Louis XVIII (Louis Stanislas Xavier; 17 November 1755 – 16 September 1824), known as the Desired (French: le Désiré),[1][2] was King of France from 1814 to 1824, except for the Hundred Days in 1815. He spent twenty-three years in exile: during the French Revolution and the First French Empire (18041814), and during the Hundred Days.

Portrait by François Gérard, as King of France
King of France
Reign3 May 1814 – 20 March 1815[lower-alpha 1]
PredecessorLouis XVII
Napoleon I as emperor
SuccessorNapoleon I as emperor
Reign8 July 1815 – 16 September 1824
PredecessorNapoleon I as emperor
SuccessorCharles X
Prime Ministers
Born(1755-11-17)17 November 1755
Palace of Versailles, Kingdom of France
Died16 September 1824(1824-09-16) (aged 68)
Tuileries Palace, Paris, Kingdom of France
24 September 1824
Basilica of Saint Denis
(m. 1771; died 1810)
French: Louis Stanislas Xavier de France
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  • Spanish: Luis Estanislao Javier de Francia
    Portuguese: Luís Estanislau Xavier da França
    Italian: Luigi Stanislao Saverio di Borbone-Francia
    Dutch: Lodewijk Stanislaus Xaverius van Frankrijk
FatherLouis, Dauphin of France
MotherMaria Josepha of Saxony
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Until his accession to the throne of France, he held the title of Count of Provence as brother of King Louis XVI. On 21 September 1792, the National Convention abolished the monarchy and deposed Louis XVI, who was later executed by guillotine.[3] When his young nephew Louis XVII died in prison in June 1795, the Count of Provence proclaimed himself (titular) king under the name Louis XVIII.[4]

Following the French Revolution and during the Napoleonic era, Louis XVIII lived in exile in Prussia, England, and Russia.[5] When the Sixth Coalition finally defeated Napoleon in 1814, Louis XVIII was placed in what he, and the French royalists, considered his rightful position. However, Napoleon escaped from his exile in Elba and restored his French Empire. Louis XVIII fled, and a Seventh Coalition declared war on the French Empire, defeated Napoleon again, and again restored Louis XVIII to the French throne.

Louis XVIII ruled as king for slightly less than a decade. The government of the Bourbon Restoration was a constitutional monarchy, unlike the Ancien Régime, which was absolutist. As a constitutional monarch, Louis XVIII's royal prerogative was reduced substantially by the Charter of 1814, France's new constitution. His return in 1815 led to a second wave of White Terror headed by the Ultra-royalist faction. The following year, Louis dissolved the unpopular parliament, referred to as the Chambre introuvable, giving rise to the liberal Doctrinaires. His reign was further marked by the formation of the Quintuple Alliance and a military intervention in Spain. Louis had no children, so upon his death the crown passed to his brother, Charles X.[6] Louis XVIII was the last French monarch to die while still reigning, as Charles X (1824–1830) abdicated and both Louis Philippe I (1830–1848) and Napoleon III (1852–1870) were deposed.