After the fall of the monarchy on the 10th of August 1792, the dethroned Queen was imprisoned in the Tower of the Temple, along with her husband, Louis XVI, their children and Madame Elisabeth, the King’s younger sister.
The following December, Louis XVI stands trial before the National Convention, the elected body that now governs France. Louis is executed on the 21st of January 1793. Then, the following August, Marie-Antoinette is transferred, alone, without her children or sister-in-law Madame Elisabeth, to the jail of La Conciergerie. It is located within the premises of the main Courthouse of Paris, next to the Revolutionary Tribunal. For an ordinary prisoner that would mean that trial is imminent.
But Marie-Antoinette is no ordinary prisoner. She may have some value as a hostage in war negotiations with the Austrians, and the National Convention sends emissaries to that effect to the enemy. But Marie-Antoinette’s brothers, Joseph II and Leopold II, no longer reign over Austria. The new Holy Roman Emperor, Francis II, her nephew, has never met her. He is not ready to compromise the hopes of a victory against the French armies for the sake of an aunt he does not know (more…)