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Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Prince of Benevento

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, 1754-1838, French bishop and diplomat.

Talleyrand was made Bishop of Autun by Louis XVI in 1788 and served in a number of influential posts, including in the First Estate of the Estates-General in 1789 and the National Assembly. His support for the new revolutionary France and his criticism of the Church led to his excommunication by the pope in 1791, but he remained politically active as minister of foreign affairs under the Directory. He was instrumental in drafting the Declaration of Rights.

He strongly supported Napoleon and helped prepare the coup d'état that brought him to power, but tension between the two was evident as early as 1805, and Talleyrand deserted him in 1814 to lead the opposition against him and to try to restore Louis XVIII. He retired from public life in 1815, but returned in 1830 as an advisor of Louis Philippe.