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HOME   -   PEOPLE IN HISTORY A-Z   -   CHARLES-MAURICE DE TALLEYRAND

 
   


Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand 1754-1838

 

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand 1754-1838

One of the sturdiest hides in the history of French politics, Talleyrand exerted major influence over official European business from 1789 until 1834.

Image Above

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Detail of the painting by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon

Metropolitan Museum of Art


This was a remarkably long time period stretching all the way from the
French Revolution to the reign of the Citizen King Louis-Philippe — an era of extreme political changes.

In other words, Talleyrand managed to stay in the saddle before, during, and after  Napoleon I. Not many men were able to accomplish the same.



Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand — Personality

Talleyrand had a sharp brain and wit. Although Talleyrand was said to have been able to appreciate the smart and beautiful things around him, he never lost sight of his aims.

 

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand — Name, Family, and Roots

His full name was Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, and he was the Prince de Bénévent.

 

About the Talleyrands

   
  Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand's family had aristocratic roots but lacked its befitting wealth. However, the Talleyrands were very proud of their family tree.

Older spellings of the name Talleyrand are Taleyrand, Taleyran, Talieran, or Tailleran.


The name Talleyrand is of unknown origin and goes back to the 12th century. Some think it stems from a feudal tenure, others think it started as a nickname for soldiers (taille rangs = mow down the ranks) and eventually developed into a surname.

Here is the coat of arms of the Talleyrand-Périgords at their tomb at the cemetery of Auteuil — three rampant lions with crowns:


Talleyrand Coat of Arms
Photo Mu/Wiki


Re Que Diou = Rien Que Dieu, or Nothing but God, in other words Only God Above Us, a motto that reflects the proud mindset of the Talleyrands, especially in light of the fact that France was governed by an absolute monarch until 1792.


Talleyrand's paternal grandfather, Daniel-Marie-Anne, Marquis de Talleyrand-Périgord, Comte (count) de Grignols, was killed at the  Siege of Tournai.


Charles' father was Charles-Daniel, Comte (count) de Talleyrand-Périgord, who lived from June 16, 1734 - November 4, 1788, and made it to lieutenant general in the royal army.

Charles' mother was Alexandrine-Marie-Victoire-Eléonore de Damas d'Antigny, daughter of Joseph-François, Marquis d'Antigny, who died June 14, 1809.

The two married on January 12, 1751. Charles-Daniel was 16, Alexandrine was 22 years old at the time. They had four sons.



Their fist son was Alexandre-François-Jacques, born on January 18, 1752. Alex died at five years of age.

Their second son was Charles-Maurice.

Their third son was Archambauld-Joseph, born in 1762. Following his father's example, Archie became lieutenant general as well.

Their fourth son was Boson-Jacques, also lieutenant general, and later governor of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

 

Charles married Catherine Noël Grand, nee Worlée. Born November 21, 1762.

In 1815, they separated.


Talleyrand had no legitimate children.

   
   

About the Périgords

   
  Périgord is a region in southern France, located between the cities Bordeaux and Limoges.

Way back when, the