Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria - Coronation

Queen Victoria’s Coronation

19th century England was to see a new Monarch on the English Throne, one who would rule her empire for sixty-three years, and the last of the House of Hanover.

Alexandrina Victoria was born on the 24th May 1819 at Kensington Palace in London, making her first sounds as she entered this world.  Her father was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strasthearn, and he was the fourth son of King George III who reigned from (1760-1820), and her German mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.

Victoria was christened on the 24th June 1819 in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace by the Archbishop of Canterbury; Charles Manners-Sutton in a private ceremony.  She was baptised Alexandrina after Emperor Alexander I of Russia, one of her godparents and Victoria after her mother.

Her early years were met with tragedy when her father Prince Edward the Duke of Kent died on the 23rd January 1820, and six days later her grandfather, King George III died on the 29th January 1820.

At the time of her birth Victoria was fifth in succession to the English throne.  Her father Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent died in 1820, having three older brothers who themselves were in line to the throne.

After the Death of Edward, Duke of Kent, the Duchess of Kent, and her daughter resided at apartments in Kensington Palace.

Victoria showed she had a flare for drawing and painting, and was educated at home by her governess Louise Lehzen, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor.

Her mother the Duchess hired the services of John Conroy to run the household, and it has been suggested he may have been her lover, but there is no official evidence to the fact, and the two of them ran Victoria’s life for her.  They chose who she could meet with, making her highly dependent upon them.

In the year 1811, King George III’s mental illness made him unfit to rule in the latter years of his life, and his eldest son became Prince Regent, and in 1820 he became King George IV upon his father’s death.

He married the Princess Caroline of Brunswick in 1795, and she only gave him one child which died at birth.  He tried unsuccessfully to divorce her on the grounds of adultery, but shortly after his appointment to King of England, she died in 1821, leaving no heirs to the English throne.

Technically he was a bigamist at the time, for he had secretly married Mrs Fitzherbert a Roman Catholic in 1785.

He had actually broken the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, which still stands to this day.  Any member of the Royal Family under the age of 25 requires the reigning monarch’s approval, and over 25 approvals by the Privy Council.

On the 15th July 1830, King George IV died, and William IV became the new king aged 64.  He made no secret of the fact, that he distrusted the Duchess of Kent.  He knew she and John Conroy had designs on creating a “Regency” and the Duchess would act as a Regent, much like the situation between George III and his son George IV.  This could only happen if King William IV died before Victoria reached the age of 18.

Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany died in 1827, one of King George III’s other sons, with King George dying in 1830, made William IV our next King, with Victoria being his successor.

William IV received the title; “Duke of Clarence” and from 1791-1811 set up home with his mistress Dorothy Bland an Irish actress, and they had ten children, all who bore the surname “Fitzclarence.”

With the death of his brother, ascended to the English Throne: King William IV of England, aged 64 and was crowned on 8th September 1831 at Westminster Abbey.

In 1811 William IV had married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, eager to produce legitimate heirs to the English Throne, but that was not to be, they had four children of which none lived past infancy.

Alexandrina Victoria was 18 on the 24th May 1837 and King William IV died on the 20th June 1837, and went to his grave, knowing Victoria would become Queen and foiled the Duchess from creating a Regency.

Even though Victoria was Queen, law stated she had to live within her mother’s household.  The young Queen had her moved to remote apartments within Kensington Palace, and banned John Conroy from her presence.  Yet, he still remained part of her mother’s household.

Victoria was tormented by her presence, and marriage was the only way she could be free of her mother.  So on the 10th February 1840, she married Prince Albert in the Chapel Royal of St.James Palace in London.

Within days the Duchess of Kent was moved from the palace to Ingestre House in Belgrave Square, and later was given Clarence and Frogmore House.

Victoria’s important political adviser in her early years was Lord Melbourne, as well as her companion, a position which was taken over by Prince Albert her husband.

