Jules de Polignac

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Jules de Polignac

Jules Armande de Polignac.jpg
7th Prime Minister of France
In office
8 August 1829 29 July 1830
Monarch Charles X
Preceded by Jean-Baptiste de Martignac
Succeeded byVacant (government led by Louis Philippe I)
Jacques Laffitte (1830)
French Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
28 December 1822 4 January 1828
Appointed by Jean-Baptiste de Villèle
Preceded by François-René de Chateaubriand
Succeeded by Pierre de Montmorency-Laval
Personal details
Born(1780-05-14)14 May 1780
Versailles, Île-de-France, France
Died2 March 1847(1847-03-02) (aged 66)
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Yvelines, France
Political party Ultra-royalist
Barbara Campbell
(m. 1816;her d. 1819)

Charlotte Parkyns de Choiseul
(m. 1824; annulled  1832)

Jules de Polignac, Count of Polignac (French pronunciation:  [ʒyl.də.pɔ.li.ɲak] ; Jules Auguste Armand Marie; 14 May 1780 2 March 1847), [1] then Prince of Polignac, and briefly 3rd Duke of Polignac in 1847, was a French statesman and ultra-royalist politician after the Revolution. He served as prime minister under Charles X, just before the July Revolution in 1830 that overthrew the senior line of the House of Bourbon.

An Ultra-royalist was a French political label used from 1815 to 1830 under the Bourbon Restoration. An Ultra was usually a member of the nobility of high society who strongly supported the Bourbon monarchy, traditional hierarchy between classes and census suffrage against popular will and the interests of the bourgeoisie and their liberal and democratic tendencies.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Charles X of France King of France and of Navarre

Charles X was King of France from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. For most of his life he was known as the Count of Artois. An uncle of the uncrowned Louis XVII and younger brother to reigning kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile. After the Bourbon Restoration in 1814, Charles became the leader of the ultra-royalists, a radical monarchist faction within the French court that affirmed rule by divine right and opposed the concessions towards liberals and guarantees of civil liberties granted by the Charter of 1814. Charles gained influence within the French court after the assassination of his son Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry, in 1820 and eventually succeeded his brother in 1824.


Early life

Portrait of Jules de Polignac during the First Empire Jules de Polignac.jpg
Portrait of Jules de Polignac during the First Empire
Coat of arms of the House of Polignac Blason famille Polignac.svg
Coat of arms of the House of Polignac

Born in Versailles, Jules was the younger son of Jules, 1st Duke of Polignac, and Gabrielle de Polastron, a confidante and favourite of Queen Marie-Antoinette. Due to his mother's privileged position, the young Jules was raised in the environment of the court of Versailles, where his family occupied a luxurious suite of thirteen rooms. His sister, Aglaé, was married to the duc de Guîche at a young age, helping to cement the Polignac family's position as one of the leaders of high society at Versailles.

Jules de Polignac, 1st Duke of Polignac was a French nobleman and the husband of Yolande de Polastron, a confidante of Queen Marie Antoinette. He became the first Duke of Polignac in 1780. He died at the age of seventy one in Little Russia, where he was given a manor by Catherine the Great.

Yolande de Polastron Governess of the Children of France, 1782-1789

Yolande Martine Gabrielle de Polastron, Duchess of Polignac was the favourite of Marie Antoinette, whom she first met when she was presented at the Palace of Versailles in 1775, the year after Marie Antoinette became the Queen of France. She was considered one of the great beauties of pre-Revolutionary society, but her extravagance and exclusivity earned her many enemies.

Aglaé de Polignac French noble

Aglaé Louise Françoise Gabrielle de Polignac was the daughter of Gabrielle de Polastron, the favourite and confidante of Marie Antoinette, and her husband, the 1st duc de Polignac.

With the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, Jules's mother and her circle were forced to flee abroad due to threats against their lives. She had been one of the most consistent supporters of absolutism, and she bequeathed these political sympathies to her son following her death in 1793.

Marriages and issue

Jules married twice. He was married firstly, in 1816, at London to Barbara Campbell (Ardneaves House, Islay 22 Aug. 1788 – Saint-Mandé 23 May 1819), a young Scotswoman, who later returned with him to France, with whom he had two children:

After his first wife's death in 1819, he married in London, on 3 June 1824, to Charlotte, Comtesse de Choiseul, widow of Comte Cesar de Choiseul (d. 1821), née the Honourable (Maria) Charlotte Parkyns (St. Marylebone, 6 Jan. 1792 – 1/2 Sep. 1864). She was the youngest child (of six children) of Thomas Parkyns, 1st Baron Rancliffe (created 1795) [3] and his wife Elizabeth Anne James, and sister of George Augustus Anne Parkyns, Lord Rancliffe [4] and Henrietta, Lady Rumbold (1789–1833), wife of Sir William Rumbold, 3rd Bt. [5] He had met her while she was renewing her passport at the London embassy, and he was the Ambassador (1823–1829). [6] They had five children, of whom two were born while their father was (comfortably) in prison:

Thomas Boothby Parkyns, 1st Baron Rancliffe was an English soldier, Member of Parliament and Irish peer.

The Parkyns Baronetcy, of Bunny Park in Nottinghamshire, is a title in the Baronetage of England. It was created on 18 May 1681 for Thomas Parkyns in acknowledgement of the royalist service of his father Colonel Isham Parkyns during the English Civil War.

