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 Marie Antoinette and Axel von Fersen 

Marie Antoinette and Axel von Fersen were lovers
Yes. 46%  46%  [ 36 ]
No. 38%  38%  [ 30 ]
I really don't know! 15%  15%  [ 12 ]
Total votes : 78

 Marie Antoinette and Axel von Fersen 
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Hans Axel wrote:
So why did Creutz give this information to the king do you think Therese?

And: "...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..." How come he writes this to the king if it was only gossip?

I know there were rumours in these days (in any time really), but "the Fersen-legend" cannot really be compared with the horrible gossip about Antoinette and Polignac?


I have no doubt that the ambassador was reporting what he thought he observed, as was his duty to his king. What is wrong with the queen being fond of Fersen? It does not mean that he was her lover. In fact the quote proves that he was not, since he left the country soon after, which Creutz seems to think was due to Fersen's caution and discretion. And so many people said similar things about the queen and other people. Also, for the queen to have a fondness for Fersen meant that the Swedish ambassador's influence, hence the Swedish King's influence, at the French court, was enhanced. M. de Creutz knew this was what his king wanted to hear, that a Swede was high in the royal favor.

As for what people said about the queen and Madame de Polignac, there is certainly more proof that she had more emotion for her dear friend Gabrielle than she did for Fersen. Here is her poem "Portrait Charmant" obviously written for another woman:

Portait charmant, portait de mon amie
Gage d'amour par l'amour obtenu
Ah viens m'offrir le bien que j'ai perdu
Te voir encore me rappelle à la vie.

Oui les voilà ses traits, ses traits que j'aime
Son doux regard, son maintien, sa candeur
Lorsque ma main te presse sur mon coeur
Je crois encore la presser elle-même

Non tu n'as pas pour moi les mêmes charmes
Muet témoin de nos tendres soupirs
En retraçant nos fugitifs plaisirs
Cruel portrait, tu fais couler mes larmes

Pardonne-moi mon injuste langage
Pardonne aux cris de ma vive douleur
Portait charmant, tu n'es pas le bonheur
Mais bien souvent tu m'en offres l'image

This does not mean that the queen was a lesbian or anything. But if you are scouring and sifting the letters for evidence that she had strong feelings for Fersen, there is MUCH MORE evidence that she had strong feelings for Gabrielle. But none of this means that she ever slept with anyone but Louis XVI.

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Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:56 am
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Of course this is no evidence of Fersen and Antoinette sleeping with each other, I have never said anything like that and I don't believe he slept with her - there is no real evidence for it I think.

And about Polignac, I know there is evidence for Antoinette's affection for her and why wouldn't there be, they were friends. Why wouldn't Antoinette speak well of her friend?

I don't think you can compare this with "the Fersen-legend" though, because if Antoinette showed affection for Fersen it is not the same thing as showing affection for a female friend. Showing affection for a female friend is usually not dangerous, but showing affection for a male friend might be. So if there is lack of evidence of showing affection for a male friend and evidence of showing affection for a female friend that is no evidence that there is no romantical relation with the male friend. Woh, it got a bit complicated here, but I hope you'll understand. :)

Though I don't think Antoinette loved neither Fersen nor Polignac in the way she loved her husband. But "the Fersen-legend" is more interesting - in my opinion - than "the Polignac-legend"... Especially because of what Fersen wrote in his diary and in letters to his sister about Antoinette. Though I don't think this is any evidence for a liaison either, it just make the whole thing a lot more interesting.

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Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:47 am
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Axel von Fersen was among king Gustav great favorites. And king Gustav was hoping to make links between Sweden and France closer. So, every detail that could show how Swedish people were appreciated in the French court were good to report.

That's what Creutz did : he flattered Gustav's national pride by telling the impression a Swede made on queen Marie Antoinette. No matter if he exagerated the whole story and it was but gossip. National pride would be flattered through the person of Fersen.

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Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:02 am
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It is quite complicated, Hans Axel. And both stories, with Fersen and with Polignac, have a strong common point, unfortunately. They were both used for political purposes. Fersen was one of Marie Antoinette's allegued male lovers, by which Provence and co tried to put suspicion on the heirs she produced. Madame de Polignac was one of Marie Antoinette's allegued female lovers, by which her revolutionary enemies tried to show how powerful the Austrian whore has got to afford favorites and how dissolute this old regime has become.

So, both stories can be compared, actually, and I think Therese's point is extremely valuable. There are no more evidences that Marie Antoinette slept with Fersen than with Madame de Polignac. And Therese is right : in fact, there would be more proves of a liaison with Madame de Polignac than with Fersen ! But, since nowadays people consider normal that Marie Antoinette and Fersen would be lovers, if not inevitable, they jump on anything to show it as an evidence.

