Friday, April 27, 2012

X = XVI, Louis, King of France - A to Z

Louis XVI

Ending a Dynasty of a thousand years. . .

Louis XVI - King of France, Wikipedia (PD-Art)

 Louis XVI, King of France, was a Bourbon monarch who ruled France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of France from 1791 to 1792.  In 1792, the National Convention abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic.

Louis was born at Versailles on 23 August 1754. In 1770, he married Marie Antoinette, Austrian archduchess, daughter of the emperor and empress of Austria.
By the time that Louis-Auguste and Marie-Antoinette were married, the people of France generally regarded the Austrian alliance with dislike, and Marie-Antoinette was seen as an unwelcome foreigner.

In 1774, Louis succeeded his grandfather Louis XV as king of France.  Succeeding Louis XV, his unpopular grandfather, Louis XVI was well aware of the growing discontent of the French population against the absolute monarchy.

Louis XVI of France, by Antoine-François Callet (PD)

French support for the colonists in the American War of Independence had brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy. At the same time, accusations of frivolity, extravagance and scandalous behaviour against the queen, Marie Antoinette, further discredited the monarchy.  In 1789, to avert the deepening crisis, Louis agreed to summon the 'estates-general' in order to try and raise taxes.

Marie Antoinette, Queen to King Louis XVI, by DG Hudson

Rumours that the king intended to suppress the assembly provoked the popular storming of the Bastille prison, a symbol of repressive royal power, on 14 July 1789.  In October, Louis and his family were forced by the mob to return to Paris from their palace at Versailles. In June 1791, they attempted to escape, which many  considered proof of Louis' treasonable dealings with foreign powers. He was forced to accept a new constitution, thereby establishing a constitutional monarchy.

Louis XVI was found guilty of treason and executed at the guillotine on 21 January 1793. Marie Antoinette was executed nine months later, on October 16, 1793.

An era had come to an end. 

DG's Theme:  Paris, Etc. (Art, Film, Places, People)


What do you think of the accusations aimed at Marie Antoinette?  True or False? 
She was only fifteen years old when married to Louis and brought to Versailles. 


References:  Historic figures Wikipedia  Flight to Varennes