I tried to contact President "Flanby" Hollande via his Twitter account @fhollande, to ask him for details of today's "Je suis Capet" march in memory of his dead king, but he did not reply. Probably, he was out on his motorbike, chasing some morceau sur le côté as the French so poetically put it. If he comes back to me on this, I'll let you know.
"Je suis Louis. Vous êtes Marie Antoinette, si vous voulez."
Ah yes, his widow, Marie Antoinette, who was killed 9 months later. Her son, Louis XVII of France, was murdered two years later, at the age of ten. This, the French assure us, is called Liberté, égalité, fraternité, and therefore a GOOD THING. Mind you, they have a national anthem which is all about filling up ditches with impure blood, so what do they know?
Marie Antoinette probably never said "Let them eat cake," or even "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche." I suspect that what the good lady preferred was Eccles cakes. Can it be any coincidence that James Birch's shop on the corner of Vicarage Road in Eccles began selling small, flat, raisin-filled cakes in 1793, the same year that Louis and Marie-Antoinette were killed? I rest my cake, er, case.
Waiting for an Eccles cake!
Back to Louis XVI. He was a good Catholic, and was described as a martyr by Pope Pius VI. Perhaps he should be canonized, but this seems unlikely to happen now. Unless Pope Francis takes another aeroplane trip and slips in an off-the-cuff canonization: yes, that could easily happen. You read it here first.
J.S. Capet Eccles.