Talbot, Richard Francis (1710–52), titular earl of Tyrconnell, soldier, and diplomat, was baptised 26 December 1710 at Saint-Germain, France, son of Richard Talbot (d. 1716), who styled himself Lord Talbot from 1691 and had married his cousin Charlotte Talbot (1676?–1721), only surviving daughter of Richard Talbot (qv), 1st earl of Tyrconnell. Richard Francis Talbot succeeded to the title of earl, subject to the attainders, on the death of his grandfather, William Talbot (c.1643–1724) of Haggardstown, MP (1689) for Co. Louth. Having joined Nugent's (FitzJames's) regiment of Irish horse (1721), he was promoted captain (1729) and served in the war of Polish succession under Marshal Berwick (qv). Later, as aide-maréchal-général des logis, he distinguished himself in Bavaria and Upper Alsace (1743), before attaining the rank of maréchal-général des logis in the Lower Rhine. He married (1 April 1745) Madeleine de Lys (d. 1759); they had no issue. During an expedition with Jacobite reinforcements for Prince Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, in the 1745–6 campaign in Great Britain, Tyrconnel was taken prisoner in the Bourbon off Ostend but was exchanged for British prisoners a year later. He ended his military career as maréchal de camp (April 1748) at the siege of Maastricht, and received the decoration of chevalier of the Royal and Military Order of St Louis (1748).
After the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) Tyrconnel was named minister plenipotentiary of France to the court of Frederick II of Prussia (December 1749), in succession to the marquis de Valory. He took official leave of Louis XV in early March 1750 and arrived in Berlin c.20 March. His official instructions were to maintain cordial relations but to report regularly on Prussia's political manoeuvres, which he did weekly in coded dispatches. The new ambassador presented his credentials to Frederick II on 22 April 1750 and had a number of private interviews with the king to discuss new trade agreements, the Austrian–Russian alliance, and the election of a new Holy Roman Emperor. From September 1751 Tyrconnel's health worsened and he coughed up blood intermittently; during these periods of illness his second, Le Baillif, took charge of official business. Tyrconnel suffered greatly from the Berlin winter of 1751–2, and after a brief recovery he died on 12 March 1752. His widow returned to Paris soon after, and his embalmed body was sent via Hamburg to Saint-Germain, where it was interred (April 1752). In his letters from Prussia, Voltaire ridiculed Tyrconnel's corpulence; Frederick II thought he had a mean disposition, and Carlyle described him as ‘a Jacobite Irishman, of blusterous qualities, though with plenty of sagacity and rough sense’ (Frederick the Great, ii, 374). Indeed, the ambassador's official dispatches displayed shrewdness and considerable insight into European politics and Frederick II's character.