Historians and biographers often immortalize the last words of famous people before they die. Some would leave words of wisdom before passing on, while others think of leaving funny one-liners. But did you know what the French queen said before she was executed?
On her way to the guillotine, the French Queen Marie Antoinette accidentally stepped on the executioner’s foot. Her last words were “Pardonnez-Moi, monsieur,” apologizing to him.
The Fall of the French Monarchy
At the cusp of the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette was in the limelight of the public eye. She was seen to have spent extravagantly while commoners had little to no food to eat. It was thought that she was the primary reason why the country went bankrupt when in fact, the country’s resources had been depleted in the previous wars before she even took the throne. (Source: Fantastic Facts)
At the time, the Revolutionary National Assembly had already set its goals on abolishing feudalism and restricting monarchy. As a result, Antoinette became the main target of popular agitators, and in October 1789, the family was held hostage upon their return to Paris from Versailles.
At the same time, Antoinette worked on restoring the monarchy’s authority through relationships she formed and maintained with rulers of other nations, including her brother in Austria. Her relationship with the Austrian monarchy as the French declared war against Austria enraged the people. This led to the storming of the Tuileries Palace to overthrow the royal family on August 10, 1792.
The royal family was thrown in prison. In January 1793, Antoinette’s husband, King Louis XVI, was executed on orders from the National Convention. She was then sentenced to solitary confinement a few months after her husband’s execution. (Source: Britannica)
Antoinette was brought to the Revolutionary Tribunal on October 14, 1793, and was sentenced to execution by guillotine scheduled two days later. As she made her way to her execution, the queen accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner. Being the person who was born out of royalty, she apologized to the executioner, saying Pardonnez-Moi, monsieur. These were her last words. (Source: Mental Floss)
Other Famous People’s Last Words
Here are some of the famous people’s last words.
A linguist and editor of the English Dialect Dictionary, Joseph Wright, uttered the word dictionary before he died.
Birth control advocate Margaret Sanger’s last words were A party! Let’s have a party!
Nostradamus predicted his death, saying tomorrow at sunrise, I shall no longer be here. He died the next day.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s last words were I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.
Charles Lucky Luciano, an Italian mob boss, died saying, tell Georgie I want to get in the movies, one way or another. His life has been featured in many movies ever since.
John Wayne, a famous Hollywood actor, turned to his wife before he died, saying, of course I know who you are. You are my girl. I love you.
Ernest Hemingway told his wife goodnight, my kitten, before committing suicide.
(Source: Mental Floss)