Aged just eighteen when the young Victoria came to the throne, it must have seemed a daunting thought to her, she being the new ruler of England.  This was what she had been prepared for…

Alexandrina Victoria ascended to the English throne on the 20th June 1837, and was crowned Queen Victoria of England on the 28th June 1838 at Westminster Abbey.

On the 10th February 1840, Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were to have nine children, and most were married into other Royal Families across Europe, creating descendants all the way back to Queen Victoria herself.

Victoria, Princess Royal (1840-1901) married Frederick III Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia.

Edward VII (1841-1910) married Princess Alexandra, daughter of Christian IX King of Denmark.

Alice (1843-1878) married Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse.

Alfred Duke of Edinburgh and of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha(1844-1900) married Grand Duchess Marie daughter of Alexander II, Emperor of Russia.

Helena (1846-1923) married Christian of Schleswig-Holstein.

Louise (1848-1939) married John Campbell the 9th Duke of Argyll.

Arthur, Duke of Connaught (1850-1942) married Princess Louise of Prussia.

Leopold, Duke of Albany (1853-1884) married Helen of Waldeck – Pyrmont.

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944) married Henry of Battenburg.

When Europe was split apart by the First World War (1914-1918), it would see descendants of Victoria and Albert take up arms against each other.

Personal tragedy was to strike Queen Victoria down in 1861, when Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince consort and her devoted partner for 21 years died, ripping her heart out, and sending her into mourning for many years.

If we look at the history timeline through the ages:

Queen Victoria’s son Edward VII (1841-1910) married Princess Alexandra of Denmark (1844-1925).

One of their five children, became George V (1865-1936) married Mary of Tech (1867-1953).

One of their six children, became Edward VIII King of England in 1936, as the eldest child, a time honoured custom, and chose to abdicate to marry Wallis Simpson.

So the next in line stepped forward, George VI (1895-1952) and married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (1900-2002).

One of their two children, became Queen Elizabeth II our current Queen.

Queen Victoria’s daughter Alice (1843-1878) married Louis IV of Hesse (1837-1892)

One of their two children Victoria of Hesse (1863-1950) marries Louis of Battenburg, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven (1854-1921).

One of their three children, Alice of Battenburg (1885-1967) marries Andrew of Greece (1882-1944).

Their only child is Philip Duke of Edinburgh who married Elizabeth II our current Queen.

As we can see both are descendants of Queen Victoria, and the timeline ever expands with each new birth.

In the early years, she learnt to rely on two men for guidance; Lord Melbourne, who was more like a father figure to her, like the father she never had, and her husband Prince Albert whom she married in 1840.  These two men taught her how to rule the country, what powers she had and what was controlled by Parliament.  This would help her understand her people, and create an Empire to be proud of, one for future generations.

One of her first acts that took place a few years after her marriage was to be the first reigning monarch, to ride upon the train as used by the public.  Newspapers covered the journey with pictures, spread across the papers pages.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, between them had nine children.  In 1845 they purchased Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, which was given to the nation by Edward VII, her son, and Prince Albert purchased Balmoral upon which was built a neo-Gothic styled castle for the family.

Victoria’s life fell apart in 1861, when her husband Albert died aged 42.  She lost a devoted partner and friend, one she could trust with state affairs.  She was never seen wearing anything but black, during the rest of her reign, she was in a permanent state of mourning.

From the 1860’s to the mid-1870’s, Victoria carried her state duties from behind closed doors.  It was with the help of Benjamin Disraeli, she gradually resumed her public duties, many of which had been undertaken on her behalf by her son; Edward VII.

During her reign Queen Victoria became the target of seven unsuccessful assassinations attempts on her life. One of those took place in 1840, when Edward Oxford fired two shots at the young Queen, whilst riding in her open carriage with Prince Albert, near Buckingham Palace.  Stunned onlookers seized the gunman, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity.  Victoria just brushed herself down, and continued her ride amongst her people, which increased her popularity.

The Victoria Cross was introduced in 1857 to honour acts of bravery during the Crimean War.

