In our final episode about the ladies of Marie Antoinette there wasn’t anyone closer in those final months than her sister in law Madame Elisabeth.
The youngest child of Louis and Marie-Joseph, her older brothers would become king over the next 70 years. Born on May 3, 1764 a year later her father died and she spent most of her time in the shadow of the older brothers living a carefree life at court. When she came of age, Louis XVI wanted to marry her off but she begged him not to so she can remain with her family. Which is exactly what she did until the end of her life.
Pledging a life to God she was off the marriage market and at 19 her brother purchased a chateau in Montreuil as her own private estate. She wasn’t allowed to spend the night there until she was 25 so she visited each day riding a horse back and forth each night. The day she came of age on May 3, 1789 she stayed what would be only a few months at her beloved chateau.
On the night of October 5, 1789 she and the family were forced to leave it all behind for Paris. Ever the loyal sister she went with them all the way to the Temple prison in 1793. In a small cell once the family was pulled apart Elisabeth remained with Marie hidden away from the world.
As her brother was taken to the guillotine on January 21, 1793 her sister in law followed as she was pulled away and taken to the Conciergerie. At first the Convention was going to exile Elisabeth but after the “trial” of Marie Antoinette and the false accusations against her the “sister of the tyrant” was going to end with the same fate.
In the final hours of her life, Marie Antoinette wrote a letter to Madame Elisabeth that would never reach her, intercepted by Robspierre. Months later and unaware that MA had been killed she had her own date with the guillotine. Just prior to being carted through the city she learned that MA had also been killed. On May 10, 1794 she sat next to the blade and had to watch all 24 people die before it was her turn. Each person walked by kissing her hand before they died. She spent every day of her life giving others comfort.
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