Paris, Île-de-France, France

Tragedy at the wedding of Marie Antoinette & Louis XVI

On May 16, 1770, 14-year-old Marie Antoinette wed to 15-year-old Louis XVI. Two weeks of festivities ensued.

In late May, three thousand rockets and fireballs were prepared to erupt from the Temple of Hyman at the Place de la Concorde. The square in front of the building was packed with excited spectators, when one rocket fell back into the structure, causing a giant blaze. At first the crowd assumed it part of the show, but as the blaze increased they realized it for what it was–a massive fire. Everyone panicked and tried to run, causing a mass stampede, which trampled a great number of people. Those who were able to flee the scene, found themselves swept up in a sea of people heading towards the nearby river, where more were pushed under and drowned. 132 people died.

The young dauphin and dauphiness were so horrified by the tragedy that they withdrew their entire monthly allowances from the treasury to aid the families of the victims.

Illustration via History and Other Thoughts

Tragedy at the wedding of Marie Antoinette & Louis XVI