eyewitnesses how she threw herself into Louis' arms when he returned from Paris in June 1789, after Bastille Day. According to Lemaire:
This princess, as virtuous as she was amiable, whom monsters later on accused of having never loved her husband, was absolutely in despair. As soon as she heard the King's carriage entering the Cour Royale she ran towards him holding the Dauphin in her arms, then breathless and almost fainting she fell into those of the King who was no less moved than she was. Holding out one hand to his children who covered it with kisses, with the other wiping the tears from the eyes of Marie-Antoinette and Madame Elisabeth, Louis XVI smiled again...he kept on repeating: "Happily no blood was shed, and I swear that not a drop of French blood will ever be shed on my orders."
~ Histoire de la Revolution Francaise (3 vol.) by M.H. Lemaire, 1816
The focus of my novel Trianon is the evolution of the relationship of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette and how they developed from adolescent strangers into a couple who could be separated only by death. Share


Passages to the Past said...

Such a heart-wrenching scene and tragic story! I look forward to reading your novels in the future (you know, economics being what they are today). I grow more fond of Marie and Louis every day, especially when visiting your site!

elena maria vidal said...

I am delighted to hear that you feel you are getting to know them and growing in fondness, for that is one of the missions of this blog.

Catherine Delors said...

Many thanks for the link, Elena!

Lucy said...

I just can't wait to read it, Elena. Finally I realistic take on Marie Antoinette's life. Thanks,

May said...

"...I swear that not a drop of French blood will ever be shed on my orders." A very different attitude from that of the revolutionaries!

elena maria vidal said...

You are welcome, Catherine.

You will enjoy it, Lucy!

VERY different, Hummingbird.