Whether he had said "Son of St Louis ascend to Heaven" to King Louis XVI on the scaffold was something the Abbé Edgeworth could not recall afterwards such was his own fraught state, but it is one of those things which if it was not said ought to have been.
The phrase links the King to his illustrious and sainted ancestor and to the whole tradition of French sacral kingship which was being killed in the person of King Louis XVI on this day in 1793. Both in destroying the traditional institutions of governance and in destroying the man who was King the revolutionaries perpetrated a great act of injustice not only to a decent man who had sought to fulfill his obligations as monarch in an ever more difficult situation surrounded by mounting horrors - and therein lies his and his family's martyrdom - but also to the whole of the French people by depriving them of their corporate inheritance and means of self definition.
The farewell of King Louis XVI to his family in the Temple on the evening of January 20 1793
Whatever the need for genuine reform and renewal within the French system the onslaught on Throne and Altar, the deliberate seeking of the destruction of all that had been handed down - even to the ridiculous calendric reforms - went infinitely beyond what was required into a world of barbarism, insanity, and only partially rescued by a parvenu military dictatorship under the Corsican ogre. Bernard Fay concluded his biography of the King by saying that France has been morning ever since the moment the guillotine cut off his head. A powerful image which has remained with me. Once out of its bottle the genie of revolt and revolution and their vapid and spurious ideals has, alas, remained within the French political process - hence all the disorders since 1830 when the restored monarchy was overthrown.
To see this in action just observe the antics we shall find ourselves watching in the forthcoming "French Presidential Election." Admit it, you know I'm right.
My posts from last year can be read at King Louis XVI and The Orders worn by King Louis XVI.
I also commend to you this Prayer for the King of France.