Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => French Royals => Topic started by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 04:16:45 AM

Title: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 04:16:45 AM
I want to know more about relation of Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen. Will somebody help me?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 04:27:37 AM
There´s a short biography of Axel Fersen (how he met Marie Antoinette):

Axel Fersen was born 4. september 1755 in Stockholm, a son of count Frederick (or Friedrich) Axel Fersen and Hedwig Catherine de La Gardie. His father was one of the most influential men in Sweden.
Axel has a unforgetable face, especially for women. He has dark, velvet eyes with melancholic look, he was tall and slim, his shoulders were wide. But he was very restrained, silent and discreet.
In june 1770 15-years-old Axel with his tutor go to "great journey over the Europe".
19. november 1773 was Axel introduced to French royal family, including Marie Antoinette.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Eddie_uk on January 15, 2006, 05:22:08 AM
I think the book by Stanley Loomis the "Fatal Frienship" is a brilliant book which looks at the relationship between MA and Fersen.  :)

I don't believe they were lovers but very cose friends.

I think Fersen was probably in love with MA. He certainly never got over her death as his journal recounts.  :'(
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 06:06:04 AM
I read one letter from Antoinette to Axel (if you want, I can send it here), but this letter is only uncensored letter. In 1877-78 Rudolph Moritz Klinckowstrom published censored letters of his uncle and French queen.
And did you hear about Eleonora Sullivan? Axel met she in America, after he left France and (I read) fell in love with she.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Eddie_uk on January 15, 2006, 06:10:12 AM
Yes I believe he was in love with Eleonora Sullivan and wanted her to leave her husband but she refused :-/. He later wrote that she could never replace Marie Antoinette in his heart :(.

It was a shame Rudolph Moritz Klinckowstrom censored the letters! :)
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Prince_Lieven on January 15, 2006, 06:29:33 AM
They may have been in love, but not lovers in the physical sense, IMHO - as Antonia Fraser points out in 'the Journey', as Queen of France, Marie-Antoinette had no privacy whatsoever - there simply couldn't have been any secret trysts or anything of the kind! I also just can't see MA as an adulterous kind of woman.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 06:39:12 AM
This is only uncensored letter, it wrote Marie-Antoinette to Axel 4. july 1791, after failed escape from France:

"I only can say that I love you... I´m all right, don´t worry of me, but I´d love to know how are you. Please, write me in cipher, my address can write your lord in waiting... And write me, to how person I must address my letters to you, because I can´t live without it. Goodbye, my bonniest and most loving man from all people. I hug you from all of my heart."

(I hope this is right translation of letter, because my English is not very good...)
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Prince_Lieven on January 15, 2006, 06:42:11 AM
Thanks Marie-Liesl! Your English is wonderful!  :D

I think the first line of the letter confirms their feelings for each other!  ;D
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 07:06:19 AM
There is picture of Axel Fersen:

http://www.marie--antoinette.de/Bilder/1_freunde.htm
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 08:13:23 AM
Are those letters in the queen's handwriting?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 08:20:16 AM
No, they are from Helga Thom´s book. I translated it from Slovak language (if you know this language). But I have another letters and extracts from Axel´s diary that I send there. Just a minute...
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 08:22:47 AM
...there they are (in my translation, not very good)

(27. December 1790, Axel Fersen to his sister Sophie)

"Finally, 24. I spent with her (queen) all day. It was my first day with her. You can imagine my pleasure. Only you know, what I felt..."

(28. June 1791, after failed escape from France, Marie Antoinette to Axel)

"I´m still alive... But I´m worrying of you... Please, don´t come. They knows, that you help us with our escape. If you come, everything will be lost. They keep us every day and night... Goodbye..."

(13. February 1792, from Axel Fersen´s diary)

"I went to queen. Along the usually route. I was afraid of National Guard. Her apartment was beatiful. I don´t see the king. I stayed there."

(Next day Axel met king and tried to talk with him about another plan to escape. But Louis XVI. refused and said: "All of the world left me." Then Axel take leave of Marie Antoinette. He never saw her again.)

(after execution of Louis XVI. Axel wrote to his diary)

"If I can do something for her rescue, I think, I suffer fewer than now. But do nothing and only praying, it´s terrible for me."
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: lancashireladandre on January 15, 2006, 10:12:33 AM
Quote
I think the book by Stanley Loomis the "Fatal Frienship" is a brilliant book which looks at the relationship between MA and Fersen.  :)

I don't believe they were lovers but very cose friends.

I think Fersen was probably in love with MA. He certainly never got over her death as his journal recounts.  :'(

Eddie is right it is an excellent book on the Flight to Varennes and the doomed couples relationship.Fersen died an horrific death.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 12:19:33 PM
Yes, Count Fersen died a terrible death, torn to pieces by a mob. He died in the manner which Marie-Antoinette had so dreaded would happen to herself, almost as if in her place.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 12:21:01 PM
I read that Axel Fersen was lathered to death. Is it true?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 12:58:10 PM
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This is only uncensored letter, it wrote Marie-Antoinette to Axel 4. july 1791, after failed escape from France:

"I only can say that I love you... I´m all right, don´t worry of me, but I´d love to know how are you. Please, write me in cipher, my address can write your lord in waiting... And write me, to how person I must address my letters to you, because I can´t live without it. Goodbye, my bonniest and most loving man from all people. I hug you from all of my heart."

(I hope this is right translation of letter, because my English is not very good...)



A good translation, another one being, "Adieu, to the most beloved and loving of men!" There is no extant version of this letter in the queen's handwriting, only copies that Count Fersen himself allegedly made, at least that is what Stanley Loomis said in "The Fatal Friendship." This is not to deny that she wrote something like that to him, words which he treasured. Also, keep in mind that Marie-Antoinette had a gushing and superlatively sentimental manner of expressing herself in an age famous for flowery letters, as one can see in similar things she said to her women friends and to her mother and siblings. She was unrestrained in expressing her affection for those of whom she was fond.

Count Fersen and Marie-Antoinette met at a Paris masked ball when they were both 17or 18, before she became queen. She was with her brothers and sisters-in-law and she raised her mask as they conversed. They did not meet again for several years. Count Fersen had just had a difficult experience in England in which some great lady snubbed him, so his heart was lifted when the Queen of France greeted him before the entire court saying, "And here is an old acquaintance!" Fersen never forgot her kindness and became her leige-man in life and limb. He was genuinely devoted to her in the most chivalrous and truly "romantic" manner. That he was in love with her, there can be no doubt, although he was also a friend of her husband the King, for whom he had great respect. According to his diaries there were many ladies in his life. Marie-Antoinette biographer Desmond Seward says there is even talk that he was bisexual and that the King of Sweden was jealous of Fersen's love for the Queen of France. Whatever his private lifestyle, he was in his exterior deportment a perfect gentleman, very affable and completely at the disposal of those to whom he had dedicated his service.

The pornographic drawings and slanderous stories that circulated about Marie-Antoinette before and during the Revolution hardly if ever included Count Fersen.( Her name was usually linked with that of her brother-in-law, Artois, in the public mind because they went dancing together so often when they were young.) There were, of course, the court gossip which had her lovers with Fersen and several other men as well as with ladies. Any man at whom she smiled was said to be her lover. She was such a beautiful woman and very flirtatious and her husband was rumored to be impotent (not true). Those who knew her well spoke of her purity of mind and lifestyle, she would not tolerate dirty jokes in her presence, and as one friend said, "Her soul was as white as her face."

After the Revolution, Fersen corresponded with Madame Royale and visited her at Hartwell House in England, and was welcomed by Louis XVIII and the entire family. They all remembered him fondly from Versailles. Fersen investigated on her behalf the fate of her brother LouisXVII, but Fersen's hideous death in 1810 on the exact anniversary of the capture of the royal family at Varennes (the aborted escape attempt arranged by Fersen) kept him from drawing any conclusions about the mysterious rumors then swirling around the boy.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 01:02:36 PM
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I read that Axel Fersen was lathered to death. Is it true?


Honey, I do not know what you mean by "lathered."

Count Fersen was dragged through the streets of Stockholm, kicked, pummeled, thrown out a window, stripped and mutilated (after he died).  He had been unjustly accused of poisoning the Crown Prince.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 01:05:49 PM
And do you know who is Eleanor Sullivan? Do you think that Axel really loved her?
And I want to ask you too: is archduke Karl this archduke Karl(who want to marry Marie-Therese, daughter of Marie-Antoinette), who beat the Napoleon in battle at Aspern (or something like that)? I know that Karl was adopted by Maria Christina "Mimi", one of the daughters of empress Maria Theresia.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 01:10:50 PM
I mean that they beat, kick and lynch him (if you understand me). I am not very good in English, as you see... I´m from Slovakia, if you know where is this state...
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 01:13:39 PM
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And do you know who is Eleanor Sullivan? Do you think that Axel really loved her?
And I want to ask you too: is archduke Karl this archduke Karl(who want to marry Marie-Therese, daughter of Marie-Antoinette), who beat the Napoleon in battle at Aspern (or something like that)? I know that Karl was adopted by Maria Christina "Mimi", one of the daughters of empress Maria Theresia.


I think Fersen's family were trying to get him to marry Eleanor, but I am not certain of that. He never married, and they say that is because he only loved the Queen of France.

Yes, I believe Therese's Karl is the same Karl who defeated Napoleon. He was one of Leopold's sons but if Mimi raised him, that does not surprise me. At one point, however, Karl had the humiliation of standing as proxy for his enemy Napoleon when the latter married Karl's niece, Archduchess Marie-Louise.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 01:14:59 PM
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I mean that they beat, kick and lynch him (if you understand me). I am not very good in English, as you see... I´m from Slovakia, if you know where is this state...



Thank you, I understand. Yes, that is just what they did to him. They indeed "lathered" him.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 01:17:12 PM
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I´m from Slovakia, if you know where is this state...


Oh, yes, I know about Slovakia, absolutely! Your English is very, very good!!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 15, 2006, 02:18:57 PM
Oh, thank you! I´m really surprised that you know Slovakia!
And I want to thank everybody for the informations about Axel and Marie-Antoinette, especially Elena! Thank you very much again!
And there´s some information about Eleonora Sullivan that I found:
She was 5-yeard-older than Axel, and she was very attractive. She was a daughter of tuscan shoemaker, and she comes as 12-years-old as an actress to thaetre and she tramped with it around the Italy. In Venezia she met duke of Wurttemberg and he take her to Germany as his mistress. After some years, when she gave him two children, she left him and went to Vienna. Then in Vienna she was mistress of Joseph II. and after that she married English man Sullivan. After her marriage she met Scotch Quentin Craufurd and they come to Paris together(she was at this time his mistress), where she in 1789 met Axel Fersen and become his mistress.
I also read that Eleonora Sullivan supported Axel´s love to Maria Antoinetta.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 02:58:02 PM
Thanks, Marie-Leisl. Eleanor obviously was not the one his family wanted Fersen to marry, then! She was his  mistress, you are right!

I know that Slovakia was once part of the ancient Kingdom of Bohemia, part of the Holy Roman Empire and ruled by Marie-Antoinette's family.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Rebecca on January 15, 2006, 03:19:53 PM
Slovakia was not a part of Bohemia, actually. For a short time it was under Moravian rule, but after that it was ruled from and part of Hungary for 1000 years.