The Rumbold Baronetcy, of Wood Hall in Watton in the County of Hertford, is a title in the Baronetage of Great Britain. It was created on 27 March 1779 for the politician and colonial administrator Thomas Rumbold. The second Baronet was Minister at Hamburg. The fifth Baronet was President of Nevis and of the Virgin Islands. The eighth Baronet was Ambassador to Austria from 1896 to 1900. The ninth Baronet was also a distinguished diplomat and served as Ambassador to Germany from 1928 to 1933. The tenth Baronet was Ambassador to Thailand and Austria.

Alphonse de Polignac (1826–1863) was a French mathematician. In 1849, the year he was admitted to Polytechnique, he made what's known as Polignac's conjecture:

École Polytechnique French institution of higher education and research in Palaiseau

École polytechnique is a French public institution of higher education and research in Palaiseau, a suburb southwest of Paris. It is one of the most prestigious and selective French scientific and engineering schools, called grandes écoles in French. It is known for its ingénieur polytechnicien scientific degree program which is equivalent to both a bachelor and master of science. Its entrance exam, the X-ENS exam, is renowned for its selectivity with a little over 500 admitted students out of the 53 848 students enrolled in the preparatory programs for the French scientific and engineering schools entrance exams.

In number theory, Polignac's conjecture was made by Alphonse de Polignac in 1849 and states:

The couple's marriage was annulled by the French Chamber of Peers, but Jules and Charlotte went to England after his release in 1836, and they renewed their vows before the French consul in 1837. [10]


Returning to France, which was then ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte, Jules continued in his zealous loyalty to the exiled Royal Family. In 1804, a year after his sister's death, Jules was implicated in the conspiracy of Cadoudal and Pichegru to assassinate Bonaparte, and was imprisoned until 1813. After the restoration of the Bourbons, he was rewarded with various honours and positions. He held various offices, received from the pope his title of "prince" in 1820, and in 1823, King Louis XVIII made him ambassador to Great Britain. A year later, his mother's former friend ascended the throne as King Charles X. Polignac's political sympathies did not alter, and he was one of the most conspicuous ultra-royalists during the Restoration era.

At the time, it was rumoured that Polignac supported ultra-royalist policies because he thought he was receiving inspiration from the Virgin Mary. There is little historical evidence for this story, however. There is no mention of such motivation in Polignac's personal memoirs or in the memoirs of the Restoration court.

On 8 August 1829, Charles X appointed him to the ministry of foreign affairs and in the following November, Polignac became president of the council, effectively the most powerful politician in France. His appointment was considered a step towards overthrowing the constitution and Polignac, with other ministers, was held responsible for the decision to issue the Four Ordinances, which were the immediate cause of the revolution of July 1830.

Upon the outbreak of revolt, he fled, wandering for some time among the wilds of Normandy before he was arrested at Granville. At his trial before the chamber of peers, he was condemned and sentenced to 'perpetual' imprisonment at the château in Ham. But he benefited by the amnesty of 1836, when the sentence was commuted to exile. During his captivity, he wrote Considerations politiques (1832). Afterwards, he spent several years in exile in England before being permitted to re-enter France, on condition that he never again take up his abode in Paris.

From his second marriage to Maria-Charlotte, Jules de Polignac had fathered seven children, including Prince Ludovic de Polignac (1827–1904), a lieutenant-colonel in the French Army who participated in the colonization of Algeria; Prince Camille Armand Jules Marie, Prince de Polignac (1832–1913), a major-general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War; and Prince Edmond de Polignac (1834–1901), a composer, musical theorist and proponent of the octatonic scale.

Jules died at St. Germain in 1847 of the effects of his imprisonment. About one month prior, he had assumed the title of Duc de Polignac upon the death of his older brother, Armand, who had died without children.

Comte Pierre de Polignac, later Prince Pierre, Duke of Valentinois (father of Rainier III of Monaco and therefore an ancestor of the entire current princely family) is descended from a different and cadet branch of the Polignac family, which has the comital rank only. Pierre was the youngest son, descended from the youngest son of the first Duke of Polignac.


See also



  1. Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. Paul Theroff. Polignac. An Online Gotha. retrieved 25 December 2012
  3. He was son of Sir Thomas Parkyns, 4th Bt, and was created Baron Rancliffe in the Peerage of Ireland. He predeceased his father Sir Thomas Parkyns, 3rd Bt (1728–1806) and was succeeded in the barony of Rancliffe 1800 by his son George Augustus Anne, who became 4th Bt in 1806. The second Baron Rancliffe died 1850 without issue.
  4. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  5. "Maria Charlotte Parkyns (Parkins) 1792 – post 1824" Genealogy of Charlotte de Polignac, nee Parkyns, retrieved 24 December 2012.
  6. Sylvia Kahan. In Search of New Scales: Prince Edmond De Polignac, Octatonic Explorer University of Rochester Press, 2009
  7. Kahan, p 26
  8. See Kahan p.11 According to Kahan, Jules was allowed conjugal visits from his wife, and thus his last two sons were conceived in prison.
  9. "Modern Day Line from Charles Allanson Knight and Jessie Anne Ramsey" Archived 19 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 25 December 2012
  10. See Kahan p.13

Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Polignac"  . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Political offices
Preceded by
The Viscount of Martignac
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
The Duke of Broglie
French nobility
Preceded by
Armand de Polignac
Duke of Polignac
1 March 1847 30 March 1847
Succeeded by
Jules de Polignac

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