Charles-Joseph de Flahaut

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Auguste Charles Joseph de Flahaut

Auguste Charles Joseph, Count of Flahaut de La Billardierie (born April 21, 1785 in Paris , † September 1, 1870 in Paris), was a French Général de division , diplomat and adjutant Murat .


The Countess de Flahaut with her son Charles, painted by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard in 1785

He was officially born the son of Alexandre Sébastien de Flahaut de la Billarderie, Count de Flahaut , guillotined in Arras in February 1793, and his wife Adelaide Filleul, later Mme. De Souza. In fact, Talleyrand is said to have been his father, which is not only supported by the timely relationship with his mother, but also by his close collaboration with Talleyrand until his death in 1838. After her husband's execution, his widow Charles Joseph took him into exile in 1793, where he stayed until 1798. After returning to France, he volunteered in the army in 1800 and received his officer license after the Battle of Marengo , that same year. He became an adjutant to Joachim Murat and was wounded in the Battle of Landbach in 1805 . After the Battle of Friedland , he was awarded the Legion of Honor and returned to Paris in 1807 . He served in the war in Spain in 1808, then in Germany . After the Battle of Wagram , he was Colonel promoted and Baron appointed.

During Napoleon's stay in Warsaw in 1807, Flahaut had a relationship with Anna Poniatowski, Countess Potocka, which the Countess intended to continue by moving to Paris. But Flahaut had meanwhile entered into a relationship with Hortense de Beauharnais , Napoleon's stepdaughter and sister-in-law and Queen of Holland from 1806 to 1810 . Their son was Charles Auguste Louis Joseph Demorny, born on October 21, 1811, who later became Duke of Morny , and through his mother was half-brother of the later Emperor Napoleon III, who was three and a half years his senior . Flahaut fought with distinction in the Russian campaign of 1812, was brigadier general , Napoleon's adjutant in 1813 and, in 1813, after the Battle of Leipzig , division general and was rewarded with the dignity of count . In the battle of Hanau he was distinguished by a desperate bravery and was entrusted by Napoleon with the role of negotiator with the allies.

After Napoleon's abdication in April 1814, he submitted to the new government, but was dismissed from service in September. He was a persistent companion of Hortense during this time until he was reactivated by Napoleon's return from the island of Elba in early 1815 and the rule of the Hundred Days that followed. An embassy to Vienna , with which he was supposed to bring about the return of Marie Louise , failed because he was arrested in Stuttgart . Soon afterwards he was released, the returned emperor appointed him peer and made him his adjutant, among other things in the battle of Waterloo . After that he even tried to bring Napoleon II to the throne. Talleyrand's influence prevented him from being exiled but not from coming under police surveillance. He moved to Germany and then back to Great Britain , where he met Margaret, the Baroness Keith, daughter of Admiral George Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith , and married her after his death.

The French ambassador, who protested against this marriage, only got Flahaut to return his officer's license. His eldest daughter, Emily Jane Mercer Elphinstone de Flahaut , married Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne . In 1827 the family returned to France. In 1830 Louis Philippe gave him the post of lieutenant general and made him peer of France . In 1831 he was ambassador to Berlin for a short time , after which he belonged to the court of Prince Ferdinand Philip of France , the Duke of Orléans , in Antwerp . In 1837 he was made the prince's grand stable master. After his death in 1841 he was sent as ambassador to Vienna, where he stayed until the February Revolution of 1848; when he was dismissed from the diplomatic service, he also withdrew from the army. After Napoleon's coup d'état of December 2, 1851, he was reinstated - probably thanks to his son Demorny, who later became the Duke of Morny, who was now Minister of the Interior - he was then senator in 1853 and Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor in 1864 , and from 1860 to 1862 he was Ambassador to the court of St. James's, his last commitment to the French state.


His name is entered on the triumphal arch in Paris in the 32nd column.


  • Flahaut de la Billarderie, Auguste Charles Joseph, Comte de . In: Encyclopædia Britannica . 11th edition. tape 10 : Evangelical Church - Francis Joseph I . London 1910, p. 468 (English, full text [ Wikisource ]).
predecessor Office successor
Louis-Clair de Beaupoil de Sainte-Aulaire French ambassador to Austria from
1841 to 1848
Pascal Duprat
Victor de Persigny French Ambassador to the United Kingdom
1860 to 1862
Jean-Baptiste Louis Gros