Bourbon Treasures, Part One: The War Chest

The escape of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and their children from the palace of the Tuileries was not only a thrilling episode in the French Revolution, it was also the abode of a major crisis in European history. One of the brothers of Louis XVI, the Comte d’Artois, was making plans by which France had to be invaded from the south by Spain en from the east by the brother of Marie Antoinette, the new Austrian Emperor Leopold II. And they all needed… money!

The Austrian Emperor Leopold II was in a difficult position: there was a war going on with Turkey, Prussia was threatening war against him, his Belgian and Hungarian provinces were revolting. He could not risk a defeat in France. But with the French king out of Paris and at the head of an army, the situation would be different. It was on the success or failure of a flight from revolutionary Paris that the actions of Austria – and the rest of Europe – depended.

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