In 1864, Queen Victoria stepped in to avert a second Franco-German war, with a letter to the German Emperor, whose son had married her daughter.  What it is to have family connections in the right place.

The Indian Mutiny of 1857 saw the Indian Government transferred to that of the Crown, with the Governor General becoming the Viceroy of India.  Then in 1877, Victoria became Empress of India under the Royal Titles Act by Disraeli’s government.

With the Sovereign power slowly reclining, she proved if one could master political understanding of politics, one could exert influence, as she demonstrated in her mediation between the Lords and Commons.  In the Irish Church Disestablishment Act of 1869 and Reform Act of 1884.  Often she was forced to pass her opinions in private only.

She favoured ways to improve the way of life for the poor; housing, education, hospitals, a subject close to her late husband’s heart.

On the 22nd January 1901, after a reign of almost 64 years, Queen Victoria died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.  She was buried at Windsor Castle alongside her husband Prince Albert in the Frogmore Royal Mausoleum, built for their final resting place.

“Farewell best beloved, here at last I shall rest with thee, with thee in Christ I shall rise again.”  These words were inscribed above the Mausoleums door.

Queen Victoria Memorial

Queen Victoria Memorial

After her death, a memorial statue was placed in front of Buckingham Palace, depicting a great Queen; Queen Victoria (1819-1901) who reigned from (1837-1901).

Wikipedia Images

Arabella Stuart

Arabella Stuart

Arabella Stuart

Arabella Stuart married William Seymour the nephew of Lady Jane Grey without the royal permission of King James I.  Arabella was placed under house arrest and William was sent to the Tower.

Arabella plotted William’s release, so they both could escape to France, but William missed their rendezvous.  Arabella travelled alone, was recognised and returned to England, and sent to the Tower of London.  William on the other hand gained his freedom.

Arabella died in the Queen’s House in 1615, actual cause of death unknown, probable cause murder.

To this day she roams the Tower of London, and has been witnessed by many.

Abdication of King Edward VIII

Edward VIII - Wallis Simpson

Edward VIII – Wallis Simpson

On the 23rd June 1894, Edward Albert Christian George was born at White Lodge in Richmond, to parents King George V and Queen Mary.

Edward, the Prince of Wales, served in the Army in World War One, but was not permitted to go to the front.

He became a celebrity playboy about town, and had several affairs with married women, and high on the list was; Mrs Wallis Simpson.

On the 20th January 1936, King George V died, and Edward ascended to the English throne.

In 1936, Mrs Wallis Simpson obtained a divorce from her second husband, it was clear to see, Edward wanted to be husband number three.

In November of 1936, the uncrowned Edward sent shock waves through Parliament and family.  The two were very much in love, and Edward had to choose Wallis Simpson or the English throne.  She a divorced woman would have been an unacceptable Queen.

On the 11th December 1936, Edward abdicated, which meant any children he might have, were excluded from succession to the English throne.

In 1937 Edward became the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson his Duchess, and the couple were married in France.

The Legend of St.George

Saint George and Dragon

Saint George and the Dragon

The difference between a legend and a fairy story is that a legend is a traditional account handed down from father to son, through the generations, whilst a fairy story is fictional in all senses of the word.

So which one of these was Saint George, and what do we know of the man, who rose to become a Saint.

Georgios was born in the latter part of the 3rd century, between AD275 and AD285.  His father was Anastasius Gerontios Governor of Cappadocia, and his mother Theobaste Polychronia from Lydda, Palestine.

Anastasius and Theobaste were Greek descendants from the noble families of Anici, so young Georgios was raised as a Christian, and taught Christian beliefs.

His world was to fall apart, and at the age of fourteen, his father Anastasius died, and he and his mother returned to her home of Lydda, Palestine.  Tragedy was to strike yet again, within a few short years, when his mother Theobaste, was taken from him; when she died.

Georgios having lost both his parents, went to Nicomedia and presented himself to Emperor Diocletian, for he knew his father well.  He offered up his services, asking to be accepted for a career as a soldier in the Roman Army, and he was welcomed with open arms.

