The 10th of August 1792 is one of the key dates of the French Revolution. Why was the populace of Paris so enraged at the King and Queen?
The war on Austria had been declared a few months earlier, and had turned into a military disaster for France. The Austrians and their Prussian allies were advancing fast into French territory. Reports of their atrocities spread to Paris. Along their path, villages were set ablaze, women were violated by entire battalions, civilians were slaughtered. Patriots volunteered to defend the Nation at this hour of desperate need. From the perspective of the King and Queen, the Austrians and Prussians would restore the monarchy under its traditional form, and their rapid success was welcome news. From the standpoint of the Parisians, foreign invaders were the enemy, and Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, along with their followers, were traitors. The divorce between the monarchy and Paris was now complete. The closer the foreign armies drew to Paris, the greater the royal family’s danger became. Preparations had been made openly for days for an attack on the royal palace of the Tuileries.
In my first novel, Mistress of the Revolution, I chose to place my heroine, Gabrielle, at the Tuileries on the 10th of August. I based her recollections and reactions on the Memoirs of two eyewitnesses who saw the storming of the Tuileries from the inside of the palace: Madame de Tourzel, Governess of the Royal Children, and Madame Campan, First Chambermaid to the Queen (more…)