The family of François Emmanuel Guignard, comte de Saint-Priest (1735-1821), originated from Alsace, but had long been settled in the Dauphiné at Saint-Priest. The son of the Intendant of Languedoc, he first served in the military before joining the diplomatic service where he was appointed ambassador to Lisbon, Constantinople and The Hague. In 1790 Guignard was named Interior Minister but was forced to resign and emigrate. During the Revolution Guignard emigrated first to Sweden where he joined his brother-in-law the comte de Ludolph, then to Verona and finally to Mittau, in Switzerland. He returned to France in 1814 where he and his son, Armand-Emmanuel-Charles Guignard (1782-1863), were both active in politics.