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Profile of the Day: Louis XVI of France

On this day in 1793, Louis XVI was executed for treason by guillotine.

Image: Louis XVI / New York Public Library

Louis XVI was born on August 23, 1754 in the Palace of Versailles. He was the second son of Louis, the Dauphin of France, and thus the grandson of Louis XV. When his brother died at the age of nine, followed by the death of his father in 1765, a young Louis became the next in line to inherit his grandfather’s crown. He ascended to the throne in 1774 after the death of Louis XV.

At the age of 15, Louis XVI married Marie Antoinette, who was also his second cousin once removed. Eventually, the couple would have four children, but only their eldest daughter would live into adulthood.

During Louis XVI’s reign, the monarchy became increasingly unpopular as France’s crippling debt continued to worsen. An ineffective leader, Louis XVI was unable to calm the fury of the people. During the French Revolution, Louis XVI was arrested, tried for high treason and executed on January 21, 1793. His wife, Marie Antoinette, was also executed by guillotine a few months later.

Explore Louis XVI’s family tree and share how you’re related to the French monarch.

View Louis XVI of France’s Geni Profile

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