Author Topic: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen  (Read 55873 times)

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Offline imperial angel

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #120 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.

Offline Red Rose

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #121 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?

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #122 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.

Offline coquelicot

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #123 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 !?
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Offline coquelicot

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #124 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.
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Offline Imperial_Grounds

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #125 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.
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Offline imperial angel

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #126 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.

Offline tom_romanov

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #127 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?

Offline LillyO

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #128 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.
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Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #129 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.   
« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 08:51:49 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Carol Jean

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #130 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.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #131 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.

Offline Carol Jean

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #132 on: April 30, 2009, 10:05:27 AM »
I am sure that you are right.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #133 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.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen
« Reply #134 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.