Charles gained influence within the French court after the assassination of his son Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry, in 1820 and succeeded his brother Louis XVIII in 1824. The reign of Charles X began with some liberal measures such as the abolition of press censorship, but the king renewed the term of Joseph de Villèlle, president of the council since 1822, and gave the reins of government to the ultraroyalists. King Louis XVI eventually convened the Estates General, which had not been assembled for over 150 years, to meet in May 1789 to ratify financial reforms. Along with his sister Élisabeth, Charles was the most conservative member of the family and opposed the demands of the Third Estate to increase their voting power.

Marshal Ney was executed for treason, and Marshal Brune was murdered by a crowd. Approximately 6,000 individuals who had rallied to Napoleon were brought to trial. There were about 300 mob lynchings in the south of France, notably in Marseilles where a number of Napoleon’s Mamluks preparing to return to Egypt, were massacred in their barracks. Following the advice of the occupying allied army, Louis XVIII promulgated a liberal constitution, the Charter of 1814, which provided for a bicameral legislature, an electorate of 90,000 men and freedom of religion.

This measure was followed by the suspension and eventually the abolition of the monarchy in September 1792. The royal family was imprisoned, and the king and queen were eventually executed in 1793. Charles meanwhile left Turin and moved to Trier in Germany, where his uncle, Clemens Wenceslaus of Saxony, was the incumbent Archbishop-Elector. Charles prepared for a counter-revolutionary invasion of France, but a letter by Marie Antoinette postponed it until after the royal family had escaped from Paris and joined a concentration of regular troops under François Claude Amour, marquis de Bouillé at Montmédy. An uncle of the uncrowned Louis XVII and younger brother to reigning kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile.

Charles Philippe of France was born in 1757, the youngest son of the Dauphin Louis and his wife, the Dauphine Marie Josèphe, at the Palace of Versailles. Charles was created Count of Artois at birth by his grandfather, the reigning King Louis XV. As the youngest male in the family, Charles seemed unlikely ever to become king. His eldest brother, Louis, Duke of Burgundy, died unexpectedly in 1761, which moved Charles up one place in the line of succession. He was raised in early childhood by Madame de Marsan, the Governess of the Children of France.

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He was further dismayed when after her release the Duchess married the Count of Lucchesi Palli, a minor Neapolitan noble. In response to this morganatic match, Charles banned her from seeing her children. Charles’ relationship with his daughter-in-law proved uneasy, as the Duchess declared herself regent for her son Henry, Duke of Bordeaux, who was now the legitimist pretender to the French throne. Charles at first denied her this role, but in December agreed to support her claim once she had landed in France. In 1831 the Duchess made her way from Britain by way of the Netherlands, Prussia and Austria to her family in Naples. When it became apparent that a mob 14,000 strong was preparing to attack, the royal family left Rambouillet and, on 16 August embarked for the United Kingdom on packet steamers provided by Louis Philippe.

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The pretext for the war was an outrage by the Viceroy of Algeria, who had struck the French consul with the handle of his fly swat in a rage over French failure to pay debts from Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt. Charles gave his Prime Minister Villèlle lists of laws to be ratified in each parliament. In April 1825, the government approved legislation originally proposed by Louis XVII to pay an indemnity to nobles whose estates had been confiscated during the Revolution. The law gave approximately 988 million francs worth of government bonds to those who had lost their lands, in exchange for their renunciation of their ownership. Charles’s government attempted to re-establish male-only primogeniture for families paying over 300 francs in tax, but this was voted down in the Chamber of Deputies. The coronation of Charles X therefore appeared to be a compromise between the tradition of the Ancien Régime and the political changes that had taken place since the Revolution.

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Within a week France faced urban riots which led to the July Revolution of 1830, which resulted in his abdication and the election of Louis Philippe I as King of the French. Exiled once again, Charles died in 1836 in Gorizia, then part of the Austrian Empire. He was the last of the French rulers from the senior branch of the House of Bourbon.


