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Researchers pierce the enigma of the letters of Marie-Antoinette to her lover

"Farewell, my good friend, I shall never cease to adore you." From the invaluable correspondence of Marie-Antoinette, this phrase has finally revealed its mys

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Researchers pierce the enigma of the letters of Marie-Antoinette to her lover

"Farewell, my good friend, I shall never cease to adore you." From the invaluable correspondence of Marie-Antoinette, this phrase has finally revealed its mysterious sender. After a long work of analysis on five letters raturées exchanged between 1791 and 1792, several researchers have managed to discover the identity of the correspondent of the Queen of France, a Swedish nobleman of the name of Axel de Fersen.

These letters have reappeared in 1877, through the intermediary of the baron Rudolf Maurits von Klinckowström, nephew of Axel de Fersen, before being acquired more than one hundred years later by the national Archives of France as recorded in the World . Unfortunately, many passages in the correspondence are heavily censored: words, lines, even entire paragraphs have been torn to the pen, with black ink, making them unreadable to the eye.

read also : Marie-Antoinette to Fersen, love unveiled

Thanks to a technique developed, scientists in the program "Rex II", funded by the Foundation of the heritage sciences and supported by the national Archives, were able to unravel the secrets of the seven letters and the recto of the eighth. Called fluorescence spectroscopy of X-rays, this process allowed them to distinguish between the inks, erasures and ink texts. And to confirm the hypothesis of a romantic relationship between Marie-Antoinette and Axel de Fersen, long suspected by historians, but never proven.

letters to be ratified by Fersen

"good-bye, I love you to madness," writes Fersen in one of the letters. The two lovebirds exchanged these messages between June 1791 and August 1792, when the royal family is under house arrest in the Tuileries. Up until then unknown to historians, Axel de Fersen is in reality the organizer of the "flight to Varennes", during which the king and his family attempted to leave Paris, but that will lead to the arrest of Louis XVI. It also exercises the function of informal representative of the queen in the courts of Europe up to the declaration of war with Austria in April 1792.

read also : Marie-Antoinette in his little shoes

If the existence of a relationship between the person demonstrates to the queen and this gentleman is well-established by the researchers, these letters do provide, however, no revelation. "These new documents do not form a match erotic, nor even, strictly speaking, to be in love, since none of these letters, written between the end of September 1791 and January 1792, is not entirely devoted to this theme," explains the World Isabelle Aristide, curator at the national Archives.

But that would have to keep it a secret this relationship, up to ratify in black ink, the content of the letters? Who, if not one of the messengers, Axel de Fersen himself, who would thus caviardé some of the letters of Marie-Antoinette. The researchers have in fact discovered that many of the tickets of the queen had been transcribed by the gentleman. Comparing the ink of the transcripts to that used to ratify the letters, they found that it was Fersen who was at the origin of these changes. Pursued and sought by the revolutionaries, thus it would have avoided the prejudice of the queen.

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