The murder of Axel von Fersen was rumoured to be arranged, by the way. There are several mysterious circumstances. For instance, policemen witnessed the lynching of him, but did nothing to stop it.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: ilyala on January 15, 2006, 03:47:50 PM
about louis' impotence:

i am no expert, but i read in a book about marie antoinette that louis had a problem... that had to be resolved surgically... that he was very reluctant to solve it and that his brother in law, emperror joseph, when he came to france, was the one who convinced him to go through with it. that is why for quite a while the couple remained childless... the court apparently knew about louis' condition and they assumed that a young beautiful girl like marie antoinette could not stay without lover while having a husband that could not... take care of her... and that's why so many rumours were started...
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Prince_Lieven on January 15, 2006, 03:50:52 PM
It's called phimosis.  ;)
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: ilyala on January 15, 2006, 03:55:48 PM
sorry, i'm no expert in men's... ahem... problems...  :-[
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Prince_Lieven on January 15, 2006, 03:59:11 PM
Haha, no need to apologise.  ;D ;D You can look it up - I don't want to get technical  :o - but basically it's not an erectile problem, more of an ejaculatory problem, which, I believe, sqaures with Josef's (somewhat candid) descriptions of MA and Louis's . . . encounters.  ::)
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 04:08:56 PM
Oh, that does not surprise me that the murder was arranged! Thank you, Rebecca!

Another point I would like to make about the situation of the Queen and Fersen, is that between July 1789 and October 1789, Antoinette had opportunities in which she could have left France with her children. She could have escaped to Vienna and carried on a discreet affair with Axel. Catherine Hyde, the foster daughter of Princesse de Lamballe and editor of her memoirs,  emphasized the fact that Antoinette chose to stay with Louis, even though the situation had become dangerous especially for her, and that she had chances to leave.  Her husband begged her to go for her safety, but she adamantly refused, saying to him "I will die at your feet with the children in my arms." This was heroic on her part, especially if she had feelings of a romantic nature for the Count, but she chose to put her husband, children, honor, duty and faith before her personal happiness.

After Louis' death,  there were several plots for Antoinette's escape, but when she realized she would have to leave her children behind, she would not go even though everyone knew that she was going to be killed. Her children were more important to her than her life. Even before, as one can see from earlier accounts of courtiers at Versailles and the queen's letters, the children and Louis were the focus of her thoughts.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 04:31:45 PM
About the myth of Louis' "impotence:" there is no proof whatsoever that he ever had that problem. Louis and Antoinette, married at ages 15 and 14, took awhile to consummate their marriage. This was not uncommon - Mme de Lamballe's huband died when she was 17 and their marriage had never been consummated, so she claimed. It had become fashionable for some couples to wait until they got to know each other better. Yes, I know the families were having fits over it, but Louis had a mind of his own.

Bernard Fay, Louis' biographer, quotes the Spanish Ambassador, who paid spies to check the sheets of the young couple, claiming that there was evidence of sexual activity early on in the marriage, but Marie-Antoinette may have had a physical problem that hindered the full consummation of the union. The "little operation" she mentioned to her mother in a letter, may have meant procedures other than the circumcision allegedly performed on Louis.

Vincent Cronin, in "Louis and Antoinette," says that during the time that Louis had the alleged operation to get rid of the phimosis (circumcision), he went horseback riding everyday, which would have been physically impossible. Also, Louis' medical records (every prince received a thorough medical examination when they left the nursery) make no mention of a phimosis. Louis may not have had any physical problem at all.

Marie-Antoinette's brother Joseph made his incognito visit in 1777 to see why they had not produced an heir, and he wrote a graphic letter to Leopold which Vincent Cronin thinks was to have a laugh at Louis' expense, blaming all the problems on him. (After all, who had ever heard ofa Habsburg with infertility problems?) The main problem with Louis and Antoinette, is that he went to bed early and she stayed up late. Once they got their schedules coordinated, they conceived.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Prince_Lieven on January 15, 2006, 04:33:45 PM
Thanks, Elena_Maria, that's all news to me, about Antoinette being the one with the problem. Odd that such things are so often blamed on the woman when it is in fact the man who has the problem, whereas in this case it was vice versa!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 15, 2006, 04:59:13 PM
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Thanks, Elena_Maria, that's all news to me, about Antoinette being the one with the problem. Odd that such things are so often blamed on the woman when it is in fact the man who has the problem, whereas in this case it was vice versa!


And as I always say, whatever their early problems were, they overcame them, consummated their union and had four children, not to mention the miscarriages.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: ilyala on January 16, 2006, 04:48:18 AM
about antoinette not leaving: i don't think leaving with fersen and then having a discreet affair was much of an option. i don't know whether they were lovers or not... but had she left with him she would have been anything but discreet. and that wasn't like a royal, especially a habsburg. i'm sure maria tereza educated her well enough for her not to leave like that with anyone. as for not leaving her children when her husband died - i think that's a natural mother's instinct and while one can criticize marie antoinette in some aspects she certainly loved her children a lot.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 16, 2006, 09:06:52 AM
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...there they are (in my translation, not very good)


(13. February 1792, from Axel Fersen´s diary)

"I went to queen. Along the usually route. I was afraid of National Guard. Her apartment was beatiful. I don´t see the king. I stayed there."


This is the passage which Stanley Loomis and Vincent Cronin both think may refer to a one night stand between the Queen and Count Fersen, the one and only time they consummated their love, in the view of those authors. However, they both agree that the passage containing"I stayed there" or "Reste- la" was scribbled out by the censor, "reste-la" being Axel's usual phrase denoting he had slept with a woman. So no one is certain what the phrase was, since it was scribbled out (unless recent technology has revealed it).

Other professional historians like Nesta Webster, several decades ago, and more recently Simon Schama, disagree that Antoinette had a rendez-vous with a lover. The queen was essentially under house arrest at the Tuileries, with servants who were spies, especially after the abortive escape attempt the previous June. The guards came into her room every two hours to make certain she had not tried to escape again. It was almost impossible for her to have intimacy with her husband, much less with a lover.

In those last months at the Tuileries, when the Royal Family had little doubt that their lives were in danger, Antoinette became closer than ever to her devout sister-in-law, Madame Elisabeth, who spent hours writing long spiritual letters about death and judgment to her Irish confessor Abbe Edgeworth. The atmosphere at the palace, as I said on another thread, was more like the catacombs than Les Liaisons Dangereuse, with the queen, Mme Elisabeth and Mme de Lamballe scheming how to sneak non-juring priests into the Tuileries so they could go to confession and receive communion in preparation for their sudden demise.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Eddie_uk on January 16, 2006, 11:23:48 AM
Thank you for the information Elena! Very interesting. Mme Elisabeth and the Princess de Lamballe were very loyal friends and I think Marie Antoinette was lucky on that front.

It is my personal opinion that Marie Antoinette didn't have an affair with Fersen I think she was just very good friends with him. Maybe it's just me but she appears to of been able to inspire deep loyalty in a lot of her friends.

I think on the whole her marriage to Louis was pretty good. He seemed a nice man and i think she devastated when he was executed. Maybe she also saw it as once step closer to doom? :-/

Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 16, 2006, 11:40:16 AM
I know that Louis XVI. knew about Marie-Antoinette´s affair. Really, when in may 1785 Fersen came to Paris, he (Axel) heard a gossips that he is a real father of prince Louis, later Louis XVII.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 16, 2006, 01:07:45 PM
Regarding Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI intimate life, I have read recently that in fact Louis XVI had no problem, it was Marie Antoinette who was rather indiferent and was not very much interested in having intimacy, she was frigid.... at least that´s what i have read.

  As a matter of fact she didn´t want to have too many childrens, during her fourth pregnancy the doctors did not know how to tell her about it since she was annoyed just by the thought of it.

 
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 16, 2006, 01:24:06 PM
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Thank you for the information Elena! Very interesting. Mme Elisabeth and the Princess de Lamballe were very loyal friends and I think Marie Antoinette was lucky on that front.

It is my personal opinion that Marie Antoinette didn't have an affair with Fersen I think she was just very good friends with him. Maybe it's just me but she appears to of been able to inspire deep loyalty in a lot of her friends.

I think on the whole her marriage to Louis was pretty good. He seemed a nice man and i think she devastated when he was executed. Maybe she also saw it as once step closer to doom? :-/



I agree with you completely on all points, Eddie. She was devastated when Louis died and dropped weight because she lost her appetite. (She may also have had cancer as someone pointed out on another thread.)
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 16, 2006, 01:26:55 PM
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Regarding Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI intimate life, I have read recently that in fact Louis XVI had no problem, it was Marie Antoinette who was rather indiferent and was not very much interested in having intimacy, she was frigid.... at least that´s what i have read.

   As a matter of fact she didn´t want to have too many childrens, during her fourth pregnancy the doctors did not know how to tell her about it since she was annoyed just by the thought of it.

  


I don't think she was frigid. In her very blunt letters to her mother, Antoinette told the Empress when she first began to experience pleasure during intercourse with her husband; it was considered a sign of possible conception.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 16, 2006, 01:28:57 PM
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I know that Louis XVI. knew about Marie-Antoinette´s affair. Really, when in may 1785 Fersen came to Paris, he (Axel) heard a gossips that he is a real father of prince Louis, later Louis XVII.

Sorry to disagree, Marie-Liesl. Louis was a very devout Catholic and moral man and would have never allowed his wife (whom he adored) to have an open arrangement with another man. And I do not think that Axel was little Charles' father.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Marie-Liesl on January 16, 2006, 02:55:15 PM
Oh, I means Louis XVI. noted that his wife like Axel, but not as a lover in physically meaning, but he noted that later, (I think) when they was inprisonment. And I know that prince Louis´ real father is Louis XVI.
Do you know that Axel want to marry Germaine Necker (daughter von finance minister Jacques Necker), later baroness of Stael-Holstein? But he wasn´t angry when she married baron Magnus von Stael-Holstein... because he really loved Marie-Antoinette...
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 16, 2006, 03:48:09 PM
Quote
Oh, I means Louis XVI. noted that his wife like Axel, but not as a lover in physically meaning, but he noted that later, (I think) when they was inprisonment. And I know that prince Louis´ real father is Louis XVI.
Do you know that Axel want to marry Germaine Necker (daughter von finance minister Jacques Necker), later baroness of Stael-Holstein? But he wasn´t angry when she married baron Magnus von Stael-Holstein... because he really loved Marie-Antoinette...


Yes, I knew from reading about Mme. de Stael that there was talk of getting her married to Axel. I personally think Axel was too politically conservative for her and she would have driven him crazy.

As for Louis "knowing" about Marie-Antoinette loving Fersen, I don't know, because I am not convinced how much she loved Axel, if at all in a romantic way. He was probably aware that Axel loved the queen, especially after Axel sent her all those kid gloves soaked in attar of roses. And then there was that dog she gave the Swedish name, Oscar, I think? (I'll have to check on that.)

Louis was probably so used to men being in love with his wife that Axel's infatuation was just one more and it did not seem to bother him over much, because he (Louis) knew her so well.  He and Axel were friends and he had enough confidence in his wife's affection and dedication not to be jealous. Most of the best anecdotes of Louis and Antoinette are her attempts to get his attention away from his work and on to herself, like the time she made pellets out of bread and threw them across the table at him (at a state dinner.) Another time she dressed like a nun and visited him in his office. He did not recognize her for several minutes and saw her trembling (with supressed laughter) and thought the "good sister" had taken ill. She often played tricks on Louis and it kept their relationship very lively.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: bell_the_cat on January 17, 2006, 07:32:01 AM
Quote

Louis was probably so used to men being in love with his wife that Axel's infatuation was just one more and it did not seem to bother him over much, because he (Louis) knew her so well.  He and Axel were friends and he had enough confidence in his wife's affection and dedication not to be jealous. Most of the best anecdotes of Louis and Antoinette are her attempts to get his attention away from his work and on to herself, like the time she made pellets out of bread and threw them across the table at him (at a state dinner.) Another time she dressed like a nun and visited him in his office. He did not recognize her for several minutes and saw her trembling (with supressed laughter) and thought the "good sister" had taken ill. She often played tricks on Louis and it kept their relationship very lively.


