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[LH] Louis XVI 2016-10-05

Louis XVI of France (1754-1793) was the last king of the French Ancien Régime. Born in the palace of Versailles, lived in the kind of comfort afforded to the old French aristocracy. During his teenage years, he was instructed in a conservative upbringing to prepare him for the throne he was to inherit from his grandfather Louis XV. His parents died of tuberculosis in his early teens, and at the age of sixteen he took as a wife the Austrian Hapsburg Archduchess Marie Antonia - better known by her French name, Marie Antoinette. In 1774 he inherited the throne upon Louis XV's death. He also inherited a huge national debt thanks to the French and Indian War as well as a populous distrustful of the monarchy. He was beloved at first, but soon he was thought to be too weak-willed and timid to tackle France's problems. He made several major foreign policy decisions, including sending military aid to the Americans during the War of Independence. But with the people of France living in poverty, the growing power of his parlements making him look toothless, and his wife Marie becoming a scapegoat for all of the French monarchy's incompetence and decadence, in 1789 the Bastille was stormed and Louis was taken prisoner. At first the revolutionaries kept him confined to the Tuileries so the people of Paris could keep an eye on him. Louis, now in deep depression, attempted to flee. He was arrested and in 1793, was beheaded in front of a cheering crowd.
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