Royalty During the French Revolution

French Royalty During the Revolution:

Photo from
Louis XVI pictured right, with wife Marie Antoinette

When it comes to royalty during the French Revolution, there are mainly one two people you will hear about, and usually not in a good way. The King at the start of the revolution was Louis XVI, with wife Marie Antoinette. They weren’t the most popular rulers among the Parisians. Royalty played a huge part in why the revolution started thanks to royal extravagance and spending. Finances throughout France was already low, and these did not help the matter (SparkNote Editors).

Although Louis XVI was the ruler during the revolution, the cause for it wasn’t all because of his choices and spending, it was a buildup of all past kings and royals together. Louis XVI only inherited the debt problem from the previous king, but still didn’t do anything to make finances and banks better. Because of the depleting finances, he was forced to give in to the Estates-General, which was a major cause of the revolution (SparkNote Editors).

Photo from
Louis XVI at his execution


Another reason for the revolution due to royalty is because the strict French class system. This system “placed the clergy and nobility classes high above the rest of the French citizens” (SparkNote Editors). Considering that some French citizens had already exceeded them in wealth and reputation, they were upset with this. Overall, the French Revolution was a battle to fight for equality, equality that wasn’t met by the royalty (SparkNote Editors).

Photo from Historical Histrionics
Photo from Historical Histrionics

Now focusing on Marie Antoinette, she didn’t help when it came to the depleting finances. She would undermine the citizens of France, just for her own pleasure. She was the “primary symbol of the French Royalty’s extravagance and excess” (SparkNote Editors). The main thing she was known for was her out of control spending and expensive fashion taste. This really showed the gap between the rich and poor citizens of France (PBS).

In conclusion, there wasn’t much royal involvement in the revolution. After Louis XVI was removed from the throne and executed along with Marie Antoinette, the Estates-General took over (PBS).

– Chelsea Stutzman

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The French Revolution (1789-1799).” SparkNotes LLC. 2005. Web. 1 Oct 2013.

Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution. “The Teen Queen: Marie Antoinette”. David Gruvin Production, Inc. 2006. Web. 13 Sept. 2006.


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