That's a very funny story, I mean about the nun! I wonder if features in the new film (probably not). MA definitely had a sense of humour, which is why I like her.

I wanted to ask about Axel's politics (to change the subject from sex!).

I assume he was very conservative in outlook. Did he influence Marie Antoinette at all (or vice versa). To what extent was Marie Antoinette herself influential in politics - did she really "take over" in 1790-1791? I read a letter of Mme Elisabeth where she writes that the Queen was not calling the shots, but she may have been "economical with the truth" for whatever reason, or maybe she didn't know.

Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 08:08:42 AM
Wow! The nun story is a great one, which I did not know!
 Thanks!

 I beleive that Marie Antoinette was in love with Fersen, but I am not too sure how far it went. i do not think there was a physical relation between them when the royal  couple was still at Versailles, However it could have happen while in the Tuilleries, Rester la! means stay there but not sleep there!!! There is a diference in French between rester la et coucher la!!!

 
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 08:34:28 AM
Quote

That's a very funny story, I mean about the nun! I wonder if features in the new film (probably not). MA definitely had a sense of humour, which is why I like her.

I wanted to ask about Axel's politics (to change the subject from sex!).

I assume he was very conservative in outlook. Did he influence Marie Antoinette at all (or vice versa). To what extent was Marie Antoinette herself influential in politics - did she really "take over" in 1790-1791? I read a letter of Mme Elisabeth where she writes that the Queen was not calling the shots, but she may have been "economical with the truth" for whatever reason, or maybe she didn't know.



Yes, Marie-Antoinette did have a wonderful sense of humor, even about her own shortcomings. Her sense of comedy made her a fairly good amateur actress in the plays she would perform for the family in her small papier-mache theatre at Trianon.

Fersen was essentially a monarchist and professional courtier. I do not know if he influenced the queen politically. I doubt that she took political philosphy into account. Her main goal was to save the lives of her family and the throne for her son.

The situation at the Tuileries between Louis, Antoinette and Mme Elisabeth, while very loving was fraught with disagreement as to how to handle the situation. First of  all, both the king and queen took turns having minor nervous breakdowns throughout this very turbulent period, in which they had to each take over for the other. Louis was torn between his duties as king under the new regime, his duties as a son of the Catholic Church, especially after the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in 1790, and his duties as a father of a family. His veto of a law in  June1792 condemning non-juring priests to death camps in South America caused a mob to storm the Tuileries. This was the famous moment when he donned the red cap, calmed down the crowd and ended up giving them a tour of the palace, while the queen and her children were hiding in a closet for fear of their lives.

The queen had no such conflict. Her children came first, and her church. She thought she could "manage" the revolutionaries by playing off the various factions, all the while writing desperate letters to her relatives abroad, begging them to come rescue her. Louis wanted her to leave, but she would not leave without him, and he felt he could not abandon his people. Even during the escape attempt, it was not his plan to leave the country, just rally support in the provinces, as he claimed at his trial.

As for Mme Elisabeth, she thought the revolution was from the pit of hell and would have nothing to do with placating the leaders of the people. She wrote her brother Artois, begging him to raise an army and come get them out of there.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 10:32:57 AM
Quote
Wow! The nun story is a great one, which I did not know!
  Thanks!

  I beleive that Marie Antoinette was in love with Fersen, but I am not too sure how far it went. i do not think there was a physical relation between them when the royal  couple was still at Versailles, However it could have happen while in the Tuilleries, Rester la! means stay there but not sleep there!!! There is a diference in French between rester la et coucher la!!!
 
  


 It seems to me that sometimes the greatest love stories are those that play themselves out in the daily routine of two people in a committed relationship trying to plod through life together with all its tragedies and ups and downs. I always thought that Marie-Antoinette's relationship with Louis was much more interesting than the elusive connection with Axel von Fersen.

However, there is the whole story of the ring that the Queen supposedly gave to Fersen; I think Stanley Loomis wrote about it and certainly Hilaire Belloc did (the latter believing it was the token of a platonic love.) The ring was inscribed with the words, "All things lead me to thee," meaning "death" I believe, but it may have had a special meaning for the ill-fated friends. If anyone knows more about this, let me know. I seem to recall that Fersen was wearing the ring when he was lynched, and it became an heirloom in his family, but I may be wrong. (They made much of the ring in the 1930's film with Tyrone Power as Fersen.)

Then there is the wedding ring which Antoinette gave to Louis on their wedding day in 1770 when she was 14 years old. It was inscribed with the date and the words:"Marie-Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria." When Louis was leaving the Temple prison to be guillotined, he gave the ring to his faithful valet Clery, asking him to make sure it was returned to the Queen. The commissaries confiscated it, which really upset Marie-Antoinette, who was already distraught over her husband's execution. One of the guards, Toulan, had fallen in love with her and stole the ring back. He sent it to Louis XVIII at the Antoinette's behest. Louis XVIII gave it to  Louis and Antoinette's daughter Madame Royale on the day of her wedding to her cousin Angouleme. She wore it the rest of her life, raising it to her lips at the very moment she died.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 10:43:11 AM
Madame Elisabet was more of a reactionaire she was in favour of an invasion, she insisted in letters to Provence and Artois to make a coalition and invade France either from Austria or Savoie where both of them at that time.

  Louis XVI in the other hand did not want an internal war, he wanted to protect his people and didnot want them to get hurt and in Marie Antoinette case she was not in favor of an open coalition from Provence and Artois because she thought it was a double edge knight, she was ratehr in favor of an Austrian coalition leaded by her brother and after his death by her nephew.
 She actually passed the french army position to austria.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 10:47:16 AM
Quote
Madame Elisabet was more of a reactionaire she was in favour of an invasion, she insisted in letters to Provence and Artois to make a coalition and invade France either from Austria or Savoie where both of them at that time.

   Louis XVI in the other hand did not want an internal war, he wanted to protect his people and didnot want them to get hurt and in Marie Antoinette case she was not in favor of an open coalition from Provence and Artois because she thought it was a double edge knight, she was ratehr in favor of an Austrian coalition leaded by her brother and after his death by her nephew.
  She actually passed the french army position to austria.


You summed it up beautifully, Sisi! I did think, however, that it was controversial about the queen passing on military information to Austria. I didn't think she had too much access to such information.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 12:20:17 PM
Some pictures of "Le charmant Suedois"

  "Tutto a te me guida"

(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/fersen6.jpg)

(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/Fersen1.jpg)

(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/fersen5.jpg)

(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/fersen3.jpg)
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 12:32:36 PM
Great pictures! Yes, the phrase on the ring was in Italian, thanks!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 01:12:32 PM
 ;) I wonder why it was in Italian! Marie Antoinette had a rather poor knowledge of Italian! I wonder if italian might have a secret or special meaning for them!

 I read that she used the ring even when was imprisoned she sent it to Fersen almost at the end, when she knew that she would never see him again.
 
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 01:25:59 PM
(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/conciergerie-marie.jpg)

This was Marie Antoinette cell it has been transformed into a seldom used chapel! (la Conciergerie)
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 01:30:25 PM
Quote
;) I wonder why it was in Italian! Marie Antoinette had a rather poor knowledge of Italian! I wonder if italian might have a secret or special meaning for them!

  I read that she used the ring even when was imprisoned she sent it to Fersen almost at the end, when she knew that she would never see him again.
  


Oh, I always thought that the queen knew Italian quite well. According to Mme de Lamballe, a native Italian, Marie-Antoinette, corresponded with her sisters in Italian (two of whom were married to Italian princes). I also heard she knew Italian diction well enough to sing arias. It was the language of the arts and and having a working knowledge of it was part of the most basic education for a princess. Her tutor in Italian as a child was the famous poet, Padre Mestastio. It seems like I even remember reading somewhere that the queen herself wrote verses in that language.

When Madame Royale was born, Louis, who had made a wager with Empress Maria Teresa over the gender of the child, said to Antoinette after the long and difficult labor, the verses of her former tutor Mestastio:

Io perdrei: l'augusta figlia
A pagar, m'a condemnato
Ma s'e ver che a voi somiglia
Tutto il mondo guadognato.

("I have lost, my august daughter has condemned me to pay: but if she should be like you, then all the world has won.")

Yes, she sent the ring to Fersen towards the end to thank him for all that he had tried to do for herself and her family.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 01:33:37 PM
Quote
(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/conciergerie-marie.jpg)

This was Marie Antoinette cell it has been transformed into a seldom used chapel! (la Conciergerie)


It did not look like that the last time I was there, in 1999. It was beautiful, with a memorial dedicated to Mme. Elisabeth some some moving oil paintings of the queen in prison.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 01:42:46 PM
The cell  you visit was probably the one next door, which you are right is a memorial to them.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 01:44:07 PM
Thanks for the anecdote of the verses, this is the first time I hear it!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 03:08:16 PM
Quote
The cell  you visit was probably the one next door, which you are right is a memorial to them.


No,  it was the chapel where her cell had been, and it was the same as when I had first visited it in 1980. They did reconstruct nearby a replica of what her cell looked like while she was in it. I wish I had a picture of it. Do you know what I am speaking of?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 03:09:16 PM
Quote
Thanks for the anecdote of the verses, this is the first time I hear it!


With pleasure!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 03:11:20 PM
Quote
The cell  you visit was probably the one next door, which you are right is a memorial to them.


When was this picture taken? Maybe they have made something new since I was last there - I must say it is a rather plain chapel.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 03:22:02 PM
I think I not, there is a replica of her cell with wax officers, is that the one?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 17, 2006, 03:24:43 PM
Hi, everybody ! I'm not sure it's the right place to introduce myself, so, I'll do it quickly ! I'm a belgian girl, my mothertong is french, and I'm intersted in Marie-Antoinette's life since a long time.

I've read so fascinating information on this site that I'd like to answer.

The most important, I think, is the relationship between the queen and Axel de Fersen. I agree with most of the posts saying that they most of all were friends.

Following the remarkable biography by Simone Bertière, Marie-Antoinette would never made her marriage contract in danger by making such a mistake as having a lover !

Of course, Antonia Fraser reminds us of the fact that contraception means were well known during the XVIIIth century, and that Fersen certainly has a good knowledge of all those.

But, in my view, having been raised in Marie-Thérèse's principles, Marie-Antoinette must have been very cautious in these matters. She wouldn't put in her children's veins anything but Burbon blood !

Marie-Liesl was so kind as to quote and translate a message sent to Fersen after Varennes' tragedy. This message is highly controversed. It isn't handwritten by Marie-Antoinette, the only copy we have is a translation of the original, that was coded.

Some historians have doubts about this note (Chalon, Delorme). They think it's not written by Marie-Antoinette, but by someone else using the code.

Evelyne Lever, who recently edited most of the letters of the queen, consider it a message truely sent by the queen... but admit that, about their relationship, we'll probably never know...

Anyway, as elena-maria-vidal points out, this tender language doesn't mean that much. It was the fashion of the time, and Marie-Antoinette "kisses" all her friends she loved "with all her heart" or "all her soul", to the "most tender of friends" (as, for instance, to Madame de Polignac, her best friend).

Some letters, very sweet, discovered among Fersen's papers, are also translated by him from a coded version. Mercy-Argenteau had copies too... that are less soft !

It seems that Fersen didn't disagree to be consider the lover of the queen of France, and that he cultivated this reputation.

I'd also like to remind that, this famous last night at the Tuileries, the "stayed here" night, he left poor Marie-Antoinette with her tears and her misfortunes, for running into his sensual mistress Eleonora's arms.

He may look like a hero, I have no admiration for him. Being too aristocratic, he gave Marie-Antoinette very bad advices, that no doubt led her easier to the guillotine. She, unfortunately, blindly relied on him.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 03:30:23 PM
Quote
I think I not, there is a replica of her cell with wax officers, is that the one?


