A summary of French royal spending (1789)


The Livre Rouge (or ‘Red Register’) was Louis XVI’s personal account book. In 1790 the National Assembly ordered that it be examined and published, to inform the public about French royal spending:


“Summary of the Livre Rouge

The total amount entered in the Red Book from May 19th 1774 to August 16th 1789 is 227,983,716 livres, 10 sous and one denier.

This sum can be broken down under several headings:

To the king’s brothers: 28,364,211 livres

Gifts, gratuities: 6,174,793 livres

Pensions, salaries: 2,221,541 livres

Charity: 254,000 livres

Indemnities, advances, loans: 15,254,106 livres

Acquisitions, exchanges: 20,868,821 livres

Financial transactions: 5,825,000 livres

Foreign affairs, postal costs: 135,804,891 livres

Various expenses: 1,794,600 livres

Personal expenses of the king and queen: 11,423,750 livres.”