Facts and Events
Louis XVIII (Louis Stanislas Xavier; 17 November 1755 – 16 September 1824), known as "the Desired" (le Désiré), was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1814 to 1824 except for a period in 1815 known as the Hundred Days. Louis XVIII spent twenty-three years in exile, from 1791 to 1814, during the French Revolution and the First French Empire, and again in 1815, during the period of the Hundred Days, upon the return of Napoleon I from Elba.
Until his accession to the throne of France, Louis 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 King Louis XVI, who was later executed by guillotine. When the young Louis XVII, Louis XVI's son, died in prison in June 1795, Louis XVIII succeeded his nephew as titular King.
During the French Revolution and Napoleonic era, Louis XVIII lived in exile in Prussia, the United Kingdom and Russia. When the Sixth Coalition finally defeated Napoleon in 1814, Louis was placed in what he, and the French royalists, considered his rightful position. Napoleon escaped from his exile in Elba, however, and restored his French Empire. Louis XVIII fled and a Seventh Coalition declared war on the French Empire, defeated Napoleon, and restored Louis XVIII to the French throne.
Louis XVIII ruled as king for slightly less than a decade. The Bourbon Restoration regime 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. Louis had no children; therefore, upon his death, the crown passed to his brother, Charles, Count of Artois. Louis XVIII was the last French monarch to die while reigning.