Courtesy even at the tragic end: Marie Antoinette apologizes to her executioner

February 20, 2014

Execution of Marie-Antoinette by French School.

Execution of Marie-Antoinette by French School.

The cart drew up at the scaffold. Marie Antoinette alighted easily and ascended to the platform. She submitted to the executioners, shaking her cap from her head herself, and stepping accidentally on Sanson’s foot. “Pardon, Monsieur,” she involuntarily exclaimed. His assistants seized her; “Make haste,” she cried. It was all over in four minutes, and at 12:15 Sanson held up the Queen’s head.


Rupert Fourneaux, The Last Days of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI (New York: The John Day Company, 1971), 157.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 361



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