Yes, that is the one!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 03:34:08 PM
(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/MAcell1.jpg)

(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/MAcell2.jpg)


Do you mean this?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 03:47:49 PM
Quote
Hi, everybody ! I'm not sure it's the right place to introduce myself, so, I'll do it quickly ! I'm a belgian girl, my mothertong is french, and I'm intersted in Marie-Antoinette's life since a long time.

I've read so fascinating information on this site that I'd like to answer.

The most important, I think, is the relationship between the queen and Axel de Fersen. I agree with most of the posts saying that they most of all were friends.

Following the remarkable biography by Simone Bertière, Marie-Antoinette would never made her marriage contract in danger by making such a mistake as having a lover !

Of course, Antonia Fraser reminds us of the fact that contraception means were well known during the XVIIIth century, and that Fersen certainly has a good knowledge of all those.

But, in my view, having been raised in Marie-Thérèse's principles, Marie-Antoinette must have been very cautious in these matters. She wouldn't put in her children's veins anything but Burbon blood !

Marie-Liesl was so kind as to quote and translate a message sent to Fersen after Varennes' tragedy. This message is highly controversed. It isn't handwritten by Marie-Antoinette, the only copy we have is a translation of the original, that was coded.

Some historians have doubts about this note (Chalon, Delorme). They think it's not written by Marie-Antoinette, but by someone else using the code.

Evelyne Lever, who recently edited most of the letters of the queen, consider it a message truely sent by the queen... but admit that, about their relationship, we'll probably never know...

Anyway, as elena-maria-vidal points out, this tender language doesn't mean that much. It was the fashion of the time, and Marie-Antoinette "kisses" all her friends she loved "with all her heart" or "all her soul", to the "most tender of friends" (as, for instance, to Madame de Polignac, her best friend).

Some letters, very sweet, discovered among Fersen's papers, are also translated by him from a coded version. Mercy-Argenteau had copies too... that are less soft !

It seems that Fersen didn't disagree to be consider the lover of the queen of France, and that he cultivated this reputation.

I'd also like to remind that, this famous last night at the Tuileries, the "stayed here" night, he left poor Marie-Antoinette with her tears and her misfortunes, for running into his sensual mistress Eleonora's arms.

He may look like a hero, I have no admiration for him. Being too aristocratic, he gave Marie-Antoinette very bad advices, that no doubt led her easier to the guillotine. She, unfortunately, blindly relied on him.


Welcome, coquelicot!! Thank you for all of the information, very helpful and interesting!

There is one thing you said that I must offer a different opinion. I read what Antonia Fraser wrote about contraception and I must say I found it so ridiculous I could not stand to read the rest of her book. I have no doubt that Fersen knew about contraception as did the Duc d'Orleans and other bon-vivants. For Marie-Antoinette, from a prolific family where everyone had at least 10 children, to have consented to the use of such things while carrying on an adulterous affair is beyond belief to me. It was an age of loose-living and free-thinking but Marie-Antoinette abhorred such immorality, as she would certainly have been taught to view it. Even if she had slept with Axel, she would never have used birth control. Birth control, in those days, for those who actively adhered to the Catholic religion (like Marie-Antoinette) was practically in the category of the unnatural vices. It was seen as something that very dissolute people engaged in with prostitutes.  The Pope a century later would not even write about contraception because he said it was so unheard of, that it was not even an issue with ordinary practicing Catholics. For Lady Fraser (for whom I have the greatest respect as a biographer) to insert that into her biography of the queen was to impose modern morals and outlook on a woman to whom "our"  views of procreation and the thwarting of of procreation would be completely alien.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 17, 2006, 03:48:41 PM
Hello, Sissi !

Have you seen "l'Autrichienne", by Granier-Deferre ? This movie shows the horrible conditions the queen lived in at the Conciergerie.

She was "tutoyée", (use of disrespectful "tu" form instead of "vous"), called "widow Capet" or "Antoinette" by her gards, who shared her cell, playing cards, smoking, kidding and watching her undress.

But, in a way, her fate was sweet, compared to her little Charles' one ! This poor boy died in the temple tower, treated like a dog !
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 03:49:07 PM
Quote
(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/MAcell1.jpg)

(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/MAcell2.jpg)


Do you mean this?


Yes, yes!! Thank you so much!! That is how it was when she received her last absolution and viaticum.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 03:51:10 PM
Quote
Hello, Sissi !

Have you seen "l'Autrichienne", by Granier-Deferre ? This movie shows the horrible conditions the queen lived in at the Conciergerie.

She was "tutoyée", (use of disrespectful "tu" form instead of "vous"), called "widow Capet" or "Antoinette" by her gards, who shared her cell, playing cards, smoking, kidding and watching her undress.

But, in a way, her fate was sweet, compared to her little Charles' one ! This poor boy died in the temple tower, treated like a dog !


I would love to see that film. What do you think of the upcoming film with Kirsten Dunst?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 17, 2006, 04:28:47 PM
Thank you for you nice greetings, elena-maria-vidal!

You said : "Even if she had slept with Axel, she would never have used birth control"... so, since she didn't want children but her husband's, she definitely didn't sleep with Fersen ! Did she ? ;)

For Coppola's future movie, I must admit I'm rather sceptical... like every Marie-Antoinette's admirer, I think !
Kirsten Dunst doesn't look like the queen at all, the rest of the casting is amazing (Asia Argento as the Barry, come on !). Some surfers specialized in costums and accessories wrote those are awful on the photos already available...

I didn't like the teaser neither. I hate seeing someone playing Marie-Antoinette nacked behind her fan. I'm afraid we'll meet the "austrian whore" portrayed by the pamphlets again rather than the real woman... I'm afraid this new movie, reaching a huge audience, would damage Marie-Antoinette's reputation, once again !

But... I must admit I've surfed on cinema sites, and met young people who calmed my fears down a bit... They know Sofia Coppola's works a lot, and told me her interpretation will surely be sensitive and intelligent.
Let's hope they're right !  :-/
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 04:35:49 PM
Quote
Thank you for you nice greetings, elena-maria-vidal!

You said : "Even if she had slept with Axel, she would never have used birth control"... so, since she didn't want children but her husband's, she definitely didn't sleep with Fersen ! Did she ? ;)

For Coppola's future movie, I must admit I'm rather sceptical... like every Marie-Antoinette's admirer, I think !
Kirsten Dunst doesn't look like the queen at all, the rest of the casting is amazing (Asia Argento as the Barry, come on !). Some surfers specialized in costums and accessories wrote those are awful on the photos already available...

I didn't like the teaser neither. I hate seeing someone playing Marie-Antoinette nacked behind her fan. I'm afraid we'll meet the "austrian whore" portrayed by the pamphlets again rather than the real woman... I'm afraid this new movie, reaching a huge audience, would damage Marie-Antoinette's reputation, once again !

But... I must admit I've surfed on cinema sites, and met young people who calmed my fears down a bit... They know Sofia Coppola's works a lot, and told me her interpretation will surely be sensitive and intelligent.
Let's hope they're right !  :-/


My personal opinion, based on a great deal, although not exhaustive, amount of research, is that she did not sleep with Axel. She may have been tempted, if she did love him. But to tell you the honest truth I doubt that she had that many oppotunities to be alone with him.

Oh, I feel the same way as you about the new movie!! When I saw them showing her naked with the fan, well, that is ridiculous, because everyone said she was modest to the point of prudery. But other things about the movie seem to be authentic. we shall see. It is a good thing we have this site to share our thoughts!! Have you seen the www.ladyreading.com site? It is excellent!!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 04:58:28 PM
Naked behind a fan!!!!!!! that is ridiculous!!!! Ridiculous as having Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette!!!!!!!!!!!

  RIDICULE!!!!!!! RIDICULE!!!!!!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 17, 2006, 05:07:22 PM
Oh, yes ! I really adore this site ! It's full of wonderfull pictures, very rare, even. One of them deeply moved me, it's a little photo representing a tapestry the queen made. It's a little angel... have you seen it ? I'd like to put it here, but I'm not gifted for informatics, and I can't...  :-[

On Claudia's site, too, I heard for the first time Marie-Antoinette's beautiful songs. "C'est mon ami" (It's my friend - music Marie-Antoinette - Lyrics Florian) and "Portrait charmant" (charming portrait - lyrics and music Marie-Antoinette).

I agree with you, by the way, fully : for a lot of reasons, I think Marie-Antoinette and Fersen never slept together. And I even don't know if they were more than closed friends, if she loved him more than her other dear friends... Just, at the end, she relied on him, because she only had him left !

Like you, I have no exhaustive knowledge (who's the lucky one who has ?!), but I'm searching, all the time, because it's my greatest passion. I've really learned a lot of information here, and I thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 05:55:46 PM
Quote
Naked behind a fan!!!!!!! that is ridiculous!!!! Ridiculous as having Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette!!!!!!!!!!!

   RIDICULE!!!!!!! RIDICULE!!!!!!


I AGREE!!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 17, 2006, 05:58:02 PM
Quote
Oh, yes ! I really adore this site ! It's full of wonderfull pictures, very rare, even. One of them deeply moved me, it's a little photo representing a tapestry the queen made. It's a little angel... have you seen it ? I'd like to put it here, but I'm not gifted for informatics, and I can't...  :-[

On Claudia's site, too, I heard for the first time Marie-Antoinette's beautiful songs. "C'est mon ami" (It's my friend - music Marie-Antoinette - Lyrics Florian) and "Portrait charmant" (charming portrait - lyrics and music Marie-Antoinette).

I agree with you, by the way, fully : for a lot of reasons, I think Marie-Antoinette and Fersen never slept together. And I even don't know if they were more than closed friends, if she loved him more than her other dear friends... Just, at the end, she relied on him, because she only had him left !

Like you, I have no exhaustive knowledge (who's the lucky one who has ?!), but I'm searching, all the time, because it's my greatest passion. I've really learned a lot of information here, and I thank you for sharing your knowledge.


Oh, I did not notice that her songs were on Claudia's site!  Thank you!! Marie-Antoinette really was an enchanting person, too good for this ugly world! And please check out my site, www.emvidal.com, still under construction!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 18, 2006, 09:43:51 AM
WOW!!!!!I didn´t know you were THAT Maria Elena Vidal! I have heard and read some very good critics about your books! I have already order  "Madame Royale".
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 18, 2006, 09:50:23 AM
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WOW!!!!!I didn´t know you were THAT Maria Elena Vidal! I have heard and read some very good critics about your books! I have already order  "Madame Royale".


Thank you very much, dear Sisi! You are very kind, and I am glad you have heard good things about my books! Enjoy the novel "Madame Royale." Count Fersen is featured prominently in the opening chapters, before he gets killed.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 18, 2006, 10:48:02 AM
Congratulations, elena-maria-vidal ! And thank you ! It would be interesting for me too, for you seem to have a point of view different from most of the french writers I've read. Generally, they consider Marie-Antoinette, though raised in catholic religion, wasn't a very devote person.

My favourite author is Simone Bertière, whose analysis I find very objective and intelligent. She believes the relationship between Marie-Antoinette and Fersen looked like a middle-age romance, with the knight prosiming eternal faith and loyalty to his lady. For rligious, but also dynastic reasons, in her view, Marie-Antoinette would avoid adultery, because it was far too dangerous !

I think court life spoiled the royal family life a lot. They didn't even live together, they often slept separately. They didn't raise their children together. After, while inprisoned in the temple tower, they became more a family in the way we consider it now. They lived like common people, for one year, they shared almost everything, like any "bourgeoise" family, with both parents teaching their children.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 18, 2006, 11:17:48 AM
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Congratulations, elena-maria-vidal ! And thank you ! It would be interesting for me too, for you seem to have a point of view different from most of the french writers I've read. Generally, they consider Marie-Antoinette, though raised in catholic religion, wasn't a very devote person.

