“Insults by day, assassins by night,” so said Marie Antoinette to Madame Campan, her chief maid.
A few weeks before Marie Antoinette’s husband, Louis XVI was deposed, Marie Antoinette was working late into the night, writing to her beloved Axel von Fersen (who was in Brussels), and neighbouring powers, pleading with them to proceed as quickly as possible with their invasion of France, to restore the absolute monarchy.
Madame Campan was in Marie Antoinette’s bedroom with the queen, because every letter was copied or rewritten in code, so that, if the secret correspondence was intercepted, no one would know what it all meant.
Marie Antoinette was exhausted from her long day and just thinking of bed, when the two women heard someone moving stealthily along the locked back corridor outside Marie Antoinette’s bedroom. Campan summoned a valet, who went into the corridor. The women clung together, in tears, as they listened to the skirmish in the corridor. But the valet overcame the potential assassin.
The intruder was one of the king’s servants, who had stolen the key to Marie Antoinette’s bedroom from the king’s clothes, when Louis XVI had gone to bed.
The locks to Marie Antoinette’s bedroom door were changed, and Marie Antoinette was persuaded to bring a pug dog into her bedroom, to warn her if anyone was going to try coming to her room in the night, again.