Tagged: King Louis XVIII

Louis XVIII, originally named Louis-Stanislas-Xavier, was born on November 17, 1755, in the Palace of Versailles, France.

He was the brother of King Louis XVI and King Charles X. Despite being part of the royal family, his early life was somewhat obscured by the spotlight on his elder brother, the Dauphin, who would later become Louis XVI.

Period of Exile

After the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 and the subsequent execution of his brother Louis XVI in 1793, Louis XVIII lived in exile in several European countries, including Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain. During his exile, he styled himself as the rightful King of France.

Reign

Louis XVIII ascended to the French throne after the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814, marking the beginning of the Bourbon Restoration. However, his initial reign was short-lived due to Napoleon’s escape from exile and his return to power for the Hundred Days in 1815. After Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo and his subsequent second abdication, Louis XVIII was restored to the throne.

King Louis XVIII’s Policies

Louis XVIII was known for his moderate policies and willingness to compromise. He issued the Charter of 1814, a constitutional document that granted certain civil liberties and established a constitutional monarchy, where the king shared power with a bicameral legislature. The Charter aimed at balancing the ideals of the French Revolution with the principles of monarchy, and it secured property rights and limited suffrage to the wealthiest segment of the population.

However, his reign saw the persisting political conflict between the Ultra-royalists, who sought a return to absolute monarchy, and the liberals, who favored constitutional monarchy.

Death and Legacy

Louis XVIII’s health deteriorated over the years, and he passed away on September 16, 1824. He was succeeded by his brother, Charles X.

The legacy of Louis XVIII is multifaceted. He is remembered for his efforts to reconcile monarchical rule with revolutionary reforms and for his attempts to govern moderately in a polarized political landscape.

His reign marked the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy and symbolized a return to stability and order in post-revolutionary and post-Napoleonic France.