Florimond Claude, Comte de Mercy-Argenteau

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Florimont-Claude de Mercy-Argenteau
Florimont-Claude Mercy-Argenteau.jpg
Florimont-Claude Mercy-Argenteau (1757)
Austrian Ambassador to France
In office
Monarch Maria Theresa of Austria
Joseph II of Austria
Leopold II of Austria
Preceded by Georg Adam von Starhemberg
Succeeded by Franz Paul von Blumendorf
Austrian Ambassador to Russia
In office
15 June 1761 – 6 October 1763
Monarch Maria Theresa of Austria
Preceded by Nikolaus I, Prince Esterházy
Succeeded by Joseph Maria Karl von Lobkowitz
Austrian Ambassador to Sardinia-Piedmont
In office
14 June 1754 – 18 December 1760
Monarch Maria Theresa of Austria
Preceded by Georg Barré
Succeeded by Johann Sigismund von Khevenhüller-Metsch
Personal details
Born 20 April 1727
Liège, Austrian Netherlands
Died 25 August 1794(1794-08-25) (aged 67)
London, Great Britain
Nationality Austrian

Florimond Claude, comte de Mercy-Argenteau (20 April 1727 – 25 August 1794) was an Austrian diplomat.

He was born in Liège, Belgium, to Antoine, comte de Mercy-Argenteau, and entered the diplomatic service of Austria in Paris in the train of Reichsfürst Kaunitz. He became Austrian minister in Turin at the court of King Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia, in St. Petersburg at the court of Catherine the Great, and then Paris at the court of King Louis XV of France in 1766. In Paris, his first work was to strengthen the alliance between France and Austria, which was cemented in 1770 by the marriage of the dauphin, afterwards Louis XVI, with Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa, afterwards known as Queen Marie Antoinette. When Louis and Marie Antoinette ascended the throne of France in 1774, Mercy-Argenteau became one of the most powerful personages at the French court due to his influence over Marie-Antoinette, which made her unpopular with the French nobility and French people. He was in Paris during the turbulent years the heralded the French Revolution, and gave powerful aid to the finance ministers Loménie de Brienne and Necker. In 1792, he became governor-general of the Austrian Netherlands, which had just been reduced to obedience by Austria. There, his ability and experience made him a very successful ruler. Although at first in favor of moderate courses, Mercy-Argenteau supported the action of Austria in making war upon his former ally after the outbreak of the French Revolution, and in July 1794, he was appointed Austrian ambassador to Britain, but he died a few days after his arrival in London.

He was played by Henry Stephenson in the 1938 film Marie Antoinette, and by Steve Coogan in the 2006 film of the same name.

See also[edit]

  • T. Juste, Le Comte de Mercy-Argenteau (Brussels 1863)
  • A. von Arneth and A. Geoff roy, Correspondances secretes de Marie Therese avec le comte de Mercy (Paris 1874)
  • A. von Arneth and J. Flammermont, Correspondance secrete de Mercy avec Joseph II et Kaunitz (Paris 1889-1891)
  • Mercy-Argenteau's Correspondances secretes de Marie Terese has been condensed and translated into English by Lilian Smythe under the title of A Guardian of Marie Antoinette (2 vols., London 1902)