If you know about Marie Antoinette’s last day you know that in her final hours she kept her poise, threw back her head and with the candle that was lent to her, wrote her family a last goodbye, addressing her sister-in-law. Marie was known for her honesty and in this last moment, with graceful efficiency, she expressed how her sister, her children, her friends and family, had brought her comfort in the midst of unimaginable tragedy and upheaval. She hoped that her children will learn this lesson themselves and it’s one we all could use a refresher on now and then.
Marie Antoinette’s Last Written Words
It is to you my sister that I write for the last time. I have just been condemned, not to a shameful death, for it is shameful only for criminals, but to rejoin your brother. Like him innocent, I hope to display the same firmness as he did in his last moments. I am calm as one is when one’s conscience holds no reproach.
I regret deeply having to abandon my poor children. You know that I lived only for them and for you, my good and kind sister. In what a situation do I leave you, who from your affection sacrificed everything to be with us. I learned from the pleading at the trial that my daughter was separated from you. Alas! Poor child, I dare not write to her, she would not receive it. I do no know even if this will reach you. Receive my blessing on them both. I hope that one day, when they are older, they will be able to join you again and profit to the full from your tender care and that they both remember what I have always tried to instill in them: that the principles and the execution of their duty should be the chief foundation of their life, that their affection and mutual trust will make it happy. Let my daughter remember that in view of her age she should always help her brother with the advice that her greater experience and her affection may suggest, and let them both remember that in whatever situation they may find themselves they will never be truly happy unless united. Let them learn from our example how much consolation our affection brought us in the midst of our unhappiness and how happiness is doubled when one can share it with a friend – and where can one find a more loving and truer friend than in one’s own family?
Let my son never forget his father’s last words, which I distinctly repeat to him, never to try to avenge our death. …I sincerely beg pardon of God for all the faults I have committed in my life. I hope that in His goodness he will receive my last wishes, and those I have long since made, that He may receive my soul in His mercy and goodness.
I ask pardon of all those I know and of you my sister in particular, for all the distress I may, without wishing it, have caused them. I forgive all my enemies the harm they have done me. I say farewell here to my aunts and to all my brothers and sisters. I had friends. The idea of being separated for ever [sic] from them and their troubles forms one of my greatest regrets in dying. Let them know, at least, that up to my last moment I was thinking of them.
“Farewell my good and loving sister. May this letter reach you! Think of me always. I embrace you with all my heart, together with those poor, dear children. My God! What agony it is to leave them for ever [sic]! Farewell! Farewell.”
What are you thankful for? Hopefully you can be near it this holiday season. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.