October 16

This Day in History

General Interest

Oct 16, 1793:

Marie-Antoinette is beheaded

Nine months after the execution of her husband, the former King Louis XVI of France, Marie-Antoinette follows him to the guillotine.

The daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, she married Louis in 1770 to strengthen the French-Austrian alliance. At a time of economic turmoil in France, she lived extravagantly and encouraged her husband to resist reform of the monarchy. In one episode, she allegedly responded to news that the French peasantry had no bread to eat by callously replying, "Let them eat cake." The increasing revolutionary uproar convinced the king and queen to attempt an escape to Austria in 1791, but they were captured by revolutionary forces and carried back to Paris. In 1792, the French monarchy was abolished, and Louis and Marie-Antoinette were condemned for treason.

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