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Charles Maurice De Talleyrand-Perigord Edit Profile

Diplomat , Prime Minister

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord was a French diplomat. Admired and often distrusted, sometimes even feared by those he served, he was not easily replaced as a negotiator of infinite wiles.


He took Holy Orders in 1775 after studies at the Collège d'Harcourt, a secondary school, and at the seminary in Reims.


In 1780, he became Agent-General of the Clergy, a representative of the Catholic Church to the French Crown.

Excommunicated by the pope in 1790, he was sent to England as an envoy in 1792.

He was expelled from France during the Reign of Terror, lived in the U.S. then returned.

He resigned in opposition to Napoleon's policy toward Russia but continued to advise him, arranging his marriage with Marie-Louise of Austria. As Napoleon faced defeat, Talleyrand secretly worked to restore the monarchy; in 1814 he was appointed foreign minister to Louis XVIII and represented France at the Congress of Vienna.


Talleyrand attended the Estates-General of 1789, representing the clergy, the First Estate.

During the French Revolution, Talleyrand strongly supported the anti-clericalism of the revolutionaries.

He participated in the writing of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and proposed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy that nationalised the Church.


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