Louis XVI of France Biography
Died At Age: 38
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Duc de Berry, Citoyen Louis Capet, Louis Auguste de France
Born in: Palace of Versailles
Famous as: King of France
Spouse/Ex-: Marie Antoinette
father: Louis, Dauphin of France
mother: Maria Josepha of Saxony, Dauphine of France
siblings: Charles X of France, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Burgundy, Louis, Louis XVIII of France, Madame Royale, Marie Clotilde of France, Marie Thérèse, Princess Élisabeth of France, Princess Marie Zéphyrine of France, Xavier
children: Dauphin of France, Louis Joseph, Louis XVII of France, Marie Thérèse of France, Princess Sophie Hélène Béatrice of France
place of death: Place de la Concorde
Cause of Death: Execution
Louis XVI is one of the famous monarchs of the 18th century who went on to earn a place in the books of world history. The king was primarily known for being eloquent and a linguist since a really young age and having a grip on languages such as Italian and English. He was crowned the supreme of France as a teenager and had to deal with a great responsibility of stabilizing the nation's economy. Though initially criticized for his inefficient administration, Louis went on to silence his critics with his perfectly strategized moves. Taking all challenges into his stride, he managed to solve these problems and become an efficient leader. One of the most path breaking accomplishments of his time was offering his subjects the liberty of following the religion of their choice, which was considered an unorthodox move for a ruler during that time. As a leader of his country, Louis XVI's sole aim was to earn the love and respect of his subjects through his administration. Unfortunately, the king was toppled by revolutionaries who wanted to put an end to monarchy and pave the way for a democracy. Read on to know more about his life, achievements and works.
- Louis XVI was born to Louis, the Dauphin of France and his spouse Marie-Josèphe, on 23rd August 1754, at the Palace of Versailles, located in France. The prince was the second of the seven children born to his parents.
- Though he was considered to be very shy as a kid, the young prince was known to be very intelligent. He managed to get a grip over several languages including English, Italian, Geography, History, Astronomy and Latin at a very young age.
- During his younger days, some of the prince’s favorite activities included spending time with his siblings, namely Charles Philippe and Louis Stanislas.
- The prince succeeded his father in 1765 to become the new Dauphin, after the latter succumbed to Tuberculosis. The lad was barely eleven years old while it was confirmed that he was the inherent to his grandfather’s throne.
- Many teachers had helped Louis XVI in shaping his personality and help him gain knowledge, till the age of fifteen. A few of these instructors include Abbe Berthier, Duc de La Vauguyon and Abbe Soldini.
- Some of the subjects he learnt from his childhood till his early teens included humanities and religion. However, it was believed that the education he received lacked lessons on managing administration, a lesson of much importance for the future heir to the throne.
- After his grandfather passed away in 1774, Louis XVI was crowned the next king of France. The prince was merely 19 years of age when he received this honor. However, he had a humongous responsibility of stabilizing the nation which was suffering, due to a great economic mess.
- In his initial days as the new ruler, Louis XVI’s administration showed a lack of maturity and inconsistent in terms of decision making. However, he sought the help of Jean-Frédéric Phélypeaux, who worked as an advisor to the new king and helped him in making decisions concerning important political matters.
- One of the important accomplishments of his administration was signing the pact titled ‘Edict of Versailles’, in 1787. The pact gave his subjects an opportunity to practice any religion of their choice. Non-Catholic inhabitants such as Jews and Lutherans enjoyed improved political statuses during his reign.
- Louis XVI also had a desire to invade India and in this concern entered into a trading agreement with Peshwa Madhav Rao Narayan, a ruler of the Maratha empire. Eventually, the French naval forces reached the shores of present day Mauritius and tried devising a strategy to enter India.
- The king of France was also interested in extending his tentacles to the Cochinchina region of Vietnam. In this regard, Louis XVI and the renowned Vietnamese emperor Nguyen Phuc Anh, agreed on a pact in 1787, titled ‘Treaty of Versailles’.
- The Louis XVI administration reached another milestone in 1789, when the human rights document titled ‘Declaration of Rights of the Man and the Citizen’ was approved by the ‘National Constituent Assembly’ of France.
- The same year, many French citizens rebelled against the Queen, who they claimed to have led a sophisticated lifestyle and even barged into the palace of Versailles, in a bid to kill the woman. The revolutionaries also wanted the monarchy to end soon and urged that the administration turn democratic.
- The king tried to relocate along with his family to Montmedy, located in the northeastern region of France, in 1791. However, the idea wasn't as successfully executed as it was planned.
- In 1792, the French government declared a war against the revolutionaries in Austria. However, the opposition proved to more powerful and shattered the plans of the French forces.
- The king was arrested in 1792 and was confined to a prison named 'Temple' near Paris. The National Assembly of France put an end to the reign of the king and paved way for democracy in the nation.
- Louis tied the knot with the Archduchess Marie Antoinette in May, 1770. Both of them were in their early teens at the time of their wedding. The marriage was widely criticized by the public, since Marie belonged to Austria.
- The couple did not have any children even after being married for seven years, giving rise to the speculation amongst the public that the King is infertile. The monarch and his queen, Maria Antoinette, became the subject of mockery of the French subjects due to the same reason.
- It is also believed that the French monarch had consulted several doctors and underwent treatments to solve the problem. However, later, the couple went on to become the parents of four kids, namely, Marie Therese Charlotte, Louis Charles, Louis Joseph Xavier Francois and Sophie Helene Beatrix.
- The king was executed in 1793 at a public place called 'Place de la Concorde', after being imprisoned in France for around a year.
- King Louis was portrayed in the 1938 flick 'Marie Antoinette', which was based on the life of his queen
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