Informed by the British Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, that they needed to arrive in Britain as private citizens, all family members adopted pseudonyms; Charles X styled himself “Count of Ponthieu”. The Bourbons were greeted coldly by the English, who upon their arrival mockingly waved the newly adopted tri-colour flags at them. The Chambers convened on 2 March 1830, but Charles’s opening speech was greeted by negative reactions from many deputies. Some introduced a bill requiring the King’s minister to obtain the support of the Chambers, and on 18 March, 221 deputies, a majority of 30, voted in favor. However, the King had already decided to hold general elections, and the chamber was suspended on 19 March.

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Upon his arrival at Görz in the Kingdom of Illyria, he caught cholera and died on 6 November 1836. Charles was interred in the Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady, in the Franciscan Kostanjevica Monastery , where his remains lie in a crypt with those of his family. Having gained little support, she arrived in Marseilles in April 1832, and made her way to the Vendée, where she tried to instigate an uprising against the new regime. There she was imprisoned, much to the embarrassment of her father-in-law Charles.

After the attempted flight was stopped at Varennes, Charles moved on to Koblenz, where he, the recently escaped Count of Provence and the Princes of Condé jointly declared their intention to invade France. The Count of Provence was sending dispatches to various European sovereigns for assistance, while Charles set up a court-in-exile in the Electorate of Trier. On 25 August, the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and Prussia issued the Declaration of Pillnitz, which called on other European powers to intervene in France. It is estimated that the project, which came to include manicured gardens, cost over two million livres. In the 1780s, King Louis XVI paid off the debts of both his brothers, the Counts of Provence and Artois.

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His flight was historically attributed to personal fears for his own safety. However recent research indicates that the King had approved his brother’s departure in advance, seeing it as a means of ensuring that one close relative would be free to act as a spokesman for the monarchy, after Louis himself had been moved from Versailles to Paris. His reign of almost six years proved to be deeply unpopular amongst the liberals in France from the moment of his coronation in 1825, in which he tried to revive the practice of the royal touch. Charles also approved the French conquest of Algeria as a way to distract his citizens from domestic problems, and forced Haiti to pay a hefty indemnity in return for lifting a blockade and recognizing Haiti’s independence. He eventually appointed a conservative government under the premiership of Prince Jules de Polignac, who was defeated in the 1830 French legislative election. He responded with the July Ordinances disbanding the Chamber of Deputies, limiting franchise, and reimposing press censorship.


When the French Revolutionary Wars broke out in 1792, Charles escaped to Great Britain, where King George III of Great Britain gave him a generous allowance. Charles lived in Edinburgh and London with his mistress Louise de Polastron. His older brother, dubbed Louis XVIII after the death of his nephew in June 1795, relocated to Verona and then to Jelgava Palace, Mitau, where Charles’ son Louis Antoine married Louis XVI’s only surviving child, Marie Thérèse, on 10 June 1799. Charles and his family decided to seek refuge in Savoy, his wife’s native country, where they were joined by some members of the Condé family. Meanwhile, in Paris, Louis XVI was struggling with the National Assembly, which was committed to radical reforms and had enacted the Constitution of 1791. In March 1791, the Assembly also enacted a regency bill that provided for the case of the king’s premature death.

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According to the Count of Hézecques, “few beauties were cruel to him.” Among his lovers was notably Anne Victoire Dervieux. Later, he embarked upon a lifelong love affair with the beautiful Louise de Polastron, the sister-in-law of Marie Antoinette’s closest companion, the Duchess of Polignac. On 31 January 1830, the Polignac government decided to send a military expedition to Algeria to end the threat of Algerian pirates to Mediterranean trade, hoping also to increase his government’s popularity through a military victory.

  • Charles meanwhile left Turin and moved to Trier in Germany, where his uncle, Clemens Wenceslaus of Saxony, was the incumbent Archbishop-Elector.
  • Then, as Ferdinand continued his use of Prague Castle, Kirchberg Castle was purchased for them.
  • On 14 February 1820, Charles’s younger son, the Duke of Berry, was assassinated at the Paris Opera.
  • His reign of almost six years proved to be deeply unpopular amongst the liberals in France from the moment of his coronation in 1825, in which he tried to revive the practice of the royal touch.
  • On the morning of 1 August, the Duchess of Angoulême, who had rushed from Vichy after learning of events, arrived at Rambouillet.