My favourite author is Simone Bertière, whose analysis I find very objective and intelligent. She believes the relationship between Marie-Antoinette and Fersen looked like a middle-age romance, with the knight prosiming eternal faith and loyalty to his lady. For rligious, but also dynastic reasons, in her view, Marie-Antoinette would avoid adultery, because it was far too dangerous !

I think court life spoiled the royal family life a lot. They didn't even live together, they often slept separately. They didn't raise their children together. After, while inprisoned in the temple tower, they became more a family in the way we consider it now. They lived like common people, for one year, they shared almost everything, like any "bourgeoise" family, with both parents teaching their children.


I don't think the queen was deeply devout until after her oldest son died. Then, according to Desmond Seward, she turned to "the way of devotion" with Mme Elizabeth. Even when Baby Sophie died, she began to be more spiritual, turning to her pious sister-in-law for guidance. Before that, she was an observant Catholic, performing her basic duties, but nothing more. Even after she became more religious, her approach to faith was very joyful and non-judgmental, not at all Jansenistic like so many of the French at the time.

I agree completely about the l'affaire Fersen being something out of the Age of chivalry. It was in regard to Antoinette's death that Burke made his famous statement about "the age of chivalry is dead." I will try to find the entire quote.

Louis and Antoinette really tried to create a family life, which is why they escaped the court to Trianon. But it was difficult....
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 18, 2006, 11:26:39 AM
She was surrounded by foreigners, Fersen, Esterazy... and others.
 She was a child woman, and it is sad that her mother being so intelligent never gave her the proper tool to be a more grown up sovereign. I think that she is a victim she was not a bad person nor a bad sovereign, she was just not prepare intellectually, which made her influenceable.

 I have always thought that if she have had her children earlier things might have been different. Motherhood gave her maturity, and a more accurate sense of responsability.  
 
Also she was a very modern woman, I mean she wanted to be active in the upbringing of her children, she influenced Louis XVI to get Vigee Lebrun into the Royal Academy of Arts, she was interested in music and had her own views about it, she influenced arquitecture and may many order things.
  I think that if she had put her mind into things she could have accomplish a great deal of other things.
 Or maybe she needed astronger man, I think she would have made a terrific couple with Louis XIV!!!!  
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 18, 2006, 11:42:23 AM
Hi, Sissi !

Do you think 23 isn't a good age to have children ? There were huge pressures on her about it, but she had her children in due time... physically and psychologically, I mean.

She loved them greatly, she was very concerned in their education, raising them gave her more maturity, that's true... but it was not only that, I thing. She got wiser for she got older, like all of us !  

Let's notice she never really abandoned her pleasures and distractions when become a mother. Fortunately ! To be a mother doesn't mean to drop every passion ! In my view, she had a good balance between her children and her hobbies. Most of the time, moreover, she had her children with her, while singing, for instance, or playing harpsichord and harp.

I agree she had a poor education. She often said to Madame Campan she could have done better, if she was better instructed.  But she nevertheless became a good queen, in the way that she protected arts (Vigée, Montansier, Raucour, Redouté, Gluck, Saint Georges...), manufacture (Riesener, Sèvres...) and developped fashions (Bertin, Léonard, Fargeon...). All acts requested from a queen !

I'm deeply persuaded she was witty, clever and intelligent. It's obvious from her letters, her quotations, and her answers while on trial. I suspect that our still vivid opinion that she was let's say... a little stupid, is a sequel to the execrable revolution propaganda ! Better to think you've guillotined a silly bird than a sweet queen !

Quote:Or maybe she needed astronger man, I think she would have made a terrific couple with Louis XIV!!!!    

 

Do you think so ? Wouldn't they have arguments ? What a man, this sun Louis !
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 18, 2006, 11:50:04 AM
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Hi, Sissi !
 
Do you think 23 isn't a good age to have children ? There were huge pressures on her about it, but she had her children in due time... physically and psychologically, I mean.
 
She loved them greatly, she was very concerned in their education, raising them gave her more maturity, that's true... but it was not only that, I thing. She got wiser for she got older, like all of us !  
 
Let's notice she never really abandoned her pleasures and distractions when become a mother. Fortunately ! To be a mother doesn't mean to drop every passion ! In my view, she had a good balance between her children and her hobbies. Most of the time, moreover, she had her children with her, while singing, for instance, or playing harpsichord and harp.
 
I agree she had a poor education. She often said to Madame Campan she could have done better, if she was better instructed.  But she nevertheless became a good queen, in the way that she protected arts (Vigée, Montansier, Raucour, Redouté, Gluck, Saint Georges...), manufacture (Riesener, Sèvres...) and developped fashions (Bertin, Léonard, Fargeon...). All acts requested from a queen !
 
I'm deeply persuaded she was witty, clever and intelligent. It's obvious from her letters, her quotations, and her answers while on trial. I suspect that our still vivid opinion that she was let's say... a little stupid, is a sequel to the execrable revolution propaganda ! Better to think you've guillotined a silly bird than a sweet queen !
 
  
 
 


Agreed!!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 18, 2006, 12:00:07 PM
 do not have any doubt that she was a capable woman, she was witty and she had a quick mind, and you are right she defended herself splendidly during her trial. She always knew the right word for every occasion, she was an exceptional woman.

   23 is of course a good age to have children, but back then for a Queen married for seven years it was dangerous not to be a mother. She was always mistrusted regarding France political interest, she was regarded by many as an austrian spy. She was queen of France right from the start but having an heir was regarded by the people as finally being a french woman.
   
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 18, 2006, 12:03:15 PM
I fully agree with you ! Her situation was getting dangerous. Should she forget it, her brother Joseph was there to remind her of it !

And Sissi... yes, she was an exceptional woman !  ;D
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 18, 2006, 12:07:57 PM
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do not have any doubt that she was a capable woman, she was witty and she had a quick mind, and you are right she defended herself splendidly during her trial. She always knew the right word for every occasion, she was an exceptional woman.
 
    23 is of course a good age to have children, but back then for a Queen married for seven years it was dangerous not to be a mother. She was always mistrusted regarding France political interest, she was regarded by many as an austrian spy. She was queen of France right from the start but having an heir was regarded by the people as finally being a french woman.
    


I once heard a history professor quoted as saying that at her trial Marie-Antoinette conducted herself like a trained lawyer, so brilliant were her replies, especially considering that she was ill, exhausted and heartbroken.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 18, 2006, 12:12:38 PM
[ Her situation was getting dangerous. Should she forget it, her brother Joseph was there to remind her of it !

And Sissi... yes, she was an exceptional woman !  ;D[/quote]


  Yes exactly, Joseph II and eher motehr were aware that she needed to conceive an heir in order to consolidate her position as Queen of France.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 18, 2006, 02:41:58 PM
And, as you already said, she was in danger of being brought back to Vienna.
However... I sometimes wonder... Is it impossible that she would have wished it ? To leave this hostile court of Versailles and find back her beloved Schönbrunn ? Her "Madame Mère", her sisters and brothers still happy at home, and this quiet town where proportions were more human than in this huge and cold palace ?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 18, 2006, 03:00:50 PM
Yes, Mme du Barry was trying to have Louis and Antoinette's marriage annulled. But Louis had really come to care for her, and began to make public displays of affection, kissing her in the gardens and walking arm and arm, which was not done then, not even spouses.

Antoinette later said to her mother, that of the three brothers, she was glad she had married Louis-Auguste, the husband whom"God had chosen" for her.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: ilyala on January 18, 2006, 07:34:16 PM
considerring the options it's not hard to see why ;D

louis had his faults, but he was a very kind and sensitive man and i'm pretty sure that's what every woman wants in the end :)
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 18, 2006, 07:40:58 PM
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louis had his faults, but he was a very kind and sensitive man and i'm pretty sure that's what every woman wants in the end :)


Very true, as well as the fact that he really did love her. Knowing her love for jewelry, he would leave gifts on her dressing table for her to discover. (Not that expensive gifts are indicative of love, but he did try to bring her happiness.)
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 18, 2006, 08:18:11 PM
Here is the famous quote of the Irish philosopher and politician Edmund Burke on the death of Marie-Antoinette in October 1793. He saw her as Fersen must have first seen her and of course, as Louis did, too.

"It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she had just begun to move in, glittering like the morning star full of life and splendor and joy....Little did I dream...that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is dead; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever."
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 19, 2006, 02:31:21 AM
How beautiful ! How true ! And still true nowadays, alas...

Thank you so much, elena-maria-vidal !

So many people having met her had the impression of seeing an angel...
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Sissi on January 19, 2006, 08:08:18 AM
 Beautiful indeed!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 19, 2006, 08:49:31 AM
Thank you! One gets the sense of the powerful impression she made on people, and how she won hearts.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 19, 2006, 09:44:30 AM
In a way, I think we may say that some courtiers detested her simply because they couldn't reach this magics, they weren't among "the happy few" of Trianon. I mean, calomnies and revenges weren't only made for calculated reasons and on ambition purposes, but also because of simple jealousy. They felt rejected, and to be rejected by such a charming person as Antoinette must be a terrible feeling... How many were the powerful ones who were never invited to the blue theatre private performances ?

Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Eddie_uk on January 19, 2006, 09:49:14 AM
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Thank you! One gets the sense of the powerful impression she made on people, and how she won hearts.


Very true Elena! Barnave was a good example of that, poor chap.  :-/
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 19, 2006, 09:50:33 AM
Yes, Eddieboy, Barnave is another example.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 19, 2006, 09:53:27 AM
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In a way, I think we may say that some courtiers detested her simply because they couldn't reach this magics, they weren't among "the happy few" of Trianon. I mean, calomnies and revenges weren't only made for calculated reasons and on ambition purposes, but also because of simple jealousy. They felt rejected, and to be rejected by such a charming person as Antoinette must be a terrible feeling... How many were the powerful ones who were never invited to the blue theatre private performances ?



I agree. I think there were SO many who were jealous of her and upset when they weren't included. Remember how Cardinal de Rohan tried to crash one of her parties at Trianon to which she would not invite him  because of the foul joke he had told about her mother?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on January 19, 2006, 09:59:55 AM
Right ! I never understood how a man could behave so stupidly ! He tried all he could to approach her, and, even if it was obvious she didn't want to let him in, he went on. After years and years of having been treated coldly by Marie-Antoinette, how could he fall in the first Lamotte's rough trap ?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 19, 2006, 10:09:26 AM
Vanity and lust do strange things to common sense!
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: veu on January 20, 2006, 05:11:11 PM
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Naked behind a fan!!!!!!! that is ridiculous!!!! Ridiculous as having Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette!!!!!!!!!!!

   RIDICULE!!!!!!! RIDICULE!!!!!!


Why?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: elena_maria_vidal on January 20, 2006, 05:17:51 PM
The queen was known for her modesty and wore a gown in the bathtub. She hated the ceremony of having to dress and undress in front of others, as well as the ordeal of giving birth in public, which after their first child her husband abolished. That's why.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Helen_Azar on October 23, 2007, 06:49:01 PM
Do you think their relationship was ever consumated? Based on what evidence? Historians seem to be unsure. 
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Axel_von_Fersen on October 23, 2007, 11:11:47 PM
Yes, I think MA and Axel von Fersen had sexual relations and that he might have fathered her last two children.  Several authors think so - Lady Fraser and Evelyn Lever most prominent among them.  There was a big increase in the number of MA pregnancies between 1783 and 1788 the period that coincides with Fersen's return.  There was also the rides alone and her remodling of a private apartment and finally the later destruction of his diaries. However, many more historians say no - never consummated - and what do you think? and why?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: pers on October 24, 2007, 08:24:24 AM
I have also been reading up a lot about this specific issue lately for my own reasons...  I finished Evelyn Lever's biography yesterday evening and I also read some of what Pierre de Nolhac says in his books.  I am of the view along with Lever that at the moment we will not know for sure as there is no concrete evidence.  It would be interesting if the DNA from the heart of Louis XVII (St. Denis) could be compared with the remains of Axel Fersen in Sweden.

