However, Du Barry’s genteel life in Versailles Palace was not without problems. She had a bitter feud with French Dauphine Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) primarily because of the latter’s support of De Choiseul (Wikipedia, n. pag. ). Marie Antoinette also refused to have anything to do with Du Barry due to her disgust with the latter’s personal background (Marie Antoinette, n. pag. ). Furthermore, Louis XV requested prior to his demise in May 1774 that Du Barry be banished to the Abbey of Pont aux-Dames, where her letters and visits were strictly monitored (Marie Antoinette, n.pag. ).
Historians believed that the king’s relationship with Du Barry might have hindered him from receiving an absolution before his death; hence, his decision to send her away (Wikipedia, n. pag. ). Du Barry lived in the convent for two years, before moving to the Chateau de Louveciennes (Wikipedia, n. pag. ) in 1776 (Marie Antoinette, n. pag. ). Although Du Barry was noted for her “her good nature and support of artists” (Wikipedia, n. pag. ), the French people despised her due to the lavish lifestyle that the king subjected her to (Wikipedia, n.pag. ).
By the late 1780s, France was in the midst of a severe fiscal crisis (MSN Encarta, n. pag. ). Its economy suffered due to the monarchy’s tedious and archaic bookkeeping system (MSN Encarta, n. pag. ). Furthermore, the country also did not have a national bank (MSN Encarta, n. pag. ). Even if the majority of France’s nobility and clergy were extremely well-off, they were taxed considerably less than the poor peasants (MSN Encarta, n. pag. ).
The royalty likewise had to take on crippling debts just to finance the very expensive wars it got itself into – the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and the American Revolution (1775-1783) (MSN Encarta, n. pag. ). While the country’s upper classes wallowed in wealth and the monarchy engaged in one expensive hostility after another, ordinary French citizens starved due to skyrocketing prices of bread (MSN Encarta, n. pag. ). The increasing animosity between France’s nobility and bourgeoisie resulted in the French Revolution (1789-1799) (MSN Encarta, n.pag. ).
Under the Revolution, “France was temporarily transformed from an absolute monarchy, where the king monopolized power, to a republic of theoretically free and equal citizens” (MSN Encarta, n. pag. ). Simply put, the French Revolution served as the retribution for all the injustices that the French royalty inflicted upon its people. At the height of the Revolution, revolutionaries guillotined nobles, their allies and anyone who opposed the uprising (MSN Encarta, n. pag. ).
Du Barry went to England several times in 1792 to supposedly recover stolen jewelry (MSN Encarta, n. pag. ). As a result, she was accused of secretly providing financial assistance to the England-based opponents of the new French republic (Wikipedia, n. pag. ). The Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris apprehended Du Barry on treason charges in 1793 (Wikipedia, n. pag. ). Following a premeditated trial, she was finally guillotined at the Place de la Concorde on December 8, 1793 (Wikipedia, n. pag. ).