6

Get to Know me Meme, Royalist Edition

[7/7] Palaces/Castles - The Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is a royal palace built in the city of Versailles in France. It is one of the most famous palaces in the world and has inspired the construction of hundreds of other structures worldwide. The original building on the site was a hunting lodge created for Louis XIII in 1624, which would eventually form the core of the current palace. His son, Louis XIV, expanded the hunting lodge into a massive palace, constructed in four separate building campaigns.  He would officially move the court there in May of 1682, and Versailles remained the center of power for the French Monarchy until the Royal Family was forced to return to Paris at the beginning of the French Revolution. Both Louis XV and Louis XVI would continue building projects on the palace, but the majority of the construction was done by Louis XIV. Versailles was designated a World Heritage site in 1979, and millions of tourists visit it every year.

2

On the morning of October 6, 1789 a mob of angry Parisians, mostly women, marched to the Palace demanding bread. They stormed the Palace, ran up the Queen’s Staircase and broke into the Guard’s Room, then into the antechamber. Marie Antoinette ran from her bedchamber into her private apartments towards the King’s Suite to find her husband and son.

6

Today in History: May 16th, 1770 - Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette of Austria are married

A fourteen year-old Marie Antoinette and fifteen year-old Louis were married to form a political alliance that was supposed to stabilize often hostile relations between Austria and France. Although the marriage was always said to be amiable, Louis was very shy (it is also rumoured he suffered from phimosis, something royal doctors already stated in late 1772) and the marriage was not consummated for seven years. However, in 1778, the first of their four children was born, also the only one to survive past childhood. The couple was executed during the French Revolution, 8 months apart, after 23 years of marriage. After the death of her husband on January 21st 1793, Marie Antoinette went into deep mourning, refusing to eat or exercise. She was executed on October 16th, 1793. Their bodies were thrown in an unmarked grave. In 1815 their bodies were exhumed, and the couple is now buried at the Basilica of Saint-Dennis, a northern suburb of Paris.