Did Mercy mention Fersen ? Never. And other ambassadors ? My memory may be bad, but I don't remember having read a single testimony. Only Creutz did, to his king. And it is easy to understand why he did so, as I told before. Then, we have Saint Priest... but his wife was Fersen's devoted mistress, and the man publicly ridiculed. Then Madame de Boigne is also often quoted... But she was not even born when those little events happened !

Since you live in Sweden, Hans Axel, it would be extremely interesting to take a look at Fersen's own writings. Alma Söderjhelm only did... or maybe Françoise Kermina did to, but following Söderjhelm. Though, Nesta Webster and Stanley Loomis showed how wrong Söderjhelm's interpretations were, sometimes... Many letters we now considered related to Marie Antoinette, since Alma Söderjhelm decided they were, actually concerned another woman.

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Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:27 am
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Hans Axel wrote:
Of course this is no evidence of Fersen and Antoinette sleeping with each other, I have never said anything like that and I don't believe he slept with her - there is no real evidence for it I think.

And about Polignac, I know there is evidence for Antoinette's affection for her and why wouldn't there be, they were friends. Why wouldn't Antoinette speak well of her friend?

I don't think you can compare this with "the Fersen-legend" though, because if Antoinette showed affection for Fersen it is not the same thing as showing affection for a female friend. Showing affection for a female friend is usually not dangerous, but showing affection for a male friend might be. So if there is lack of evidence of showing affection for a male friend and evidence of showing affection for a female friend that is no evidence that there is no romantical relation with the male friend. Woh, it got a bit complicated here, but I hope you'll understand. :)

Though I don't think Antoinette loved neither Fersen nor Polignac in the way she loved her husband. But "the Fersen-legend" is more interesting - in my opinion - than "the Polignac-legend"... Especially because of what Fersen wrote in his diary and in letters to his sister about Antoinette. Though I don't think this is any evidence for a liaison either, it just make the whole thing a lot more interesting.

- Please excuse my English this time too :? -


Dear Hans Axel, I am trying to make you understand that ANY affection that the queen had for ANYONE was twisted by her enemies. Even the love she had for her children was grotesquely distorted by the revolutionary tribunal. And this is where the rumors about Fersen break down into nothing. For if the revolutionary tribunal had thought that there was anything at all to the rumors about the queen and Fersen, then they would have used them against her at her trial. Instead, Fersen was only mentioned in regard to the escape to Varennes, and the tribunal focused on the trumped up accusuations about the queen molesting her son, which shows how desperate they were for ANYTHING against her.

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Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:20 pm
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Pimprenelle wrote:
Since you live in Sweden, Hans Axel, it would be extremely interesting to take a look at Fersen's own writings. Alma Söderjhelm only did... or maybe Françoise Kermina did to, but following Söderjhelm. Though, Nesta Webster and Stanley Loomis showed how wrong Söderjhelm's interpretations were, sometimes... Many letters we now considered related to Marie Antoinette, since Alma Söderjhelm decided they were, actually concerned another woman.


Her name was actually Alma Söderhjelm, but I get your point. I have read her books with Fersen's diaries and it is quite sad that she didn't print it in it's entirely and I don't like the pages with her own words and her conclusions. Though Fersen's words are very interesting of course.

It would not be the easiest thing though to read the real diaries, I don't think the owners would like people messing with it. My French is not that great either so I could not be the one reading them. :lol: The Swedish writer Herman Lindqvist has said he read Fersens papers in both Swedish (Söderhjelm) and French before he wrote his book about Fersen, but I don't know if it was the "real" papers. Though he is very influenced by Söderhjelm and I don't recommend his book.

Another sad thing is that here in Sweden everybody believes for certain that Fersen and Antoinette were lovers. When you go visit Löfstad (one of the Fersen family's castles) even the guides think that. It's not fun anyway and it's not easier to get the real story just because you live in Sweden.


Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:13 pm
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Oh, I missed your post, Hans Axel ! :oops: I am happy to read that you don't appreciate Alma's Söderhjelm (thanks for correcting her name)'s conclusions either. Unfortunately, this lady still is THE authority about Fersen.

I saw on the net that Herman Lindqvist wrote two books about Fersen, but both of them are in Swedish and never translated. Too bad... The biography by Françoise Kermina is very interesting, but it is in French only, and she relies too much on Söderhjelm too. There are also Charles Kunstler and Emile Baumann, but those men consider Fersen a hero, and I don't share their views.

However, Kunstler quotes large parts of Fersen's diary, and that is quite interesting ! I hope this diary, as well as other writings (his brevdiarium) will be published someday. You are right it is quite indiscrete, but... the public is already indiscrete, aren't we ? It would be better to at least rely on actual sources.

