On 21 September 1792, the National Convention of France announced that the French monarchy had been abolished and that the French First Republic was born.
At the time, Marie Antoinette and her family were imprisoned in the Temple, and they learned the news from the town criers that evening. King Louis ignored it and continued reading his book.
His valet later wrote, “The royal family could hear distinctly the proclamation of the abolition of royalty and the establishment of a republic. Hébert, so well-known under the name of Père Duchesne, and Destournelles, afterwards minister of public taxation, happened to be on guard that day over the royal family; they were seated at the moment near the door, and they stared at the king, smiling treacherously. The king noticed them; he had a book in his hand and continued to read; no change appeared upon his face. The queen showed equal firmness, not a word, not a motion that could add to the enjoyment of those two men. The proclamation ended, and the trumpets sounded again. I went to the window; instantly, all eyes turned to me; they took me for Louis XVI; I was loaded with insults. The gendarmes made threatening motions towards me with their sabres, and I was obliged to retire in order to stop the tumult.”1
When Louis later requested bed coverings for his son through his valet, he was told, “You can tell monsieur (pointing to the king) to cease to take a title the people no longer recognize.”2 The family was given the name Capet, which was the name of the dynasty that had ruled France until 1328. Being a Bourbon and a history lover, Louis disliked the name as it was not his own.3
Just a few days after the fall of the monarchy, Louis was separated from his family and taken to the Great Tower. It was time to prepare for the trial.