Louis XVI

Famous for being King of France executed as a result of the French revolution

Born - 23rd August 1754 - Palace of Versailles, Paris, France
Parents - Louis, Dauphin of France, Marie-Josephe of Saxony
Siblings - Marie Zephyrine, Louis Xavier Josephe, Louis Stanislas Xavier (Louis XVIII), Charles Phillipe, Marie Adelaide Clotilde, Elisabeth Philipine Marie Helene
Married - Marie Antoinette
Children - Marie Therese Charlotte, Louis-Joseph, Louis-Charles (Louis XVII), Sophie Helene
Died - 21st January 1793, Executed by guillitine, Paris, France

Louis-Auguste was born on 23rd August 1754. His father was the son of Louis XV and heir to the throne but died at the age of 35 years in 1765 and never became king of France. As Louis-Auguste was the eldest surviving son of his parents he became heir to the throne (Dauphin).

In 1770, at the age of fifteen, he married Marie Antoinette, youngest daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I.

In 1774, at the age of twenty, his grandfather died and he became King Louis XVI. He had not been prepared for his role as King and was remote from the country's affairs which were mostly handled by his advisors. France was badly in debt and the financial situation worsened when France entered the American Revolutionary war in 1778. Attempts by his advisors to raise funds were blocked by the nobility.

In 1789 the middle classes formed a National Assembly demanding an end to absolutism and the creation of a French constitution. Although Louis opposed the formation of this body he was unable to stop its development and was eventually forced to recognise its authority. The National Assembly was renamed National Constituent Assembly on 9th July.

On 11th July Louis dismissed his financial advisor, Jacques Necker. Necker had been sympathetic to the middle classes and his dismissal, together with the increased numbers of royal troops in Paris, was seen as the beginning of a move to shut down the National Constituent Assembly. Determined to resist this move and fight back, demonstrators stormed the Bastille on 14th July in a move to arm themselves. After an armed conflict the demonstrators succeeded in taking the Bastille.

On 5th October 1789 a mob of women, angry at facing severe food shortages while the royal family continued their lavish lifestyle, stormed the palace of Versailles where the royal family were living and attempted to kill the Queen. The situation was diffused but the royal family were forced to move to Paris where they were kept under scrutiny.

In 1791 Louis and his family attempted to escape but Louis was recognised and the family were returned to Paris under house arrest. On 13th August 1792 Louis was officially arrested and charged with treason. France was declared a republic on 21st September and the monarchy was abolished. Louis was found guilty on 15th January 1793 and executed by guillotine on 21st January.