He rose to the rank of Tribune by his late twenties, and was to become part of the imperial guard of Emperor Diocletian.  Possibly chosen for the post by the Emperor himself, being the son of his best official and friend; Anastasius Gerontios.

The year AD302, and Diocletian issued an order which shocked Georgios that every Christian soldier in the Roman Army was to be arrested.  His beliefs in the Christian faith, he had carried with him since he was a young boy … it was a way of life to him.

The thought of turning his back on his Christian faith, and offering a sacrifice to the Roman Gods, more than likely brought out the rebel in him, he being a Christian like his parents before him, and proud of it.

Georgios refused to carry out the order, declaring that he be a Christian in the presence of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes, declaring that he worshipped the one true God … Jesus Christ.

Out of respect for Georgios, Emperor Diocletian attempted without success to convert him, but no amount of lands, money or slaves would get him to make a public sacrifice to the Roman Gods.

In the year AD303, Georgios resigned his post as a Tribune in the Roman Army.  For he knew the fate that lay before him, and gave his wealth to the poor, as he prepared himself for the inevitable.

He was imprisoned and tortured to near death, but never would he deny his faith.  The Emperor had him dragged through the streets.  Promising him, his life would be spared, if he would offer a sacrifice to the Roman Gods, and yet again he would not deny his faith.

The people witnessed this martyr prepared to die for his faith, praying to his God, which outraged the Emperor so much that he had Georgios beheaded for his contempt before the city walls of Nicomedia, on 23rd April AD303.

Emperor Diocletian’s wife, the Empress Alexandra had witnessed such suffering dealt out to this one man, in belief of his faith.  She turned her back on the Roman Gods, and accepted Christianity into her life, and was duly executed along with a pagan priest Athanasius, who had also turned.

His body was taken to Lydda in Palestine, where he was buried.  Soon the site was honoured by Christians visiting the grave of this martyr who sacrificed his life for his faith.

In AD494 Pope Gelasius stated: George was numbered among those saints whose names are justly revered among men, but whose deeds are only known to God, and so it was on the 23rd April 1222 he became Saint George.

When one thinks of Saint George, the first thing that comes to mind is “George and the Dragon” it has become a distinguishing emblem we have grown up with through our childhood days.

The story refers to a dragon, demanding one human and one sheep as a sacrifice from the city.  According to the story Saint George as he is now known, intervened for the fair maiden, and defeated the dragon by slicing the sign of the cross upon him.  The princess then led the defeated dragon into the city, with her girdle about his neck.

George told the people, be not afraid, believe in God and Jesus Christ.  The King and all his people were baptised, and George slew the dragon.

Eastern Orthodox depicts Saint George slaying the dragon, with a fair maiden watching from a distance, and that the dragon represents Satan.  The young maiden is the Empress Alexandra wife of Emperor Diocletian, who had George executed.

So how did this story arise?

Jacques de Voragine, the Dominican Archbishop of Genoa, wrote Latin readings of a mythical legend entitled “Legenda Sanctorum” better known as the “Golden Legend.”  However, the title gave off the wrong meaning, it had meant to describe the lives of Saints.  It was aimed at the heart and soul of Christian readers, rather than their minds.

Jacques de Voragine, created a legend out of a martyr, who would become Saint George in 1222, and he was adopted by the English, mainly due to the “Golden Legend” collection of fanciful stories.  It was not a historical account, for it held no accuracy in the true sense of the word.

It is believed Saint George was adopted by the English, based upon the “Golden Legend” story, which was incorporated into plays performed up and down the country.

The earliest known British reference to Saint George occurs in an account by a 7th century Abbot: St.Adamnan (628-704) born in Drumhome, Donegal, Ireland, and in 679 he became the 9th Abbot of Iona.  During his life he went on to write a description of the East, an account told to him by a French Bishop: Arculf, whose ship was blown aground near Iona on his way back to Jerusalem in Palestine.

