Charles X (1757–1836), the last Bourbon king of France. Charles Philippe, Count d'Artois, was born at Versailles on Nov. 9, 1757, the fourth son of the crown prince and the grandson of Louis XV. Artois' upbringing was neglected since he was only a distant heir to the throne. He was noted for his charm, his debts, and his dissipation. But beginning in 1785 he began to take an interest in affairs of state as a champion of absolutism.

The revolution of 1789 forced the unpopular Artois into exile. Until 1794 he lived at various Continental courts, organizing Royalist armies. After participating in a futile expedition to Brittany in 1795, he settled in Britain with his elder brother, Louis, who had become the Bourbon claimant to the throne.

Early in 1814, Napoleon's defeat offered Artois the chance to return to France "in the baggage train of the Allies." He roused enough popular support for the Bourbons to impress the victors and negotiated his brother's accession as Louis XVIII. Yet the two Bourbons differed on policy, and by 1815-1816 Artois was the leader of the ultra-Royalist faction. The ultras gained ground after the fall of the moderate royal favorite, Élie Decazes, in 1820. In 1822, Louis XVIII appointed Jean Baptiste, Count de Villèle, a politician acceptable to Artois, as prime minister.

When his brother died in 1824, Artois became king as Charles X. Though his first acts were conciliatory, his legislation favoring ex-émigrés and the church antagonized the liberals and moderates. After new elections in November, 1827, a dissident right combined with the left to force Villèle's dismissal. When the King's attempt to pursue his policy with less controversial ministers failed, he named a fighting ultra government under Jules de Polignac in August 1829.

Charles' foreign policy, though successful, failed to win over public opinion. When parliament refused to endorse the Polignac government, new elections again returned the opposition. In response the king issued the July Ordinances suspending freedom of the press, dissolving the new chamber, and rigging a new election. In the face of this threat of revived absolutism, Paris revolted on July 28–30, 1830. Charles fled from France, and Louis Philippe accepted the crown as a constitutional monarch. The remaining years of Charles' life were spent in exile. He died at Görz, Austria (now Gorizia, Italy), on Nov. 6, 1836 (Amann, Peter. "Charles X (France) (1757–1836)." Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2012. Web. 31 Jan. 2012)