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King Louis XVI

Royalty

Born: 23 August 1754
Died: 21 January 1793 (beheading)
Birthplace: Versailles, France
Best known as: France's king at the time of their 1789 revolution
King Louis XVI of France was the unfortunate monarch executed during the 1789 French Revolution. He succeeded his grandfather, Louis XV, in 1774 and inherited a looming financial crisis just as democratic government was growing in popular and intellectual appeal. He's been portrayed in the history books as a wishy-washy king who satisfied neither royalists nor reformers -- and who was too influenced by his extravagant Austrian wife, Marie Antoinette. Louis served more than a dozen years as absolute monarch, but his inability to control events led to the 1789 revolution, during which he and his family were forcibly removed from their palace at Versailles and taken closer to Paris to live at the Tuileries Palace. Political compromises failed and the king and his family were caught trying to flee Paris in June of 1791. Returned to Tuileries, they were held under house arrest while the revolution worked itself out. The monarchy was abolished by the new government in 1792, and Louis was brought to trial for crimes against the people. Condemned to death, he was guillotined.

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