Marie Antoinette’s letters to her dear Swedish count, now uncensored

Marie Antoinette’s letters to her dear Swedish count, now uncensored

The year was 1791, and while Marie Antoinette may not have had the favor of the people of France, she did have a pen pal. Her confidant, Axel von Fersen, was a Swedish count, and one of the French queen’s close friends. Between the summers of 1791 and 1792, though the queen was kept under close surveillance after a botched escape attempt, she still managed to sneak letters to von Fersen. He copied the letters, which are now held in the French national archives. But between the time the letters were written and the time they arrived at the archives, some mysterious actor censored the letters, scrawling out words and lines with tightly looped circles of ink. The content of the censored lines — and the identity of the fastidious scribbler — eluded historians for nearly 150 years. In a paper
The year was 1791, and while Marie Antoinette may not have had the favor of the people of France, she did have a pen pal. Her confidant, Axel von Fersen, was a Swedish count, and one of the French queen’s close friends. Between the summers of 1791 and 1792, though the queen was kept under close surveillance after a botched escape attempt, she still managed to sneak letters to von Fersen. He copied the letters, which are now held in the French national archives. But between the time the letters were written and the time they arrived at the archives, some mysterious actor censored the letters, scrawling out words and lines with tightly looped circles of ink. The content of the censored lines — and the identity of the fastidious scribbler — eluded historians for nearly 150 years. In a paper