George’s reputation grew, as warriors returning home from the Crusades between 1095-1291 wars, spoke of Saint George leading them into battle, giving them confidence.

The earliest known church to be dedicated to Saint George stands in Fordington, which is part of Dorchester, in Dorset.  Taking its name from the River Frome, growing up around Saint George’s Church, where a stone over the south door is dedicated to Saint George telling how he led the crusaders into battle.

For it was in 1348, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377), the “order of the Garter” was established, a premier order of Knighthood in all England, with Saint George as its patronage.

During the reign of Henry V (1413-1422) many soldiers believed they witnessed Saint George fighting at the “Battle of Agincourt” for the English in 1415, and going on to achieve victory.

In 1483, Caxton published the writings by Jacques de Voragine creator of the “Golden Legend” and it was not until the early years of the English Reformation, that this collection of stories attracted the attention of English scholars.

George rose in stature to that of “Patron Saint” of all England during the 14th century.  It was not until 1552, when all saints’ banners were abolished during the English Reformation, except his, that his position in England was truly accepted, and he was regarded as a special protector of the English.

What had been one man’s book of fanciful stories had been changed into the legends of Saint George, when in 1892 William Morris published a limited edition of these works, bringing it back into the limelight.

In 1940 King George VI inaugurated the George Cross for acts of heroism and courage in times of extreme danger.

AGF5X3

Flag of Saint George

The flag of saint George is a red cross on a white background, incorporated into the Union Jack, and also the ensign of the Royal Navy.

Saint George is displayed on horseback slaying a dragon, in St.Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle, built by Edward IV and Henry VII.

How deeply the legend of St.George goes, as a Knight has entered the English consciousness.  He is judged by the repeated mention of his name in the “Works of Henry V” by William Shakespeare.  He has become known, as a knightly figure of our past, one recognised the world over…

On the 23rd April each year, we celebrate the anniversary of Saint George’s death when he was executed in AD303 in Nicomedia.

Wikipedia Images

French Martyr: Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) was born on the 6th January 1412, during the “100 Years War” between England and France, in Doremy in north-eastern France, to parents Jacques and Isabelle.

Joan had no formal education; she could not read or write, yet her upbringing instilled a love of the Catholic Church and its teachings.

Aged just thirteen, she claimed she heard voices from God; her mission in life was to save France by expelling their enemies … the English.

The events taking place in France; an internal was had broken out between two factions of the French Royal Family.  The Armagnac’s led by Count Bernard VII of Armagnac and Duke Charles of Orleans against Duke John-the-Fearless of Burgundy.  With them at war, the door was open for England to invade.

King Henry V of England claimed his right to the French throne and following their rejection, invaded France in August 1415 and went on to defeat Armagnac’s army at the “Battle of Agincourt” on the 25th October 1415.

Henry V conquered much of northern France in 1417, gaining support from Duke Philip III of Burgundy, for he agreed Henry V had a legal claim to the French throne.

In 1428 Joan of Arc met with Duke Charles after many rejections at his palace in Chinon.  She promised him, if he gave her an army she would turn round the war in his favour, and she would see him take his rightful place and crowned King of France at Reims.  There was much opposition to such an idea from loyal supporters of Charles, but he gave her a chance … one wonders what he saw in her.

In March of 1429, Joan of Arc led her army against the English as they were attacking Orlean’s.  She was dressed in white armour upon a white horse carrying a banner with the picture of “Our Saviour” holding the world with two angels at the sides on a white background covered with gold fleurs-de-lis.

Joan was to lead several assaults against the Anglo-Burgundian forces expelling them from their fortress, and forcing their retreat across the Loire River.  As her victories mounted, so did her fame, spread across France.

Joan kept her promise as Duke Charles was crowned King Charles VII of France in July 1429 at Reims.

In the spring of 1430, Joan led her forces against the Burgundian’s at Compiegne, where she was thrown from her horse, and captured.  She was brought before the English commander at the Castle of Bouvreuil at Rouen.  She was put on trial for witchcraft, heresy and dressing as a man.

joan-of-arc

Joan of Arc

On the 30th May aged 19, she was taken to Rouen’s market place, and burned at the stake.  At her execution according to witness statements, it is said she listened calmly to the words being read to her.  She wept as she forgave her accusers, asking that they pray for her.

