Marie Antoinette's Prayer Book

James L. Stanfield/National Geographic/Getty Images 

This photograph is of Marie Antoinette's last inscription in her prayer book.  On October 16, 1793, at half past four in the morning, the weary, frightened queen scribbled these words in the back of her prayer book, "My God, have pity on me! My eyes have no more tears to cry for you my poor children; adieu! adieu!"

The slender prayer book was printed in 1757 and bound in olive green Moroccan leather and stamped with gold lacework.  Inside, it is stamped with the decree "Office of the Divine Providence for the use for the Royal House of Saint Louis at St. Cyr and of all the Faithful." 

The prayer book was one of the few possessions allowed the queen in her final, dismal days in the Conciergerie. 

One can imagine her flipping through the tissue thin vellum pages in an anxiety fueled desire to find words of comfort. 

Then, scratching out those few, anguish filled words in hopes they would bring some comfort to her children.

Sadly, her children never saw her final message.  The book was delivered to Robespierre, who kept it, and other mementos of the royal family, hidden in a secret compartment beneath his bed.

(Information gathered from various sources including New York Times article titled Marie Antoinette's Prayer Book Found, August, 11, 1912)

Comments

  1. Such sad and powerful words from Marie-Antoinette...It is so cool that they found that letter, and I would love to see in person. Great post as always!

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