Citoyen Louis Capet loses his head

"Le châtiment pour vous s'apprête Car le peuple reprend ses droits. Vous vous êtes bien payé nos têtes, C'en est fini, messieurs les rois!" ("Ah ! ça ira", emblematic song of the French Revolution)

21 January 1793 - Today, 220 years ago, Citoyen Louis Capet, formerly known as King Louis XVI, was beheaded on the Place de la Concorde for high treason and crimes against the State.

Even though Louis XVI was probably the most liberal of all Bourbon kings of France, the idea of being "Louis, par la grâce de Dieu, et la loi constitutionnelle de l’État, Roi des Français", a constitutional monarch, was a bit too much, even for him. Conspiring with Austria and the Holy Roman Empire to restore his absolute power, the Revolution finally caught up with him after more than three years of hither and thither about what to do with him.

Allegedly, he bore the execution with good grace, mounted the scaffold, gave a short speech, maintaining his innocence, forgiving his prosecutors and stated that he prayed that the people of France would be spared a similar fate. A drum roll cut him short and he was quickly beheaded.

The "Ah ! ça ira" can be found here, sung by the great Edith Piaf (from the movie "Si Versailles m'était conté", 1954)

And more about Louis XVI on