Charles-Joseph-Benoît d'Argenteau

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Charles-Joseph-Benoît d'Argenteau, lithograph by Franz Hanfstaengl , 1828

Charles-Joseph-Benoît d'Argenteau ( Italian Carlo Giuseppe Benedetto Mercy d'Argenteau ; born March 17, 1787 in Liège ; † November 16, 1879 ibid) was a Belgian diplomat of the Holy See , archbishop and nuncio in Munich .


He came from the aristocratic family of the Argenteau and was the son of Count Joseph-Louis-Eugène d'Argenteau and his wife Marie-Josèphe Countess of Limburg-Stirum . His father was chamberlain to the governor of the Austrian Netherlands, Karl Alexander von Lorraine . His uncle Florimond-Charles de Mercy-Argenteau (1727–1794) was Austrian ambassador to the French court in Versailles from 1766 to 1792; his older brother and heir to the title, François de Mercy-Argenteau (1780-1859), was Napoleon's ambassador at the Bavarian court , later governor of Brabant and chamberlain to King Wilhelm I of the Netherlands .

Charles d'Argenteau joined the Napoleonic army in 1807 and took part in campaigns in Portugal, Spain, Russia and Germany. Awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor , he left the service in 1814 with the rank of hussar colonel. He then became adjutant to the King of the Netherlands Wilhelm I.

After the sudden death of his fiancée, Mademoiselle de La Tour d'Auvergne , on the eve of their wedding, he experienced a change of heart and entered the service of the Curia in Rome . Before September 4, 1824 papal house prelate , appointed Pope Leo XII. him on December 9, 1824 as Apostolic Protonotary . He was ordained a priest on August 10, 1825.

On October 2, 1826, Charles d'Argenteau was named titular archbishop of Tire . The episcopal ordination donated him the next day Cardinal Secretary of State Giulio Maria della Somaglia , Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and Velletri ; Co- consecrators were the Latin Patriarch of Antioch Lorenzo Girolamo Mattei and Archbishop Antonio Luigi Piatti . He left Rome on February 15, 1827 and traveled to Munich, where he worked as nuncio in the Kingdom of Bavaria for eleven years . On April 27, 1837, he retired to Liège, where he became Dean of the Chapter of Liège Cathedral.

From Napoleon III. Promoted to Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, he died on November 16, 1879 in Liège.


  • Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur
  • Grand Officier de la Legion d'Honneur


  • Georges de Froidcourt: La vie tumultueuse de Charles d'Argenteau, officier d'Empire et archevêque “in partibus” 1787–1879. Liège 1959.
  • Philippe Bountry: Prélats Référendaires et officers de curie en fonctions sous la restauration (1814–1846) . In: Souverain et pontife. Recherches prosopographiques sur la Curie Romaine à l'âge de la Restoration (1814–1846) . École française de Rome, Rome 2002, margin no. 40–41 (French, online edition [accessed March 24, 2018]).

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