Marie Antoinette’s secret love children have been revealed in a new book, I Love You Madly. The book was written by historian Evelyn Farr and shares a collection of love letter Antoinette reportedly wrote to her lover during their two-decade affair.
Marie Antoinette and Count Axel Von Fersen reportedly engaged in a 20-year affair that spawned several love children. Evelyn Farr said the lovers used a secret code and invisible ink to disguise the missives of love and devotion. According to the historian, Louis Charles, who would have succeeded to the French throne of King Louis XVI, and princess Sophia, were born from the love affair. Both of the children died before they could reach adulthood, NewsMax notes.
Marie Antoinette Love Letters – Evelyn Farr Reveals Affair With Count Axel von Fersen https://t.co/xQlm7ehsQJ
— History Gal (@HistoryGal_) January 9, 2016
Marie Antoinette was just 14 when she left her home in Austria to marry. In the years preceding the French revolution, she was also rumored to have had affairs with Lady Sophie Farrell, an English baroness, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Historians have never been able to confirm any of the alleged Marie Antoinette affairs, but the emergence of the love letters might finally provide proof of at least one romantic dalliance.
Marie Antoinette was the 15th child of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Habsburg empress Maria Theresa. She was born at a time of great political instability in Europe. In an effort to solidify an alliance between the monarchies of France and Habsburg, she was promised in marriage to the future French king, Louis XVI. The pair had never reportedly met before their wedding day. After the formal bonds of matrimony were enacted, a second and more lavish ceremony was held at the royal chapel in Versailles.
The following is an excerpt from one of the love letters Marie Antoinette allegedly wrote to Count Von Fersen in 1792.
“I am going to close, but not without telling you, my dear and very tender friend, that I love you madly and never, ever could I exist a moment without adoring you.”
Marie Antoinette was often deemed a beauty. She had strawberry-blonde hair, blue eyes, an alluring figure, and a bright smile. Although she reportedly possessed a charming personality, those opposed to the French alliance with Austria that the marriage represented, did not embrace Antoinette.
The teenage bride reportedly became bored and had very few official duties to occupy her time. She is believed to have spent a lot of time at social functions and engaging in lavish hobbies. One of the most cited expressions of extravagant behavior involved the model farm being built on the royal grounds so that she and her ladies-in-waiting could dress up in costumes and pretend to be milkmaids. Journalists of the time followed the daily activities of Marie Antoinette closely and often created cartoons and shared gossip about her alleged spending and pornographic behavior. Soon, the queen became the poster child for many of the woes facing the nation and the throngs of starving peasants.
Farr said that she put together the most comprehensive collection of the letters between Marie Antoinette and Count Von Fersen ever before attempted. She told the media that she did so in an effort to discover what was written in the archived collection that included many blacked out sections.
After the French revolution began in 1789, Marie Antoinette and King Louis were forced to live under the supervision of revolutionary leaders. The king was executed for “crimes against the French republic” in early 1793. The lavish lifestyle of the couple had generated the ire of the revolutionaries and is believed to have prompted Marie Antoinette’s trip to the guillotine in the fall of 1793, History notes.
The most expensive pocket watch in the world, designed by Breguet and intended to be given to Marie Antoinette. pic.twitter.com/aOEn1HQDM9
— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPics) January 8, 2016
The tell-all book by Evelyn Farr will be released in the United Kingdom in March, butI Love You Madly: The Secret Letters of Marie Antoinette and Count Fersen will not be available in the United States until the summer.
[Image via AP Photo]