The Verdict


If you don’t want to know what happened to whom, then please don’t read on! If, however, you’re curious about what happened to all these characters who I have bringing to you one by one, then please read on.

Early on the morning of Mary 31, 1786, the courtyard of the Palais de Justice and all of the surrounding streets and byways were filled with people waiting to hear the verdict in the trial of the century, a trial that had captured the imagination on the entire French kingdom. A Cardinal of the Church was accused of theft, forgery, and lèse-majesté(criminal disrespect for the person of the monarch, in this case Marie-Antoinette); a young, pretty adventuress was accused of masterminding a plot to steal a necklace worth a large fortune and tricking the Cardinal; a mystic, Rosicrucian, and fraud was accused of–sort of, somehow–being involved in the theft; and a young prostitute was accused of impersonating the queen in the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles.

Cardinal Prince Louis de Rohan had a very large, very powerful family. As court was opened very early on May 31st, 19 powerful members of his family (from the Soubise, Guéménée, and Lorraine) arrived in mourning. It was a show of support for their relative and respect for the Parlement de Paris, the court hearing the case.

Before this trial began, many witnesses had been examined. It was something of a parade, including everyone from a clockmaker to the Du Barry herself. The Prosecutor General, Monsieur Joly de Fleury, wrote down his recommendations to the court before the accused were brought before it. The recommendations were sealed, to be opened after the accused persons were questioned by the lords of the Parlement. Once this was done, the seal would be broken and the recommendations read and the voted on. Continue reading

Cardinal Rohan

The Characters #2: Prince Louis de Rohan (1734-1803)

Cardinal Prince Louis de Rohan. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Cardinal Prince Louis de Rohan was a prince of the blood. This was a rank in ancien régime France just below the royal family. Those lucky enough to be born princes or princesses of the blood had certain privileges, such as the right of entrée during official ceremonies at Court involving the person of the monarch (like the lever and coucher, the official rising and going-to-bed ceremonies).

The Rohan family was one of the most influential in France. They were based largely in the eastern lands bordering Germany, specifically Saverne and Strasbourg. The family was descended from the kings of Brittany.

Prince Louis was destined for the Church from an early age. His uncle was a Cardinal and bishop, and Louis was the designated successor of these offices. As a talented scion of one of the most important families in France, he had a bright future to look forward to. As a child, he was probably conditioned to think of himself as a possible prime minister of France. In 1760, he took orders, becoming part of the Catholic Church. The Church still held strong influence on France, so Prince Louis was now supported by powerful relatives and the powerful Catholic church. Continue reading