In January 1814, Charles covertly left his home in London to join the Coalition forces in southern France. Louis XVIII, by then a wheelchair user, supplied Charles with letters patent creating him Lieutenant General of the Kingdom of France. The Senate declared the restoration of Louis XVIII as the Bourbon King of France. Charles arrived in the capital on 12 April and acted as Lieutenant General of the realm until Louis XVIII arrived from England. During his brief tenure as regent, Charles created an ultra-royalist secret police that reported directly back to him without Louis XVIII’s knowledge. In conjunction with the Baron de Breteuil, Charles had political alliances arranged to depose the liberal minister of finance, Jacques Necker.

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The coronation nevertheless had a limited influence on the population, mentalities no longer being those of yesteryear. From then on, the coronation caused incomprehension in certain sectors of public opinion. After the Hundred Days, Napoleon’s brief return to power in 1815, the White Terror focused mainly on the purging of a civilian administration which had almost completely turned against the Bourbon monarchy. The remnants of the Napoleonic army were disbanded after the Battle of Waterloo and its senior officers cashiered.


Three years later, in 1778, Charles’ second son, Charles Ferdinand, was born and given the title of Duke of Berry. In the same year Queen Marie Antoinette gave birth to her first child, Marie Thérèse, quelling all rumours that she could not bear children. Louis XV fell ill on 27 April 1774 and died on 10 May of smallpox at the age of 64.

The members of the Chamber of Deputies sent a five-man delegation to Marmont, urging him to advise the king to assuage the protesters by revoking the four Ordinances. On Marmont’s request, the prime minister applied to the king, but Charles refused all compromise and dismissed his ministers that afternoon, realizing the precariousness of the situation. That evening, the members of the Chamber assembled at Jacques Laffitte’s house and elected Louis Philippe d’Orléans to take the throne from King Charles, proclaiming their decision on posters throughout the city. On New Year’s Day 1792, the National Assembly declared all emigrants traitors, repudiated their titles and confiscated their lands.

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At the death of his father in 1765, Charles’s oldest surviving brother, Louis Auguste, became the new Dauphin . Their mother Marie Josèphe, who never recovered from the loss of her husband, died in March 1767 from tuberculosis. This left Charles an orphan at the age of nine, along with his siblings Louis Auguste, Louis Stanislas, Count of Provence, Clotilde (“Madame Clotilde”), and Élisabeth (“Madame Élisabeth”). Meanwhile, in Paris, Louis Philippe assumed the post of Lieutenant General of the Kingdom.

Charles’ brother King Louis XVIII’s health had been worsening since the beginning of 1824. Suffering from both dry and wet gangrene in his legs and spine, he died on 16 September of that year, aged almost 69. Charles, by now aged 66, succeeded him to the throne as King Charles X of France. On 29 May 1825, King Charles was anointed at the cathedral of Reims, the traditional site of consecration of French kings; it had been unused since 1775, as Louis XVIII had forgone the ceremony to avoid controversy and because his health was too precarious. It was in the venerable cathedral of Notre-Dame at Paris that Napoleon had consecrated his revolutionary empire; but in ascending the throne of his ancestors, Charles reverted to the old place of coronation used by the kings of France from the early ages of the monarchy.

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These plans backfired when Charles attempted to secure Necker’s dismissal on 11 July without Breteuil’s knowledge, much earlier than they had originally intended. It was the beginning of a decline in his political alliance with Breteuil, which ended in mutual loathing. A famous story concerning the two involves the construction of the Château de Bagatelle. Marie Antoinette wagered her brother-in-law that the new château could not be completed within three months. Charles engaged the neoclassical architect François-Joseph Bélanger to design the building. Charles was thought of as the most attractive member of his family, bearing a strong resemblance to his grandfather Louis XV. His wife was considered quite ugly by most contemporaries, and he looked for company in numerous extramarital affairs.

Louis XVIII was greeted with great rejoicing from the Parisians and proceeded to occupy the Tuileries Palace. The Count of Artois lived in the Pavillon de Mars, and the Duke of Angoulême in the Pavillon de Flore, which overlooked the River Seine. The Duchess of Angoulême fainted upon arriving at the palace, as it brought back terrible memories of her family’s incarceration there, and of the storming of the palace and the massacre of the Swiss Guards on 10 August 1792.