It is a feeling, being indiscrete, that I always have while reading Antoinette's correspondence. Those letters never were written to be publicly read and examined, indeed. At least we can try to do it with sympathy... :roll:

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Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:03 pm
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It's kind of sad going through people's private things, but then with Fersen people have already read them so the harm is already done and it would be so much better if all his papers (diaries, letters, etc) would be published without any comments, but just as they are... I have actually read (since last time I wrote) that it might be possible to read the diaries, because they are in a "museum" (or archives) in Stockholm (capital of Sweden, for you who don't know :)). Some letters are in the Fersen castle Löfstad though. Maybe if you visit Sweden some time, Pimprenelle, we could go through them together... :D You being Belgian (I guess your mother tongue is French??) and I'm being Swedish. Wouldn't that be great, we could let the world know the real story!


Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:41 pm
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Oh oui ce serait merveilleux ! :D

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Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:02 am
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Pimprenelle wrote:
Oh oui ce serait merveilleux ! :D


:wink:

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Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:09 pm
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I don't think Antoinette and Fersen were lovers. I've never found any hard evidence to suggest they were although I am only getting into this period of history. Once more I never saw Antoinette was someone who had too many sexual passions. She was a devoted mother, and I believe, a devoted wife. If she were not so devoted, why did she stay with Louis until his end? She wouldn't be so careless as to do something that would hurt him, herself, and most importantly their children, who they both loved.

Fersen isn't exactly the nicest person to have an affair with with his reputation. I don't see the queen of France becoming 'one of those women'. Then again, some would disagree because it's hard to get into the mind of Antoinette.

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Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:21 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel von Fersen
Artist and historian George Stuart sculpted the two "lovers" at Trianon - (takes a little time to load).
In his monologs Stuart is equivocal.

http://www.galleryhistoricalfigures.com ... nt_Trianon

http://www.galleryhistoricalfigures.com ... =AxVFersen

Enjoy!

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Sat Jan 12, 2008 3:56 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel von Fersen
I know that some members think that Marie-Antoinette and Axel von Fersen were merely close friends. I believe they were more than just friends. I´m not saying they had sex although I wouldn´t be surprised if they had but the fact is that we just don´t know. In a Swedish book, which I hope will be translated, "Gustav III:s spioner" (The spies of Gustav III) by Thorsten Sandberg, the author quotes a letter from MA to von Fersen: "I have had an opportunity to tell you that I love you and I don´t have time for anything else." "Write to me with cipher /.../" "/.../ I can´t live any more if I can´t do that. [write to von Fersen]" "Farewell the most beloved and the most loving among men. I kiss you hearty." This is my translations from Swedish to English.
I don´t mean to say that these quotes are the smoking gun but seriously... Would Ma write something like this to all her male friends? I don´t think so. Come on! Did she wrote this because she knew that her life was soon to be over and she didn´t care anymore? I´m also sure that MA´s interest in von Fersen was due to the fact that he was one of the favourites of Gustav III and did you all know that Gustav III was both related to Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI? Louis XVI and Gustav III were related by their maternal grandmother´s maternal grandfathers Georg Wilhelm of Braunschweig (Gustav III) and Johann Friedrich of Braunschweig (Louis XVI). Marie-Antoinette and Gustav III were related by Gustav III:s maternal grandmother´s grandmother, Countess Sofia who was a sister to Elector Karl I Ludwig of Pfalz who was the grandmother´s maternal grandfather to Marie-Antoinette. Sofia and Karl I Ludwig were children to the Elector Friedrich V of Pfalz who was married to Elisabeth of England and Scottland. Sorry I got carried away. I hope the book "Gustav III:s spioner" will be translated so that the rest of the world will know the truth that among the royalties and nobles in Europe it was only Gustav III and Axel von Fersen that really cared and tried to do something to save the royal family. Please one more "boring" fact: One of the two Swedish spies of Gustav III was Otto Carl von Fieandt born 1758 just 3 years after MA and he died 1825. One of his children died as late as 1903! It makes you feel the wing-stroke of history as we say in Swedish considering that all members of MAO are probably born in the 20th century.
/Thorleif Nilsson


Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:50 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel von Fersen
The lines which you quote are well known and as has been discussed elsewhere on this forum it has never been proven that the queen wrote those lines. They were in cipher jotted down by Fersen and could have been written by any of the ladies with whom Fersen dallied over the years.

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Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:28 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and Axel von Fersen
Therese wrote:
The lines which you quote are well known and as has been discussed elsewhere on this forum it has never been proven that the queen wrote those lines. They were in cipher jotted down by Fersen and could have been written by any of the ladies with whom Fersen dallied over the years.

That wouldn´t be to hard to prove. If the holder of that letter would admit it and someone could raise the money needed, then we could send the letter to FBI who holds the experts on graphology, DNA investigations and and the final proof needed the skills to do a thorough mathematical exame using advanced math to determined who wrote the letter. I guess this will never happen :( . We can only sit here and speculate as we often do on MAO. It´s so frustrating knowing that it could be otherwise :angry5:
/Thorleif Nilsson


Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:35 am
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