Louis XVI

Louis XVI

b. 23 Aug 1754, Versailles
d. 21 Jan 1793, Paris

Title: Par la grâce de Dieu, Roi de France et de Navarre = Dei Gratia Francorum et Navarrae Rex (By the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre)
Term: 10 May 1774 - 14 Sep 1791
Chronology: 10 May 1774, succeeded to the throne
11 Jun 1775, consecrated and crowned, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Reims
20 Jun 1791, fled from Paris (captured at Varennes-en-Argonne, Meuse, 21 Jun 1791; returned to Paris and put into custody 25 Jun 1791)
21 Jun 1791, Assemblée nationale (National Assembly) and the ministers are authorized to pass legislative acts and to issue decrees without royal sanction and acceptance; responsibility of promulgating laws and decrees by affixing the Great Seal of State assigned to justice minister [1]; decree of the National Assembly (confirmed by decree of 25 Jun 1791; application extended by decree of 16 Jul 1791 for the period ending with the presentation of the Constitutional Act to the King)
Title: Par la grâce de Dieu, et par la loi constitutionnelle de l'Etat, Roi des Français (By the Grace of God and by the Constitutional Law of the State, King of the French)
Term: 14 Sep 1791 - 21 Sep 1792
Chronology: 13 Sep 1791, accepted the Constitution of 1791 in writing, a letter dated 13 Sep 1792 was submitted the same day to the National Assembly, session of the National Assembly, Salle du Manège, Paris [2]
14 Sep 1791, took the oath to maintain the Constitution of 1791, session of the National Assembly, Salle du Manège, Paris [3]; reinstated to exercising executive authority as Chief of the Executive Power with the style Roi des Français
10 Aug 1792, suspended from exercising the functions of Head of the Executive Power until convocation of the Convention nationale (National Convention), decree of the National Assembly [4][5]; Assemblée nationale and the ministers assumed executive functions; responsibility of promulgating laws and decrees by affixing the Great Seal of State assigned to justice minister [6], decree of the National Assembly [7]
15 Aug 1792, all executive authority, including promulgation of laws and use of the Great Seal of State, delegated to the Conseil exécutif provisoire (Provisional Executive Council) composed of six ministers, decree of the National Assembly [8]
21 Sep 1792, kingship abolished, decree of the National Convention [9]
Names/titles: Private name: Louis-Auguste de France; duc de Berry (duke of Berry) [23 Aug 1754 - 20 Dec 1765]; Premier fils de France et dauphin de Viennois (First Son of France and Dauphin of Viennois) [from 20 Dec 1765]; court proceedings of the National Convention referred to the former king as Louis Capet
Biography:
The third son of Louis-Ferdinand de France, dauphin de Viennois, and of Maria Josepha Carolina Eleonora Franziska Xaveria, princess of Saxony (French: Marie-Josèphe-Caroline-Éléonore-Françoise-Xavière); grandson of King Louis XV; became the heir to the throne after the death of his father (20 Dec 1765); married (16 May 1770) archduchess Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna of Austria (Marie-Antoinette-Josèphe-Jeanne), daughter of Emperor Franz I and Maria Theresia, queen of Hungary and Bohemia, etc.; succeeded Louis XV (1774); summoned (1788) the États-Généraux (Estates-General), which convened at Versailles (5 May 1789); unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the sessions of the Assemblée nationale (National Assembly), revolutionary parliament formed (17 Jun 1789) by representatives of the Third Estate to provide France with a constitution; dismissed popular finance minister Jacques Necker (11 Jul 1789), triggering the revolt in Paris (13 Jul 1789 - 14 Jul 1789), which culminated in the storming of the Bastille; reluctantly accepted the abolition of feudal rights (4 Aug 1789) and promulgation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (26 Aug 1789) by the National Assembly; succumbed to popular demands and moved the seat of royal government from Versailles to Paris (6 Oct 1789); attempted to flee the country (20 Jun 1791 - 21 Jun 1791), but was caught at Varennes-en-Argonne, Meuse, and brought back to Paris (25 Jun 1791); according to a resolution of the National Assembly, was put into custody; consented to acceptance of the Constitution (13 Sep 1791) drafted by the National Assembly; reigned as constitutional monarch (1791-1792); entered the war with Austria (April 1792); became increasingly dependent on the opinion of Queen Marie-Antoinette, whose intrigues with the Austrians and the publication of the Brunswick manifesto, threatening the destruction of Paris, provoked the insurrection and capture of the Tuileries Palace by the Parisians (10 Aug 1792); was suspended (10 Aug 1792) from exercising the functions of Chief of the Executive Power and was detained together with his family; kingship in France was abolished by the decree of the Convention nationale (National Convention) (21 Sep 1792); was tried by the National Convention and sentenced to death (16 Jan 1793 - 17 Jan 1793); guillotined in Paris (21 Jan 1793).
Biographical sources: "Histoire du règne de Louis XVI pendant les années où l'on pouvait prévenir ou diriger la Révolution française", by Joseph Droz (Paris: Vve J. Renouard, 1858), 3 vols.; "Life and Death of Louis XVI", by Saul K. Padover (New York, London: D. Appleton-Century, 1939; New York: Pyramid Books, 1963).

[1] Styled ministre de la justice (office occupied by Marguerite-Louis-François Duport-Dutertre 21 Nov 1790 - 23 Mar 1792)
[2] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 30:620-621.
[3] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 30:635.
[4] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 47:645-646.
[5] According to a decree passed by the National Assembly (10 Aug 1792, Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 47:649), the reference to the King was removed from legal documents and did not appear again until 1814. The minister of justice was authorized to sign the decrees in the name of the nation. Such arrangement continued to exist until a decree of the National Assembly (15 Aug 1792, Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 48:165-166) delegated the right to promulgate the laws in the name of the nation to the Conseil exécutif provisoire (Provisional Executive Council) under the signatures of the President of the Council and minister of justice.
[6] Styled ministre de la justice (office occupied by Georges Danton 10 Aug 1792 - 6 Oct 1792)
[7] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 47:649.
[8] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 48:165-166.
[9] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 52:73-74.
Image: detail of a portrait by François Callet.
Last updated on: 04 Oct 2013 12:16:44