Metternich (Clemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar von Metternich-Winneburg) was born into an aristocratic family on May 15th, 1773, in Coblenz, Germany. The father of the family, Count Francis George, was involved in diplomatic circles and, at the time of his son Clemens' birth, was in the service of the Habsburgs of Austria. Metternich was educated privately by a series of tutors until the age of fifteen, when his studies were continued at the universities of Strasbourg (Philosophy 1788-90) and Mainz (Law and Diplomacy 1790-2). His education at Strasbourg was interrupted by the French revolution, he personally witnessed revolutionary turmoils in that city, at Mainz he received first hand accounts from many French émigrés as to what they had endured because of the French revolution. From 1792 Metternich was brought into diplomatic circles through involvement with his father's being an Austrian Diplomat in Brussels. Metternich subsequently spent some time in England. In 1794 the Metternich family fled the revolutionary French armies to Vienna the capital city of the Austrian Habsburgs. In September 1795 Metternich married a twenty year old heiress, the Countess Eleanor Kaunitz, who was a granddaughter of the Austrian Chancellor. She suited Metternich in that she was rich and accepted at the very heart of Viennese society, and was as prepared as Metternich himself was for their future together in an "open" marriage.Metternich served as an envoy to the Congress of Rastadt (1797-9) and then as the Habsburg's ambassador to Saxony (1801), Prussia (1803), and Napoleonic France (1806).
Metternich spent many months at the French Imperial court where he became acquainted with many powerful persons both in the court, and more widely in French society. After a war broke out between France and Austria in early 1809 Metternich was placed in confinement for a time in reprisal
for an Austrian detention of some French diplomatists. Metternich was released after...