The love story of Axel von Fersen and Marie-Antoinette



Axel von Fersen was a Swedish nobleman born 1755 in Stockholm. When he was 18 years old he travelled to Versailles in France during an educational travel, and met the Crown Princess of France, Marie-Antoinette, at a prom. She was also eighteen years old. Nothing happened that time, but four years later he returned to Versailles, and they started out on an affair. As she at that time had become the Queen of France, it was risky to have an affair, and many thought it was inappropriate. Therefore, Fersen joined the French army to protect Maire-Antoinette. He was sent to the American Revolutionary War at an age of 23 years, and despite his young age he got a high ranking. After four years of battling for the Northern States, he returned to France and continued his affair with the queen. A couple of years later Gustav III, king of Sweden came at an official trip to Versailles. Fersen was invited to the prom held at the end of his visit, and nine months later Marie-Antoinette gave birth to her first son, Louis Charles. Many historians today believe it was Fersen’s son, but nothing can be proved.

The French Revolution stood and waited around the corner. During some years Fersen travelled a lot between Sweden and France. When he was in France he was one of those who stood closest to the Royal Family, and he helped out planning their escape. When the Royal Family went by horse and carriage out from Paris, Fersen was the one who drove them. Unfortunately, he was exchanged at a break, and the family on the run was caught near the German boarder. In 1793 Marie-Antoinette was executed, along with the rest of her family, and Fersen grieved throughout the rest of his life. He moved back to Sweden a couple of years later, and died at Karl August’s funeral in 1810. A drunken and upset claimed that Fersen was the cause of the loss of the Crown Prince, and threw himself at him. In front of the Swedish Army he was beaten over and over again, and sailor finished the job by jumping with both his feet on the chest, breaking the ribcage.


Axel von Fersen’s love for Marie-Antoinette nearly cost him his life many times, but he kept coming back to her. If a queen of a country today would have an affair, the whole world would go wild, but at that time it was not much of a big deal, many who knew about it did not care. He risked his life by trying to help her out of situations, never because a fed up Frenchman tried to kill him. And what about the moral question? I cannot imagine how it would be to risk a whole nation’s balance just by having a relationship with the queen, even though it was not a big deal as said before.

During this time the Revolution broke out in France, and that was partly because Marie-Antoinette sat at the throne. She was not beloved by the people, because almost all she did was partying and buying expensive things to herself. That is not how a queen should act, and upon that she had affairs. I would not like to live in France at the end of the 18th century, and have such an instable situation and irresponsible queen.


What do you think about the affair from a moral perspective? Did her way of living have an impact on the Revolution?


/Sebastian Carlshamre

Postat av: Victoria

Oh I love this article, very nice written! This story, which is almost like a fairytale, too bad they've not made it a disney...

However, talking about the moral question in this situation. Of course it is not entirely right to risk a whole nation's security by having a love affair with the queen, but on the other hand, is it better, from a moral perspective, to force young people into marriage?

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