Also it will be WONDERFUL if we develop the necessary technology to be able to read the parts of the correspondence that Axel Fersen's nephew crossed out.  Then there is the issue of her having installed a Swedish stove in her inner apartments in Versailles for Axel. 

If one reads his correspondence and extracts out of his Journal Intime, I think one can sense that there was great love that existed between them and deep down, (we are all human after all!) I cannot think that one will not follow up on such feelings...

Whatever her official postion as Queen of France and his as a Swedish nobleman, love does not spare any of us and you have NO control as to when and with whom it enters your life.  Life is much more complicated than taking a simplistic view...  I respect the fact that here we have two individuals who loved one another, despite the difficulty of their circumstances.  One can out of a humane perspective only feel for them from the depths of one's heart.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: CountessKate on October 24, 2007, 09:11:25 AM
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Then there is the issue of her having installed a Swedish stove in her inner apartments in Versailles for Axel. 

I'm not convinced that installing a Swedish stove in her inner apartments was necessarily a form of deathless passion, it might just be the need for a superior form of heating.  Versailles certainly could do with it.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: pers on October 25, 2007, 11:29:14 AM
I have written a short resume and proceed to post it successively:

On 10 January 1774, Axel Fersen attended the Dauphine’s Ball at Versailles.  On 30 January 1774, both attended the Paris masked Opera Ball.  Axel writes in his Journal “Madame la Dauphine spoke to me a long time without me recognizing her.  Later when she was recognized, everyone gathered around her and she retired into a loge”.

They next met in August 1778.  On 26 August 1778, Axel wrote to his father “This past Wednesday,  I went to Versailles to be presented to the Royal Family. The Queen who is charming said on seeing me: ‘Ah this is an old acquaintance!’  The rest of the Royal Family did not say a word to me”.

On 10 April 1779, the Swedish Ambassador Creutz, writes to King Gustavus III of Sweden: “I must confide to Your Majesty that the young Count Fersen is so well received by the Queen that it has given offence to several persons.  I admit that I cannot refrain from thinking that she has a fondness for him: I saw signs of this that were too clear to leave any doubt (j’en ai vu des indices trop surs pour en douter).  The young Count Fersen’s behavior on this occasion was admirable in its modesty and restraint and especially in his decision to go to America. By leaving, he removed all dangers, but of course wisdom and resolve beyond his years were required to overcome this seduction.  The Queen could not take his eyes off him these last few days; as she watched him they filled with tears (La Reine ne pouvait pas le quitter des yeux les derniers jours; en le regardant, ils etaient remplis de larmes).  I beg Your Majesty to keep this a  secret for her sake and Senator Fersen’s”.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: pers on October 25, 2007, 11:30:27 AM
The expedition did not come off in 1779 and Fersen returned to Paris.  According to Evelyn Lever in her biography on Marie Antoinette, there developed a serious romance during the Winter of 1779-1780.  He left in March 1780 for America.  He landed back in France on 17 June 1783.

On 31 July 1783 he writes to his sister Sophie Piper: “I am so happy that I can hardly believe it.  I have more than one reason for that which I will tell you when we see each other.  In spite of all the pleasure of seeing you again, I cannot leave Paris without regret.  You will think it quite natural when you learn the cause of this regret.  I will tell you, for I do not want to keep anything secret from you… I am very glad Miss Leyell is married.  She won’t be mentioned to me again and I hope no one else will be found. I have made up my mind. I do not want to contract conjugal ties; they are contrary to nature… I cannot belong to the only person to whom I want to belong, the one who really loves me, and so I do not want to belong to anyone”.

Fifteen years later, on 15 July 1798, Axel writes in his Journal Intime: “I remember this day when I arrived from Dang; I stayed at Madame de Matignon’s and I went to Her for the first time”.  Axel in his correspondence and Journal often referred to the Queen as Her/”Elle” with a capital letter. He also referred to her by one of her other baptismal names, Josephine.  Axel had to accompany King Gustavus III on a tour of Italy in the first half of 1784 and during this time wrote twenty-seven letters to Josephine.  According to his correspondence notebook: “To Josephine, May 18 and 21: no. 27, through Fontaine, that I cannot come before the King”.  On 7 June 1784 King Gustavus III and his entourage arrived at Versailles for an extended stay of 6 weeks until 19 July 1784.

By 1787 there were plans made for his living arrangements within the Queen’s private apartment in Versailles.  According to his correspondence notebook he wrote to Josephine on 3 March 1787: ”Plan of living upstairs; she should have a recess made for the stove”.  Independent confirmation is found in the following note to the Director General of Buildings on 10 October: “The Queen has sent for the Swedish stove maker who made the stoves in Madame’s apartment, and Her Majesty ordered him to make one for one of her inner rooms, with heating pipes to warm  a small neighboring room”.  Lever says that the exact layout of her private apartment was not generally known.  The rooms that today are regarded as the so-called “Fersen apartment” is in fact “upstairs” as Fersen wrote in his correspondence notebook, namely the rooms directly above the rooms that form a kind of “corridor” directly behind her bedroom in the direction of the Salon de l’Oeil de Boeuf.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: pers on October 25, 2007, 11:31:21 AM
According to Elisabeth de Feydeau in her book “A scented Palace”(page 67), Marie Antoinette requested her perfumer Fargeon (when she met with him in the gardens at Petit Trianon) to “prepare a toilet water destined for a man who was very elegant but had nothing of the dandy about him, someone as ‘virile as one can possibly be’ “.  In June 1791 her perfumer Fargeon was summoned to the Tuileries (De Feydeau page 89).  He met with the Queen in her study.  At this meeting he recognized besides the Queen’s perfume, another one of his creations in the air, namely “the virile fragrance that she ordered as a gift for the mysterious ‘very elegant man’.  He had no doubt been in the room just a few hours ago”.

Also Axel Feren really risked his own life and safety in planning the Flight to Varennes on 20 June 1791, taking care of all the arrangements and he himself acted as the coachman in getting the Royal Family out of Paris on the first part of the escape.  Unfortunately he did not continue with then as Fersen requested, as the King saw no reason for him to continue with them further along on the trip.

Axel Fersen’s grandnephew Baron Klickowstrom allowed Fersen’s Journal and correspondence published in 1877 once he had censored parts of it by crossing out the texts completely.  He refused access to the originals and said that he destroyed them.  However according to Evelyn Lever, they turned up in 1982 and were subsequently acquired by the French National Archives.  She inspected them.  Lever says on page 165 of the English translation of her book: “There can be no doubt, given where they are placed and in their context, that these were crossed-out love messages.  Indeed, one letter has been found that escaped the blue pencil.  The words used by Marie Antoinette could not have been clearer in expressing her feelings for Fersen: ‘I can tell you that I love you’ she said to him”. This quote comes from her letter to Axel dated 28 June 1791.  She continues this specific letter with: “Tell me to whom I should send my letters to you, for I cannot live without that.  Farewell most loved and most loving of men.  I embrace you with all my heart” (Lever page 264).  He wrote back “I am fine and live only to serve you”.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: pers on October 25, 2007, 11:32:05 AM
After the failed escape Marie Antoinette writes to Axel on 7 December 1791:”It is absolutely impossible  for you to come here now; it would endanger our safety, and if I say this, you must believe me, as I have an extreme desire to see you”.

Their last meeting took place in the Tuileries Palace on 13 February 1792. “Monday 13, Went to the Queen; took my usual route; afraid of the National Guard; her quarters wonderful.  Stayed there.  Tuesday 14, saw the King at six in the evening”.

After the Queen’s excecution, the news reaches Axel in Brussels on 20 October 1793.  He writes in his Journal: “Though I was prepared for it and expected it since the transfer to the Conciergerie, I was devastated by the reality.  I did not have the strength to feel anything.  I went out to talk about this misfortune with my friends and Madame de Fitz-James and the Baron de Breteuil, whom I did not find.  I wept with them, especially with Madame de Fitz-James… I thought about her constantly, about all the horrible circumstances of her sufferings, of the doubt she might have had about me, my attachment, my interest.  That thought tortured me.  Then I felt all that I was losing in so many different ways: feeling, interest, existence, everything was joined in her and all lost…  I even had moments of distaste for Eleanore.  It was not the same feeling, that consideration, that care, that tenderness…”.

On 21 October 1793 he writes in his Journal: “I could only think of my loss.  The fact that she was alone in her last moments, without consolation, with no one to talk to, no one to whom she could give her dying wishes, it is horrifying.  What monsters from hell!  No, without revenge, never will my heart be content.” 
 
He writes to his sister Sophie on the same day: “She for whom I lived, since I have never ceased to love her, she I loved so much, for whom I would have given a thousand lives, is no more.  Oh my God!  Why overwhelm me thus, what have I done to deserve your wrath?  She is no more.  My pain is indescribable and I do not know how I can go on living; I do not know how I can bear my suffering.  It is extreme and nothing will ever erase it.  She will always be present in my memory and to always weep for her; Everything is over for me my dear friend”.

On 24 October 1793: “Her image, her sufferings, her death and my feeling are always present in my head, I can think of nothing else”.
On 26 October 1793: ”Every day I think about it, and every day my sorrow increases.  Every day I am even more aware of all that I have lost”.

On 5 November 1793: “Oh, how I blame myself for my wrongs toward her, and how I know now that I loved her.  Eleanore will never replace her in my heart.  What gentleness, what tenderness, what kindness, what care, what a loving sensitive, tactful heart!”.
A year later he writes: “This  day was a memorable and terrible day for me.  It is the day I lost the person who loved me most in the world and who truly loved me”.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on October 27, 2007, 05:28:25 AM
Quote
Yes, I think MA and Axel von Fersen had sexual relations and that he might have fathered her last two children.  Several authors think so - Lady Fraser and Evelyn Lever most prominent among them.  There was a big increase in the number of MA pregnancies between 1783 and 1788 the period that coincides with Fersen's return.  There was also the rides alone and her remodling of a private apartment and finally the later destruction of his diaries. However, many more historians say no - never consummated - and what do you think? and why?
How assertive you are, Axel ! How can you, when even Madame Lever, who studied Marie Antoinette for years as a French historian, is not ?

Then, there is Lady Fraser, indeed... but you are in complete contradiction with the result of her researchs. How strange... First of all, for this British writer, Fersen could not have fathered Marie Antoinette's last two children, for, should he be her lover, which is not certain at all, he would use condoms or coitus interrumptus. The man had many mistresses, and no pregancies problems. So... Why should he have with Marie Antoinette ?

And, since they were supposed to meet each night in this little room with this Swedish stove or in Saint Cloud, why would he stop making children to Marie Antoinette, so suddenly ?

Isn't all this laughable ? I think is all is, this whole story. And the more I study it, the more I think so.

There are few biographies dedicated to Fersen. The best one was written by Françoise Kermina. An older one was written by Charles Kunstler. Then, there are books devoted to Marie Antoinette and Fersen's relationship, such as Loomis' excellent book, or Bauman's. But many more scholars studied this "liaison" (classical word without sexual meaning). Let's think of Paul and Pierrette Girault de Coursac, Philippe Delorme, Simone Bertiere, Jean Chalon, JC Petitfils, Joel Felix... and, of course, so seriously and meticulously, Nesta Webster.

Let's begin with the Girault's demonstration. For these specialists of French history and French court, some conditions are necessary so that a queen can have and maintain a liaison with a man. Marie Antoinette has not a single. Plus, this purpoted liaison with this Swedish Apollon always requires, sooner or later, the king's benediction. If you think Louis XVI ever accepted to be a cuckold, you certainly only read Stephan Zweig ! More recent works show that it actually is impossible. Louis was not so.

