Letters between France’s ill-fated queen Marie Antoinette and her lover Count de Fersen were recently deciphered using new techniques, according to the French National Archives. Prior to this, the letters were illegible due to the censor marks on it.
The letters, according to AFP, were written a couple of years after the 1791 French Revolution.
During their correspondence, the Queen was living with her husband, King Louis the XVI in the Parisian Tuileries Palace. Both were under surveillance.
Prior to the discovery, much of the letters’ contents were already known, except for the redacted lines, which made the letters illegible. It was said that to reveal them, the X-Ray fluorescent system (XRS) was used. This technique analyzes the composition of the inks used.
There have been similarities between the ink used by the Count and the ink used in redaction, suggesting that the Count himself may have censored them.
“For the first time we can read Fersen’s writing using unambiguous sentences on his feelings for the queen, which had been carefully hidden,” said the REX project’s leaders in a statement.
“Marie-Antoinette and Fersen express themselves using the terminology of love, even if the majority of the content of the letters is political,” it added. “The principal conclusion of the REX project is less about sensational revelations on the relationship between Marie-Antoinette and Fersen, and more about the expression of feelings of hope, worry, confidence and terror, in a particular context of forced separation and imprisonment,”
Out of the 15 redacted letters, only 8 have been deciphered. For the other remaining letters, the ink used was the same, and cracking them seem impossible.