October 16, 1793 – Execution of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, at the Place de la Révolution in Paris, France.
Born Maria Antonia, better known as Marie Antoinette, was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an Archduchess of Austria, and was the penultimate child of Empress Maria Theresa and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. She married the Dauphin in April 1770, who in 1774, became Louis XVI of France. Despite her initial popularity, a growing number of the population eventually came to dislike her, accusing her of being profligate, promiscuous, and of harbouring sympathies for France's enemies, particularly her native Austria. The Affair of the Diamond Necklace damaged her reputation further. During the Revolution, she became known as Madame Déficit because the country's financial crisis was blamed on her lavish spending.
During the Revolution, after the government had placed the royal family under house arrest in the Tuileries Palace in October 1789, several events linked to Marie Antoinette, in particular the June 1791 attempted flight to Varennes and her role in the War of the First Coalition, had disastrous effects on French popular opinion. On 10 August 1792, the attack on the Tuileries forced the royal family to take refuge at the Assembly, and on 13 August the family was imprisoned in the Temple. On 21 September 1792, the monarchy was abolished. After a two-day trial begun on 14 October 1793, Marie Antoinette was convicted by the Revolutionary Tribunal of high treason.
Preparing for her execution, she put on a plain white dress, white being the color worn by widowed queens of France. Her hair was shorn, her hands bound painfully behind her back and she was put on a rope leash.
Marie Antoinette was guillotined at 12:15 p.m. on 16 October 1793. Her last words were "Pardon me, sir, I meant not to do it", to the executioner, whose foot she had accidentally stepped on after climbing to the scaffold. Her body was thrown into an unmarked grave in the Madeleine cemetery.
Both Marie Antoinette's and Louis XVI's bodies were exhumed in 1815, during the Bourbon Restoration and reburied at the Basilica of St. Denis.