With the English driven from Rouen in November of 1449 so the process of initiating an appeal case against Joan started as ordered by Charles VII to clear her name.  It was so ruled by Jean Brehal she had been illegally convicted by a corrupt court and finally described as a Martyr … She was a saint in her own right.

In 1920, Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc)  having attained mythical stature was canonised by Pope Benedict XV.

Wikipedia Images

Maximilien de Robespierre

Maximilien de Rebespierre

Maximilien de Robespierre

Maximilien de Robespierre was born on the 6th May 1758, in Arras, France.  His mother died in 1764, and his distraught father just wandered off, leaving him to be raised by his grandparent, along with his brothers and sisters.  He learnt at an early age, what it meant to be poor, when attending school as a charity boy.  These early years, proved to be grounding for his life in later years.

Robespierre won a scholarship to the Louis le Grand College in Paris when he was eleven, and in 1775 was selected to deliver his address in Latin, when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette visited the school.

Having graduated with a law degree, Robespierre practised law in Arras, and his sister Charlotte kept house for him.  He gained a reputation, for representing poor clients against the rich, in his eyes justice was available for all.

It wasn’t long before he took on a public role, where he could express his views; calling for political change in the French Monarchy.  He was elected to the Estates General of the French Legislature in 1788, aged 30.

He became the people’s voice, attacking the French Monarchy and calling for democratic reforms, and opposed the death penalty and slavery.

To promote his agenda, he left government and in April of 1789 was elected to the post of President of the Jacobin political faction.  In 1790 assisted in the creation of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen;” this was the foundation to the French Constitution.

In August of 1792, the people of Paris rose up against King Louis XVI, and Robespierre became head of the Paris delegation of the National Convention.

With his new found post, Robespierre encouraged the Parisians to rise up against the aristocracy, whilst he called for the execution of the King of France.

On the 27th July 1793, Robespierre was elected to the Committee of Public Safety, with virtual dictorial control over the government.

The Revolutionary government was responsible for the Reign of Terror, which would see some 300,000 enemies of the revolution arrested, and more than 17,000 executed by guillotine.  Political opponents to Robespierre found themselves sent to the guillotine.

Robespierre had the power over life and death, as he continued his reign of terror.  It wasn’t long before the Revolutionary government questioned his motives…  A coalition was formed in 1794, by those revolutionaries who once believed in him, who now question his moves, and those of his immediate followers.

On the 27th July 1794, Robespierre and his followers were arrested, he escaped, and the National Convention declared him an outlaw.  He was re-captured at the “Hotel de Ville” in Paris.

On the 28th July 1794, Maximilien de Robespierre a leading voice of the French Revolution, and instigator of the Reign of Terror was executed by guillotine.

Wikipedia Image

Queen Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

Queen Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette was born a princess to Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria and Francis I, the Holy Roman Emperor on the 2nd November 1755 in Vienna, Austria.  It was Maria Theresa’s aim to position her children in places of power through marriage, much like Queen Victoria had done through her children.

On the 16th May 1770, Louis-Auguste (16) the crown prince of France, marries Marie Antoinette (15) in a royal marriage, cementing an alliance between Austria and France.

In 1774, Louis XV died and Louis-Auguste ascended to the French throne as King Louis XVI (20) with his wife Marie Antoinette becoming Queen of France (19).

Some seven years had passed since their marriage, and no off-spring had been born continuing the family line.  Emperor Joseph of Austria, the Queen’s brother had to step in and offer advice.  His intervention saw the birth of Marie Therese Charlotte, less than a year later.

Marie became bored with the court rituals of being a Queen, and constantly being on display.  She sought escape from this life, surrounding herself with questionable friends like; Yolande de Polignac and Therese de Lamballe.  Often lavishing them with expensive gifts and creating positions for them within her household.

