* 1793 – After being found guilty of treason by the French National Convention, Louis XVI of France is executed by guillotine.
Louis XVI (August 23, 1754 – January 21, 1793), born Louis-Auguste, was the last king of France and Navarre before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution.
Louis-Auguste de France, who was given the title Duc de Berry at birth, was born in the Palace of Versailles. One of seven children, he was the second surviving son of Louis, the Dauphin of France, and the grandson of Louis XV of France and Navarre and of his consort, Maria Leszczyńska. His mother was Marie-Josèphe of Saxony, the daughter of Prince-Elector Friedrich August II of Saxony, (also King Augustus III of Poland) and Maria Josepha of Austria.
In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, Dauphin of France son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather’s death on May 10, 1774, he assumed the title “king of France and Navarre”, which he used until September 4, 1791, when he received the title of “king of the French” until the monarchy was abolished on September 21, 1792.
On May 16, 1770, at the age of fifteen, Louis-Auguste married the fourteen-year-old Habsburg Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria (better known by the French form of her name, Marie Antoinette), his second cousin once removed and the youngest daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Franz I of Lorraine and his wife, the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were the parents of four live-born children:
* Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte (December 19, 1778 – October 19, 1851)
* Louis-Joseph-Xavier-François, the Dauphin (October 22, 1781 – June 4, 1789)
* Louis-Charles, Dauphin after the death of his elder brother, future titular king Louis XVII of France (March 27, 1785 – June 8, 1795)
* Sophie-Hélène-Béatrix, died in infancy (July 9, 1786 – June 9, 1787)
In a context of civil and international war, Louis XVI was suspended and arrested at the time of the Insurrection of 10 August 1792; one month later, the absolute monarchy was abolished; the First French Republic was proclaimed on September 21, 1792. He was tried by the National Convention (self-instituted as a tribunal for the occasion), found guilty of high treason, but before the trial started and Louis mounted his defense to the Convention, he told his lawyers that he knew he would be found guilty and be killed, but to prepare and act as though they could win. He was resigned to and accepted his fate before the verdict was determined, but he was willing to fight to be remembered as a good king for his people.
Louis XVI was executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793, as a desacralized French citizen under the name of “Citizen Louis Capet,” in reference to Hugh Capet, the founder of the Capetian dynasty – which the revolutionaries interpreted as Louis’ surname. Louis XVI was the only King of France ever to be executed, and his death brought an end to more than a thousand years of continuous French monarchy. Both of his sons died in childhood, before the Bourbon Restoration; his only child to reach adulthood, Marie Therese, was given over to the Austrians in exchange for French prisoners of war, eventually dying childless in 1851.