The Hideous Procession of Place Bastille

August 3, 2017

The head of Princess Marie-Louise Thérèse of Savoy-Carignan; Princess of Lamballe being processed through the streets.

At the very moment when the hideous procession began its march, Madame de Lebel, the wife of a painter, who owed many benefits to Madame de Lamballe, was trying to get near the prison, hoping to hear news of her.  Seeing the great commotion in the crowd, she inquired the cause. When some one replied:  “It is Lamballe’s head that they are going to carry through Paris,” she was seized with horror, and, turning back, took refuge in a hairdresser’s shop on the Place Bastille.  Hardly had she done so when the crowd entered the Place. The murderers came into the shop and required the hairdresser to arrange the head of the Princess. They washed it, and powdered the fair hair all soiled with blood.

Then one of the assassins cried joyfully: “Now, at any rate, Antoinette can recognize her!”  The procession resumed its march. From time to time they called a halt before a wine shop. Wishing to empty his glass, the scoundrel who had the Princess’s head in his hand, set it flat down on the lead counter. Then it was put back on the end of a pike. The heart was on another pike, and other individuals dragged along the headless corpse.  In this manner they arrived in front of the Temple. It was three o’clock in the afternoon.

Marie Antoinette and the Downfall of Royalty by Imbert de Saint-Amand. 1892, Charles Scribner’s Sons. Pg. 353 & 354

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 586

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