British Broadcasting Corporation Home. He was guillotined in Louis was born at Versailles on 23 August In , he married Marie Antoinette, daughter of the emperor and empress of Austria, a match intended to consolidate an alliance between France and Austria. Louis initially supported attempts by his ministers Jacques Turgot and later Jacques Necker to relieve France's financial problems.
French support for the colonists in the American War of Independence had brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, accusations of frivolity, extravagance and scandalous behaviour against the queen, Marie Antoinette, further discredited the monarchy. In , to avert the deepening crisis, Louis agreed to summon the 'estates-general' a form of parliament, but without real power in order to try and raise taxes. This was the first time the body had met since Angered by Louis' refusal to allow the three estates - the first clergy , second nobles and third commons - to meet simultaneously, the Third Estate proclaimed itself a national assembly, declaring that only it had the right to represent the nation.
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 In October, Louis and his family were forced by the mob to return to Paris from their palace at Versailles. In June , they attempted to escape, which was considered proof of Louis' treasonable dealings with foreign powers.
The Parisians interpreted these actions as an attempt toward shutting down the National Constituent Assembly. They responded by storming toward the Bastille fortress on July 14, , to secure gunpowder and weapons. The troops at Bastille resisted for a few hours before they surrendered to the mob.
The Storming of the Bastille is regarded as the start of the French Revolution. On 5th October , a large crowd of protesters, mostly women , began to assemble at Parisian markets.
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They were troubled due to the unaffordable prices of bread. After getting unsatisfactory responses from city officials, the women marched from Paris to the Palace of Versailles.
BBC - History - King Louis XVI
They were convinced that the royal family lived in luxury oblivious to the problems of the common people. Louis XVI ultimately conceded to their demands. The next day, he, along with his family and most of the French Assembly, were escorted by the crowd to Paris. The national guard led the procession and some in the crowd even carried pikes bearing the heads of the slaughtered Versailles guards.
The royal family moved to the dilapidated Tuileries Palace in Paris.
Louis XVI understood the relevance of this event. He had a council of advisers who made schemes to preserve the power of the monarchy. He also asked one of his diplomats to negotiate with other foreign heads of state in an attempt to bring about a counter-revolution.
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However, these schemes were by and large unsuccessful. After escaping he hoped to recapture France with foreign assistance. On the night of 20th June , the royal family fled the Tuileries Palace dressed as servants with their servants dressed as nobles. Few people in France had seen the king personally but his image was printed on the currency.
Due to this, Louis XVI was recognized the next day.
42 Head-Chopping Facts About Louis XVI, The Last King Of France
The royal family were arrested at Varennes and returned to Paris. Due to his attempted flight to Austria, the public, which was already against King Louis XVI, now viewed him as a traitor who wanted foreign intervention to restore the monarchy. He was provisionally suspended by the Assembly and the royal family was placed under tight house arrest at the Tuileries Palace.
Following the flight to Varennes, Parisians became more and more against the king and wanted the assembly to depose him. The assembly hesitated and on August 10, , around 20, Parisians marched on the Tuileries Palace and killed the Swiss Guards who were assigned for the protection of the king. In response, the royal family fled to the Assembly for protection. Louis XVI was officially arrested on 13th August and sent to the Temple , an ancient fortress in Paris that was used as a prison.
Biography of King Louis XVI, Deposed in the French Revolution
On 21st September , the monarchy was abolished and France was declared a Republic. Louis was stripped of all of his titles and honors. From this day, he was known as Citizen Louis Capet. Though the radical revolutionaries argued for immediate execution of Louis, it was voted that the former monarch would be given a fair trial before the National Convention , the first government of the new French Republic.