Henri-Auguste de Loménie, comte de Brienne

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Henri-Auguste de Loménie de Brienne

Henri-Auguste de Loménie (1594 – 3 November 1666), Count of Brienne, Seigneur de La Ville-aux-Clercs was a French politician. He was secretary of state for the navy from 1615 to February 1643, and then secretary of state for foreign affairs from 1643 to 1663 under Mazarin during the minority of Louis XIV. From the Loménie family (originating in Flavignac in Limousin), he was the son of Antoine de Loménie, secretary of state to Henry IV and a Huguenot convert. The Count de Brienne was naturally destined to public office. He traveled to Germany, Poland and Italy, by order of his father, the last as well prepare for his career. He was back in Paris towards the end of 1609, that he was noticed by Henry IV, who allowed him to attend the board sometimes. Marie de Medici, regent of France, commissioned him in 1614 to negotiate with some members of the États généraux, "whose minds were unwell", and his clever response obtained from them the nomination of a president acceptable to the court. This success earned him in 1617, master of ceremonies and provost of king's orders. Until the death of his father, his principal occupation "was to accompany the King and gain the honor of his good graces, to which he succeeds."

The British Embassy, where he was responsible for negotiating the marriage of Henrietta Maria of France with the Charles I of England. However, when he seemed to have met with success in its attempt at accommodatation, he was disowned by Louis XIII and Richelieu.

The kindness of the queen mother of Louis XI to him was also the affection of the princess to Madame de Brienne, his wife, the whole court knew to be the closest confidante of Anne of Austria. This influence kept him in power until the death of Mazarin, but before that time, his influence began to wane.

The impairment of the Count of Brienne was not soon enough for the young and voluntary authority of Louis XIV; high diplomatic capacities should preferably also attract the attention of the king, a great kingdom was coming, and he had to carry and moderate both the ideas of the gigantic new prince, physical strength and moral well above that of the Count de Brienne. Hugues de Lyonne was charged in 1663, with the Department of Foreign Affairs, replacing him.

He died in 1666. Le Tellier, who became chancellor, said in council, when he heard the news:

He had never seen a man more intelligent in business, less shaken at the least danger, less stunned by surprises, and more fertile in expedients to disentangle them happily.

And the King Louis XIV said:

I lost today the oldest, most loyal and most informed of my ministers.

He wrote his memoirs for the instruction of her children: Memory containing the most remarkable events of the reign of Louis XIII and Louis XIV than to the death of Cardinal Mazarin.



  • "Notice sur le Comte de Brienne" in introduction à ses Mémoires in Nouvelle Collection des Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de France (Michaud-Poujoulat, publié en 1838)
Political offices
Preceded by
Henri Auguste de Loménie
Minister for the Maison du Roi
Succeeded by
Henry de Guénegaud
Preceded by
Henri Auguste de Loménie
Minister of the Navy and the Colonies
Succeeded by
Henry de Guénegaud
Preceded by
Léon Bouthillier, comte de Chavigny
Foreign Minister of France
23 June 1643 – 3 April 1663
Succeeded by
Hugues de Lionne