Royalty

The Executioner’s Account of Louis XVI’s Execution

Louis XVI was executed on 21 January 1793. Three weeks after his execution, a revolutionary journal called Thermomètre du jour published an inaccurate account claiming the King was led to the scaffold with a pistol to his temple, the guillotine struck his neck instead of his head, and the King died without courage. Because the…

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The Favras Plot

There were numerous plots afoot to save the royal family after the French Revolution began. One well-known plot involved Louis-Alexandre de Launay, Comte d’Antraigues who was a French pamphleteer, spy, and political adventurer. D’Antraigues had been elected to the Estates-General in 1789 and initially supported the French Revolution. However, after Versailles was stormed and the…

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Duel of Madame de Polignac and Marquise de Nesle

Louis François Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, better known as the Duc de Richelieu, was Louis XIV’s godson. He was also known as a man with loose morals who enjoyed numerous lovers, including the novelist Claudine Guérin de Tencin’s two sisters — Marie Louise Élisabeth d’Orléans, Duchess de Berry, and her younger sister Charlotte Aglaé…

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Louis XVI’s Will

Louis XVI came to power after the death of his grandfather, Louis XV, in 1775. Louis XVI’s reign was marked by attempts to reform France in accordance with Enlightenment ideals and a financial crisis that contributed to discontent among France’s middle and lower classes. This discontent eventually culminated in revolution with  Louis XVI’s reign ending…

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Louis XVI’s Trial, Verdict, and Sentence

Louis Capet (previously Louis XVI) chose Gui-Jean-Baptiste Target, former deputy of the National Constituent Assembly, to lead his defense. Target, however, refused because of his age, and, so, Raymond Desèze became Louis’s lead counsel. Target and Desèze were assisted by François Denis Tronchet (Target’s closest colleague, who came on board only because Louis insisted) and…

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