Quote
I'm not convinced that installing a Swedish stove in her inner apartments was necessarily a form of deathless passion, it might just be the need for a superior form of heating.  Versailles certainly could do with it.
That's the point, PrincessKate, precisely ! That's the point ! Why would this stove automatically lead to a liaison ? Because it was Swedish ? By contamination ? *lol*

Well... Mesdames Aunts also installed Swedish stoves. Did they also sleep with Fersen ?

Let's add that Fersen used to sleep in this little room in Eleonore and Quintin's Craufurd house, there, upstairs. And that Eleonore had a maid named Josephine... And that these "She" and "she" with or without capitals are not so clear, actually. If you read Loomis' excellent work, you'll see how these passages from Fersen's writings often were misinterpreted. You could also refer to Webster's analysis.

I will, later, when I have more time, to reply to pers's fascinating and long comments.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Helen_Azar on October 27, 2007, 08:11:54 AM
Quote
I'm not convinced that installing a Swedish stove in her inner apartments was necessarily a form of deathless passion, it might just be the need for a superior form of heating.  Versailles certainly could do with it.
That's the point, PrincessKate, precisely ! That's the point ! Why would this stove automatically lead to a liaison ? Because it was Swedish ? By contamination ? *lol*

According to Evelyn Lever, MA installed the stove because she supposedly had a room set up fro Fersen adjacent to hers, and the stove was to keep him nice and warm in the style he was accustomed ;-). 
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on October 27, 2007, 10:28:24 AM
The facts are the following : a stove was installed in a little room in the queen's appartments in Versailles.

Fersen happened to ask a certain Josephine for keeping warm her room upstairs.

That is almost all for certainties. Let's add that the Sullivans had a room upstairs were Fersen used to hide when he came to secretly "stay there" with Eleonore. And that Josephine was the name of Eleonore's maid.

The rest is but interpretations, dear. Imagine whatever you want, these would only remain imaginations, not facts. Some auteurs even affirm that Fersen had a room in the little Trianon, where he "stayed" with his mistresses !
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on October 27, 2007, 11:19:17 AM
Now, getting to pers' so interesting posts !

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Also it will be WONDERFUL if we develop the necessary technology to be able to read the parts of the correspondence that Axel Fersen's nephew crossed out. 

Sorry, dear, we actually don't know who crossed out these passages. You seem to have rather the idea that it was Klinckowström. To protect the queen's reputation, maybe ? Is that it ?

Many historians have other interpretations. Let's mention the Girault de Coursac couple, Philippe Delorme or Chalon, for instance. They suggest these crossings out could have been made by Fersen himself. The man was extremely proud of his so sepcial fame. He adored to be seen as the tragical lover of the former queen of France. There are a lot of evidences of this, quotations from his diary can prove it.  You can find these quotations here (http://maria-antonia.justgoo.com/ses-relations-amicales-f5/hans-axel-von-fersen-t144-120.htm). These come from Kunstler's "Fersen et son secret", Hachette, 1947, p. 222 sqq.

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If one reads his correspondence and extracts out of his Journal Intime, I think one can sense that there was great love that existed between them and deep down, (we are all human after all!) I cannot think that one will not follow up on such feelings...
Did you read Fersen's diary, pers ? I read large parts of it, and I agree with his biographer, Françoise Kermina, these writings are rather shallow and uninteresting. You find many references to innumerable women, sometimes quite contemptuous.

For instance, when he met Marie Antoinette at this masked ball, he only wrote a few words, from which it is obvious that this young man was flattered to have a little conversation with the dauphine. It goes like "I met a VIP !!!" On the other hand, he stayed a long time with a charming young lady, very pretty, and describes what she said, what he said, how he and his friend kissed her... Fersen seems more interested in this adventure than in Marie Antoinette !

Quote
They next met in August 1778.  On 26 August 1778, Axel wrote to his father “This past Wednesday,  I went to Versailles to be presented to the Royal Family. The Queen who is charming said on seeing me: ‘Ah this is an old acquaintance!’  The rest of the Royal Family did not say a word to me”.
Do you find this quotation relevant, pers ?
You are right. It is a perfect illustration of Marie Antoinette's human delicacy and political intelligence. King Gustav was at that moment trying to make the links beween France and Sweden closer. But what did the royal family ? They did not even notice count Fersen... How sad... Then, queen Marie Antoinette had these kind few words to him.

Do you pay attention to Creutz's letter to Gustav ? This information would be relevant, indeed, should it be mentioned by other ambassadors to their courts. But it is not. Count Creutz, ambassador of Sweden in France, is just flattering his king's national pride, by telling how a Swedish noble man was noticed in Versailles.

Let's take a look at Marie Antoinette's real close entourage. Madame Campan writes nothing about count Fersen, not a single word. Neither did Mercy. And be sure that, should any danger exist, the Austrian spy would immediately report it to Marie Therese ! And Madame Mere would at once scold her daughter ! Indeed, Marie Therese talks about Guines, Besenval, Polignac, Lamballe, Coigny, Lignes, Lauzun... but Fersen, no, she did not. What does this silence mean ? That is was nothing to talk about, maybe ? *lol*
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Yseult on October 27, 2007, 02:22:34 PM
Since the moment I have read the bio written by Stephan Zweig, I believe they were lovers. Of course, I can´t be sure, but I really believe they shared a great love.
If I remember well, Zweig states that a lot of years after the death of Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte refused to accept Fersen as a swedish representative for a negociation. Napoleon was very rude: he was not interested in a negociation with a man "who shared the bed with the former queen". Of course, Fersen was informed about the words pronounced by Napoleon...and he remained in silent. He didn´t denied the accusation.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Helen_Azar on October 27, 2007, 02:58:46 PM
Let's take a look at Marie Antoinette's real close entourage. Madame Campan writes nothing about count Fersen, not a single word. Neither did Mercy.

Is it possible that they were protecting MA's reputation, or alternately, that MA was so discreet in her private life (even if technically she was supposed to have been on constant public display) that no one really knew for sure? After all, there were plenty of various rumors about her, but nothing definite one way or the other... Again, according to the author Lever, MA was supposedly extraordinarily good at protecting her private life.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Helen_Azar on October 27, 2007, 03:09:33 PM
Did you read Fersen's diary, pers ? I read large parts of it, and I agree with his biographer, Françoise Kermina, these writings are rather shallow and uninteresting. You find many references to innumerable women, sometimes quite contemptuous.

I have to add (having just finished reading Lever's book, as if you couldn't guess ;-)), that according to Ms Lever, while Fersen was supposed to have been pining away for MA (while she was under house arrest at the Tuilery) he was openly having an affair with a Mrs Sullivan... if this is true, perhaps he wasn't as much of a loyal and romantic figure as he wanted everyone to believe...
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on October 28, 2007, 05:15:07 AM
Quote
Is it possible that they were protecting MA's reputation, or alternately, that MA was so discreet in her private life (even if technically she was supposed to have been on constant public display) that no one really knew for sure? After all, there were plenty of various rumors about her, but nothing definite one way or the other... Again, according to the author Lever, MA was supposedly extraordinarily good at protecting her private life.

This explanation is allegued by Zweig (who firmy believes in a complete and generous consummation, according to his Freudian theory). Zweig even offers a "silence conspiracy". And Madame Lever, though being a French positive historian, dares to take it into account ! This is anything but positive and material analyse, anything but serious historical criticism !

We can't seriously rely on silence to prove that a fact ever happen.

I don't think that even your explanation, dear Helen A, could be valuable concerning Mercy. Count Mercy's mission was to observe every single detail about Marie Antoinette and to report it to her omnipotent mother Maria Theresia. He went on in France after the Empress' death. And he did his job precisely, reporting about Lauzun or Ligne, or about Bezenval and other friends of the queen. No a single word about count Fersen. Considering the mission of Mercy, this silence only means one thing : there was no danger, there was no substance to report about between queen Marie Antoinette and this Swedish young Apollon. And Mercy was able to make the difference between real facts and little court gossips.

Then, there is Madame Campan, who was the queen's friend, at least, she claims so. She could keep silence to protect her mistress, indeed. Then, why does she report about Lauzun and Besenval ? And even about Madame de Lamballe and Madame de Polignac ?

And those sources those who want to believe in a love story rely on... Are they reliable ? Creutz, as we have seen. But he was the Swedish ambassador flattering his king's national pride. The other ambassadors, as we have seen for Mercy, did not mention this event. Saint Priest is also often quoted... but Madame de Saint Priest was among Fersen's unlucky mistresses, openly claimed her love and Saint Priest was publicly ridiculed. Taking this into consideration, is Saint Priest's testimony that realiable ? There is Madame de Boigne too... Well... this lady was not even born when those events happen ! *lol*

So... If we make a little comparizon, we have, on the one hand, shallow and extremely light testismonies. On the other hand, the real entourage of the queen, who do not even mention Fersen's name.

And, sorry, pers, but philosophical remarks such as "passion do not spare royals" cannot be taken into consideration when applying historical methods.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on October 30, 2007, 05:59:40 AM
Now that I finally have a little time, I can get back to pers' so interesting comment !

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According to Elisabeth de Feydeau in her book “A scented Palace”(page 67), Marie Antoinette requested her perfumer Fargeon (when she met with him in the gardens at Petit Trianon) to “prepare a toilet water destined for a man who was very elegant but had nothing of the dandy about him, someone as ‘virile as one can possibly be’ “.  In June 1791 her perfumer Fargeon was summoned to the Tuileries (De Feydeau page 89).  He met with the Queen in her study.  At this meeting he recognized besides the Queen’s perfume, another one of his creations in the air, namely “the virile fragrance that she ordered as a gift for the mysterious ‘very elegant man’.  He had no doubt been in the room just a few hours ago”.
Did you take it seriously ? Really ? Elisabeth de Feydeau's book is extremely interesting for all information concerning perfumes formulas, for his his this lady's actual scholarship. The rest is but novel, pers !

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Axel Fersen’s grandnephew Baron Klickowstrom allowed Fersen’s Journal and correspondence published in 1877 once he had censored parts of it by crossing out the texts completely.  He refused access to the originals and said that he destroyed them.  However according to Evelyn Lever, they turned up in 1982 and were subsequently acquired by the French National Archives.  She inspected them.  Lever says on page 165 of the English translation of her book: “There can be no doubt, given where they are placed and in their context, that these were crossed-out love messages.  Indeed, one letter has been found that escaped the blue pencil.  The words used by Marie Antoinette could not have been clearer in expressing her feelings for Fersen: ‘I can tell you that I love you’ she said to him”. This quote comes from her letter to Axel dated 28 June 1791.  She continues this specific letter with: “Tell me to whom I should send my letters to you, for I cannot live without that.  Farewell most loved and most loving of men.  I embrace you with all my heart” (Lever page 264).  He wrote back “I am fine and live only to serve you”.
Have you read this correspondence, pers ? I did, completely. It is not true that these crossed-out passages could not correspond to anything except tender words. They sometimes are at the end of the letter, indeed, but they can also be in the middle of the text. And, actually, these crossed-out words could concern anything, politics as well as health. Nesta Webster's analyse is still the more relevant on this specific matter.

The message you quote, pers, supposed to be sent to "the most loved and loving of men" actually is not in Marie Antoinette's handwriting. This letter was discovered among others with Fersen's papers. It was cyphered, not in Marie Antoinette's handwriting. So, who chyphered it ? That's precisely what we don't know. Nesta Webster, Philippe Delorme, Paul and Pierrette Girault de Coursac or Jean Chalon already examined this so peculiar message. It is difficult to come to a conclusion for sure on who wrote this, but one thing is certain : you cannot affirm it was Marie Antoinette.


Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Imperial.Opal on October 30, 2007, 01:05:13 PM
 Hi Coquelicot welcome back to the Forum. you have been away too long  ;)
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on October 30, 2007, 01:28:38 PM
Thank you so much, Imperial Opal ! (http://illiweb.com/fa/i/smiles/icon_flower.png) I am very happy to be back !
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: imperial angel on November 25, 2008, 09:07:27 PM
I think Fersen and MA loved each other- whether they actually had an affair or not, hard to say. At the time, no one was sure.Fersen was quite a lady's man, so maybe. I don't think he thought of MA as his great love- he seemed to be a lady's man in general. MA may have thought of him that as her great love- her marriage was unfulfilling in many respects, I find it easy to believe she could have. As for the crossing out, it is suspicious. Didn't Fersen refer to MA as Josephine in his diary? At least, I thought so, Zwieg says so. I do think they romantically loved each other, whether lovers, who is to say? As for father of her children, doubtful, as the poster is right who says that Fersen had other women who never got pregnant.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Red Rose on March 29, 2009, 09:17:25 AM
I recently read a book entitled "Sex with the Queen" about queens throughout history and their various relationships both within and outside their marriages. The relationship between Marie Antoinette and Fersen is explored, and there was one interesting point the author, Eleanor Herman, brought up. She said that one day as Louis XVI was out hunting, a package of letters was brought to him. He sat down to read them, and when he was finished, he wept. It was speculated that these were intercepted love letters between Antoinette and Count Fersen. What do you think of this?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: imperial angel on March 29, 2009, 10:00:19 AM
I've read that book too but no longer have a copy of it. I think the implication that Eleanor Herman was trying to make was that these were indeed love letters, but what's her source on this? Have you ( or anyone else) read this elsewhere? I believe we do have some letters that were written between Fersen and MA and that they were not love letters though parts of the letters were destroyed so there was the suspicion by some that these destroyed passages might have content that was more private. It's been so long since I read about this in detail.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on April 18, 2009, 02:33:14 PM
I recently read a book entitled "Sex with the Queen" about queens throughout history and their various relationships both within and outside their marriages. The relationship between Marie Antoinette and Fersen is explored, and there was one interesting point the author, Eleanor Herman, brought up. She said that one day as Louis XVI was out hunting, a package of letters was brought to him. He sat down to read them, and when he was finished, he wept. It was speculated that these were intercepted love letters between Antoinette and Count Fersen. What do you think of this?
This explanation actually comes from Saint Priest. However, this man's wife had a liaison with Fersen, and we thus can suspect his testimony.

In fact, Louis XVI was given letters while hunting and, after reading them, he broke up in tears. Nowadays scholars often consider that these letters concerned political matters.

Anyway, these could not be intercepted letters between the queen and Fersen, for entries in Fersen's correspondence resume only concern official letters, which could not hurt Louis. Maybe more friendly letters existed also, but we must examine this with a pintch of salt, for it was a theory invented by Alma Söderjhelm, who often affirms things coming from her imagination. Anyway, this friendly correspondence would be signed up "Josephine" by the queen, and only countains, according to Fersen's resume, fashion or musical topics. Nothing that could hurt Louis either... But, first of all, who was this Josephine ? Who where those Josephine, for it seems Fersen knew more than one Josephine...

See how complicated it is !?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: coquelicot on April 18, 2009, 02:37:04 PM
I've read that book too but no longer have a copy of it. I think the implication that Eleanor Herman was trying to make was that these were indeed love letters, but what's her source on this? Have you ( or anyone else) read this elsewhere? I believe we do have some letters that were written between Fersen and MA and that they were not love letters though parts of the letters were destroyed so there was the suspicion by some that these destroyed passages might have content that was more private. It's been so long since I read about this in detail.
There actually are many letters between Fersen and the queen. They are all political ones. It is true that some passages have been deleted, but some lines only, and not specifically at the begining or the end of the letters. We don't know who did it. According to Fersen's descendants, it was done by the count himself. From this we can reasonably think that those passages were political, and mainly concerned king Louis XVI. Nesta Webster's analyse on this subject still is the more relevant one, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Imperial_Grounds on April 18, 2009, 02:53:23 PM
I have, to be honest, never done really some research on Marie Antoinette and Count Fersen but I do not think they had an affair, they might have flirted and loved each other, but I don't think there really was an affair. It is indeed romantic to believe there was, but I doubt it. I am new to the field on them, so will do my research in  this thread before really asking something - Soon I'll be - finally - able to read Fraser's biography on MA and perhaps something in there tells about the nature of the relationship, though we can't be sure of anything. They must have been close friends indeed, and perhaps shared a deep love, but nothing really is said on them having an affair - besides gossip, so I think it must have been platonic, if it was 'true love' at all, but a strong friendship is perhaps more likely.

I always thought the letters would reveal more, if the passages weren't cut from the letter, but as most of the letters consider politics I doubt these few passages would be about an affair between the two.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: imperial angel on April 18, 2009, 04:37:39 PM
I've read that book too but no longer have a copy of it. I think the implication that Eleanor Herman was trying to make was that these were indeed love letters, but what's her source on this? Have you ( or anyone else) read this elsewhere? I believe we do have some letters that were written between Fersen and MA and that they were not love letters though parts of the letters were destroyed so there was the suspicion by some that these destroyed passages might have content that was more private. It's been so long since I read about this in detail.
There actually are many letters between Fersen and the queen. They are all political ones. It is true that some passages have been deleted, but some lines only, and not specifically at the begining or the end of the letters. We don't know who did it. According to Fersen's descendants, it was done by the count himself. From this we can reasonably think that those passages were political, and mainly concerned king Louis XVI. Nesta Webster's analyse on this subject still is the more relevant one, in my opinion.

Thanks. Yes, I doubt they were lovers. The first analysis of the Fersen/ MA letters that I read was the Zwieg one, and that one always sticks with me, that's where I was remembering the stuff about the deleted passages of the letters.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: tom_romanov on April 20, 2009, 12:45:59 PM
I also doubt that they were lovers but then after Fersen's 6 week visit in August 1784 she suddenly announced she was pregnant?! Also if this is true and she did have an affair, I could understand why - dashing count or dull king?
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: LillyO on April 21, 2009, 08:07:27 AM
Although we will never actually know the "truth" about Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen - I think that they did love each other, but whether they actually did the deed or not, we can only surmise. It seems as though MA probably had feelings she had never felt before concerning Fersen - possibly being the first time she had fallen in love. I am hard pressed to believe that she "fell in love " with Louis XVI, even if she grew to love him.  As we all know, love is a powerful emotion which can sometimes make people behave in ways they may possibly later question.  I wonder IF they would have risked an affair.............then again, when people are in love, don't they usually find a way to be together?  I would not be surprised if they somehow, at some time may have found a way to steal some moments for themselves.  But we will never know for sure.
Dashing Count or Dull King? Hmmm.............................................................Ladies, think about it.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 26, 2009, 08:49:38 PM
I think they both fell in love with each other.  I've read that Fersen wrote of MA to his sister Sophie as 'perfect' and an 'angel'.  Now while I like MA very much, I certainly do not she was either of those things.  :)

Stephan Zweig argued that MA seemed to have rejected physical contact with Louis XVI after starting an affair with Fersen. It was said that this was after the birth of Sophie-Beatrix and MA supposedly said she thought she had enough children, (considering how much she loved children and was on child-bearing age at that point).  Which to me is rather surprising.... although I do not think Zweig's view/assertations are totally incontestable.   
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Carol Jean on April 29, 2009, 06:34:31 PM
Hi I don't think that Marie Antoinette and Ferson were actual lovers and I do not think that the son that she had in 1785 was from Ferson. Of course
I have my own reasons to believe that he was the son of King Louis XVI, but I also know that a wife of a King could be killed if her husband found out that she had an affair. He was the power, whether he was a great King or not. Just like a president has the power wheather he is right or wrong in what he does. I think that Marie Antoinette was smart enough to know that she could be killed and not see her children grow up which was one of the heartache's that she had when she was going to the guillotine. She loved her children and had to watch two of them die. Maybe her comment of not wanting any more children was because she had such a hard time when she had her babies. And I don't believe she was a saint either but I do believe she was human in her feelings and thoughts.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: CountessKate on April 30, 2009, 07:52:56 AM
Quote
I also know that a wife of a King could be killed if her husband found out that she had an affair. He was the power, whether he was a great King or not. Just like a president has the power wheather he is right or wrong in what he does.

While it may be true that 18th century sovereigns had the power to execute their spouses for adultery, I am not aware of a single instance in which that happened, and it was not by any means infrequent.  Sovereigns' spouses known or suspected to have lovers included Caroline Mathilda of Denmark, Catherine of Russia, Maria Luisa of Spain, and Marie Antoinette's sister Maria Amalia of Parma.  Disgrace and imprisonment were more the norm, although Maria Luisa of Spain had a pretty obvious relationship with Manuel Godoy and nothing happened to her as a result, and Catherine of Russia turned the tables on her husband, imprisoned him and assumed the throne.  There might be many reasons why Marie Antoinette might have loved Fersen but not had a sexual relationship with him - sheer pressure of continually being observed by servants and courtiers, and lack of privacy, might be some of them - but I don't believe that a rather theoretic fear of execution was a genuine factor.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Carol Jean on April 30, 2009, 10:05:27 AM
I am sure that you are right.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: imperial angel on April 30, 2009, 11:52:19 PM
One example of an imprisoned spouse in the early mid 17th- early 18th century was Sophia- Dorothea of Zelle, wife of George I of England when he was still Elector of Hanover. He imprisoned her for life for adultery and divorced her, and had her lover murdered. But even she though died imprisoned as an old lady she wasn't killed, just her lover. Killing your wife for comitting adultery seems to have died with Henry VIII having Catharine Howard executed. Louis XVI was also not the type to do this- it took a certain personality type. MA does seem to have been the only French Queen consort of the last few centuries of French monarchy who you can say might have had a lover, as far as I'm aware.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: CountessKate on May 01, 2009, 10:55:20 AM
Marguerite de Valois, Henri IV's first queen had numerous lovers, and Anne of Austria was suspected of having Cardinal Mazarin as her lover, though not within the lifetime of Louis XIII; and she had some sort of relationship with the Duke of Buckingham, although I'm not sure how much that was the invention of Dumas.  Due to the long reigns of Louis XIII, Louis XIV and Louis XV there weren't many Queens of France in the 17th and 18th centuries - there were only two queens between Anne (who was Marie Antoinette's great-great-great grandmother twice over) and Marie Antoinette.   But Marie Therese and Maria Leszczyńska probably set the mould for virtuous queens of France - though it's rather hard to know what Louis XVI would have actually done if Marie Antoinette had been revealed to have had a lover (and digressing here, why on earth would you automatically assume a letter which made its recipient burst into tears mean that his wife was unfaithful - couldn't it mean any number of things like his dog or horse or old nanny had died - the assumption just seems bizarre and there's no other indication that Louis XVI thought anything of the sort).  Somehow you think of him as the sort of man who would refuse to believe it and remonstrate long and earnestly to his wife in private about how improper it all appeared and please don't show such public favour to Fersen in future.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: Carol Jean on May 01, 2009, 07:10:26 PM
Can you explain a great-great-great grandmother twice removed? Is that her great great great grandmother? Why do you say twice removed? Just curious.
Title: Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
Post by: CountessKate on May 02, 2009, 06:39:03 AM
I didn't actually write removed, I wrote over, but in any case I was incorrect - I had really meant to write that both Marie Antoinette and her husband were descended from Anne of Austria, not that Marie Antoinette was descended doubly from Anne of Austria.  Writing too quickly!