And now a page from our “Sunday Morning” Almanac: October 16th, 1793, 223 years ago today ... the day a notorious royal lost her head -- literally.
For that was the day Marie Antoinette, the deposed Queen of France, was guillotined.
Born to Austrian royalty, Marie Antoinette was the child bride of the future French King Louis XVI.
Still only a teenager when she became Queen, she quickly acquired a reputation for extravagant living that survives in popular culture to this day.
Joely Richardson portrayed the Queen in the 2001 film “The Affair of the Necklace,” a recounting of a jewelry fraud which further fueled popular resentment of the French monarchy.
Anger boiled over into revolution in 1789, and over time, the monarchs were reduced to prisoners.
Louis XVI was executed in January of 1793.
Marie Antoinette followed him to the scaffold nine months later, at the age of 37.
Marie Antoinette’s sinister reputation is not entirely deserved. Turns out, she was actually INNOCENT of that necklace fraud.
And, contrary to popular belief, there’s no proof she ever said of the hungry masses, “Let them eat cake.”