On 17 July 1789 a few small groups of Court nobility left France and went into exile. The most prominent figure among them was the king’s youngest brother, the comte d’Artois. The others included the prince de Condé and his son the duc de Bourbon, and Artois’ sons the ducs de Berry and d’Angoulême. They left in part because their schemes and policies had collapsed with the fall of the Bastille and the subsequent recall of Necker, but also because a temporary withdrawal for their own safety was thought advisable. It was a fairly light-hearted, even fashionable, departure to allow the political temperature to cool. ‘We’ll be back in three months’, Artois told Esterhazy at the frontier. ‘We expected to spend three months at Tournay and then to return to find everything as it was’, remembered the marquise de Falaizeau. In fact, most of those who left at this time were not to return, if at all, for the next twenty-five years.
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