Revolution and exile

The financial and social problems that plagued French society during the latter half of the 18th century led to a period of political and social upheaval in France that in 1789 resulted in the French Revolution movement. This turmoil was to see the trial and execution of the king, vast bloodshed and repression during the Reign of Terror, and warfare involving every other major European power. The Revolution also set out to abolish all the symbolic paraphernalia that represented the Ancien Régime. These included the Chivalric Orders in France including the Orders of Saint Lazarus and of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Orders thus ceased to have legal recognition in France for the duration of the First French Republic [1792-1804] and the First French Empire [1804-1814]. The Grand Master Louis Stanislas Xavier went into exile with a band of loyal followers including members of the Order. During this period, the Grand Master invested a number of dignitaries into the Order of Saint Lazarus including in 1798 Tzar Paul I and his sons Grand Dukes Alexander and Constantine, together with twenty other personalities in the Russian Court.

In 1814, after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis Stanislas Xavier, head of the Bourbon Family, was asked by the French Senate to re-assume the throne of France. On assuming the kingship, the new king Louis XVIII proceeded to revive the Ancien Régime’s chivalric orders including the Order of Saint Lazarus assuming the protectorship of the Order managed by a council of officers led by Lieutenant-General Claude Louis Raoul de Le Châtre. In 1824, both King Louis XVIII and the Duc de Châtre died. Their respective roles were taken up by King Charles X and Jean Louis Beaumont d’Autichamp.