Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord Biography
(1st Prime Minister of France (1815), Ambassador of France to the UK (1830-34))
Birthday: February 2, 1754 (Aquarius)
Born In: Paris, France
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, 1st Prince of Benevento, then 1st Duke of Talleyrand, was a French statesman and diplomat who served during the reigns of Louis XVI, Napoleon, Louis XVIII, and Louis-Philippe, and the years of the French Revolution. After completing theology studies, he was appointed agent-general of the clergy in 1780 and served as a representative of the Catholic Church to the French Crown. During his tenure at the highest levels of successive governments, he was often made the foreign minister. Although he garnered little trust from the people under whom he served, they all acknowledged his competence and efficiency. During the reign of Napoleon, he served as the chief diplomat and utilized peaceful, diplomatic methods to consolidate French hegemony in Europe. Eventually, he turned against the emperor and sought to negotiate peace with Russia and Austria. After Napoleon’s fall, Talleyrand successfully brokered a treaty at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15 that was beneficial to France. Talleyrand inspires contradictory scholarly opinions. Some consider him as one of the most resourceful, talented, and prolific diplomats in European history, while others dub him a traitor who deceived, in turn, the Ancien Régime, the French Revolution, Napoleon, and the Restoration.