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It was the anniversary of Marie Antoinette’s Guillotining at the Place de la Revolution in Paris this Tuesday, 16th October.
Marie Antoinette, born Archduchess of Austria, was in line to become Queen of France when she married the future Louis XVI of France in 1774.
She’s famous for something she likely never said, “Let them eat cake” — but even if she never said that, her spending habits and hardline anti-reform position in the French Revolution probably made the situation in France worse.
At an auction house in Paris yesterday a pair of her ornate slippers were sold for 50,000 euros (£40,600) on the anniversary of the French queen’s execution.
The auction house Paris Druout had expected the green-and-pink silk shoes to sell for up to 10,000 euros.
Auctioneers said they had been flooded with bids from around the world.
Other artefacts on sale belonging to the 18th Century monarch included portraits and a dinner set once owned by her husband, King Louis XVI.
“Obviously, it’s rather rare to find objects that belonged to the queen, particularly dresses or more intimate things,” said art expert Cyrille Boulay.
“I have been doing the job of historical artefacts expert for 20 years now, and it’s just the second time that I have a pair of shoes on sale.
Lots at the auction included artwork, clothing and furniture.
“So it’s rather exceptional and therefore of course, it has sparked an international interest.”
Louis XVI married Marie Antoinette, daughter of the emperor and empress of Austria, in 1770 and the couple amassed an opulent collection of artwork and furniture.
The queen’s extravagant spending habits caused her to be nicknamed “Madame Deficit”.
Following the French Revolution, she was convicted of treason and guillotined in the French capital on 16 October 1793.
A fragment of a patterned silk dress she owned before her arrest was also included in the 80 lots auctioned on Wednesday, a day after the anniversary of her death. (courtesy of BBC NEWS)
MARIE ANTOINETTE and the GUILLOTINE
What did the once-beautiful queen look like at the time of her death sentence? Charles Lacretelle, a French historian who lived between1766-1855, wrote this:
Sorrow had blanched the Queen’s once beautiful hair; but her features and air still commanded the admiration of all who beheld her; her cheeks, pale and emaciated, were occasionally tinged with a vivid colour at the mention of those she had lost … she had cut off her hair with her own hands. Placed in a tumbrel, with her arms tied behind her, she was taken by a circuitous route to the Place de la Revolution, and she ascended the scaffold with a firm and dignified step, as if she had been about to take her place on a throne by the side of her husband.
What did she wear on her last day?
Marie Antoinette wore a white gown, a white handkerchief covered her shoulders, a white cap her hair; a black ribbon bound this cap round her temples … The cries, the looks, the laughter, the jests of the people overwhelmed her with humiliation; her colour, changing continually from purple to paleness, betrayed her agitation … On reaching the scaffold she inadvertently trod on the executioner’s foot. “Pardon me,” she said, courteously. She knelt for an instant and uttered a half- audible prayer; then rising and glancing towards the towers of the Temple, “Adieu, once again, my children,” she said; “I go to rejoin your father.” (Lacretelle)
That’s the French for you!!