Marie-Antoinette and Count Fersen, the Secret Correspondence
He was the love of her life. Louis XVI was her husband, but the Swedish count Axel von Fersen was Queen Marie-Antoinette’s lover, the loyal counsellor who gave her political advice from 1785 right up to the fall of the monarchy, and the devoted friend who organised the royal family’s escape from Paris in 1791. Was he also the biological father of the queen’s two younger children? According to contemporary documents, several of their close friends thought so.
To date there have only been incomplete editions of their correspondence. For the first time, Evelyn Farr not only brings together all the surviving letters exchanged by Marie-Antoinette and Fersen, including six which have not been published before, but presents highly revealing deleted passages in certain letters. She explains the use of code and invisible ink, essential for such a secret correspondence, and reveals the role of intermediaries, secret seals, double envelopes, code names and details of Fersen’s clandestine lodgings at Versailles…
This edition of the correspondence enables us at last to place a forbidden love in its historical context. It shows us a rebellious and independent queen, who risked everything and broke all the rules to love the man who had succeeded in conquering her heart.
A Londoner by birth, Evelyn Farr studied English, French and Italian at University College London. Her thesis on the 18th century novel resulted in her first book in 1993. This was followed by Before the Deluge, a portrait of pre-revolutionary Parisian high society, before she turned her attention to a subject which has always fascinated her, with Marie-Antoinette and Count Fersen: the untold love story (1995 & 2013).