It was a life of sheer pleasure; Masked Balls, Gambling, the Theatre, yet she was supposed to be a French Queen, present in Court and part of the French nobility … but she was often absent.

This young Queen, with blonde hair and astounding beauty, set fashion trends across France.  She enjoyed showing off her beauty and style, and spent outrageous amounts on her clothing.

Some envied, other’s hated Marie Antoinette for her contempt of handed down traditions of court etiquette, often interceding on Austrian causes.

Fabricated stories circulated, accusing her of affairs and sexual acts with members of the court … thus muddying her name across Paris.  One act grabbed the nation’s attention: The Diamond Necklace Affair, which would question her moral beliefs.  For it was, one Madame Lamotte, who sought a position in court.  The eligible Prince de Rohan; Cardinal of France was excluded from the Queen’s selected group of loyal friends.

A plot was orchestrated, where Lamotte posed as the Lesbian lover of Marie Antoinette, and she convinced Rohan that the Queen wanted the necklace made by Boehmer for Louis XV’s lover; Madame du Barry.  Rohan obtained the diamond necklace from Boehmer, and then passed it on to Lamotte.  The charade was exposed when Boehmer asked the Queen for payment.

Both King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were outraged at the charade.  Prince de Rohan was arrested, and the trial saw the Monarchy paraded before the nation.

In the late 1780’s France had a series of poor harvests, and those most affected were the country’s poor, peasants’ starved.

France a country with huge debts, found itself unable to repay those inherited from Louis XV.

Tragedy would strike at the heart of the French Monarchy. For it was in 1789; “The Dauphin” son of Louis and Marie died in June from a crippling and agonizing disease.

Louis called upon the Estates in May 1789, a way of gaining support from the common people, to force through much needed reforms.

The Queen wanted to preserve the right of the Monarchy, and opposed any reforms which would give the common people, more say in how France was ruled.

In July 1789 the Bastille was seized by the people.  The King could see a revolution was coming and desired not to provoke the situation.  So on the 15th July, military troops concentrated around Paris were dispersed.

In October of 1789, tales spread through the down trodden Paris slums, of banquets at Versailles Palace whilst their loyal subjects starved.

On the 4th October Parisians demanded bread from the King, and he met with some to hear their grievances.  A number of women gained entrance to the palace, and ripped the Queen’s bed to shreds, as she escaped half-naked.

Situations forced upon them, they moved to Tuileries Palace in Paris, and they would come under the close scrutiny of Parisians, making them vulnerable to possible attack.

It became obvious as to who ruled France; Marie Antoinette … For she sought out assistance from abroad, to step in and restore royal authority in France.

In July of 1792, Prussian armies invaded France, and the people of Paris were warned, if any harm came to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the invading armies would exact revenge upon them.

In August 1792, Tuileries palace was attacked by the people, and some 900 Swiss guards who protected the monarchy lost their lives.

The monarchy was abolished in 1792, which led to the imprisonment of hundreds of aristocrats, of which many lost their lives in prison.  One of these was Madame Lamballe who had returned to Paris to aid Marie Antoinette, and was hacked to death for failing to swear an oath against the Queen.

King Louis XVI and his Queen; Marie Antoinette were held at the Temple Fortress to await their fate.  In December of 1792, Louis was brought before the National Convention on the charge of treason and found guilty.  On the 21st January 1793, he was executed on the guillotine.

Over the next two years, hundreds of aristocrats and people of France would face tribunals and be executed on the guillotine.  In September of 1793, Marie Antoinette was moved to the Conciergerie Prison, where she was under constant guard in solitary confinement.

Exécution of Marie Antoinette

Execution of Marie Antoinette

On the 14th October, she faced the Revolutionary Tribunal, and found guilty and executed by guillotine on the 16th October.

The bodily remains of Marie Antoinette were buried in an unmarked grave, and so ended the life of the Queen of France, the former Princess of Austria aged 38.

Wikipedia Images