On March 27th, 1785, Louis XVII of France was born. His short life coincided with the French Revolution (1789) which saw the overhaul of the French government and the disestablishment of his family’s monarchy.
Due to the turbulent conditions in France during Louis’ infancy, he neither received the official status of Monarch, nor did he rule. Nevertheless, royalists across France refused to acknowledge the revolutionary government and hailed Louis XVII as their king, following the execution of his father Louis XVI in January 1793.
The failed escape of the royals during the Flight to Varennes (1791) saw the then 6-year-old Louis captured with his father, the King, and his mother, Marie Antoinette. Following his capture, Louis XVII was imprisoned in August 1792 by the Republic. Whilst in captivity, the nominal ‘King’ became critically ill. His doctor, Pierre-Joseph Desault, was immediately summoned, but he died before reaching his patient. It took several days for another doctor to be called to aid Louis. But, it was too late; Louis died on June 8th, 1795. His autopsy concluded that a case of Tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis (in modern medicine terms) had proved fatal.
The House of Bourbon had held uninterrupted dominion over France since 1589. Following Louis XVII’s death, the next French monarch was the revered Napoleon Bonaparte – but the subsequent Bourbon restoration saw Louis’ family regain the French throne in 1814, with the accession of Louis XVIII in April 1814.