Last treasures of the French royal family go under the hammer in Paris





The last remaining treasures of the French royal family – including a silk purse embroidered by Queen Marie Antoinette in her prison cell – will be auctioned in Paris next week. The objects, including jewellery, paintings, miniatures and furniture, are the remnants of one of the greatest royal fortunes in Europe, diminished first by revolution and, more recently, by scandal. The auction is also the latest chapter in a dispute that broke in 1999 upon the death of the pretender to the French throne, the Comte de Paris.

Among the items expected to generate much interest and excitement is "a royal silk purse" embroidered by Queen Marie Antoinette while she was being held at the Temple Prison in 1792. The ivory coloured purse, which is embroidered with roses, includes a copy of the last letter written by the queen, to her sister-in-law, Madame Elisabeth, dated 16 October 1793.

In the celebrated final letter, written just hours before her execution in what is now the Place de la Concorde, Marie Antoinette, by then a wizened woman of 48, wrote: "I pardon my enemies the wrongs that they have done me ... I also had friends ... Let them know that, to my last moment, I was thinking of them."

The purse has been estimated to be worth about €15,000 (£12,000). Also up for auction is the quill used by King Louis Philippe to sign the act of abdication in 1848, and rosary beads belonging to his wife, Queen Marié-Amelie, with a much more affordable price tag of €300-€500.

The artefacts, which will be auctioned at Christie's, are mostly from the Parisian apartment of the late Count and Countess of Paris, and are being sold by their nine children and one nephew in an attempt to replenish family funds depleted by their father.




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