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100 imposters claimed to be marie antoinette s dead son

By Morgan Wallace
Published in History
February 02, 2024
2 min read
100 imposters claimed to be marie antoinette s dead son

100 Imposters Claimed to be Marie Antoinette’s Dead Son

Marie Antoinette

In one of history’s most intriguing mysteries, the death of the Dauphin, Louis XVII, son of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, gave rise to a string of imposters claiming to be the lost prince. Over a hundred individuals came forward, declaring themselves to be the long-lost heir to the French throne. This captivating fact offers a glimpse into the chaotic aftermath of the French Revolution and the enduring fascination with Marie Antoinette’s ill-fated family.

The story begins against the backdrop of the French Revolution, a period of significant political and social upheaval that spanned from 1789 to 1799. Amidst the chaos, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette faced the wrath of the revolutionaries, ultimately leading to their arrest and execution. Their young son, Louis Charles, known as the Dauphin, was only eight years old at the time.

The young prince faced a harrowing ordeal during his brief life. Imprisoned with his parents, he witnessed their ultimate fate and was separated from his mother after her execution. The Dauphin was left in the care of revolutionaries who subjected him to a harsh and isolated existence in the Temple prison in Paris. His fragile health deteriorated rapidly, and in 1795, at the tender age of ten, he succumbed to a combination of tuberculosis, neglect, and mistreatment.

Temple Prison

The death of the young Dauphin left a void and opened the door for imposters seeking to capitalize on the royal family’s tragic story. These individuals, often with ulterior motives or financial gain in mind, emerged across France and beyond, claiming to be the miraculously survived prince. Their stories varied, but they all shared the common claim of being Louis XVII, the rightful heir to the French throne.

Some of the imposters gained significant attention and support, attracting believers who desperately clung to the hope that the young prince had somehow managed to escape his captors. Among the most notable imposters was Karl Wilhelm Naundorff, a German clockmaker who gained support not only from the public but also from some members of Marie Antoinette’s own family.

Naundorff’s claim received considerable backing and even reached courts in Europe, but it ultimately failed under scrutiny. The true fate of the Dauphin was confirmed through scientific evidence decades later, when DNA analysis of his remains, discovered in 2000, conclusively matched those of his parents.

The multitude of imposters claiming to be Louis XVII serves as a testament to the enduring fascination with the tragic fate of the royal family during the French Revolution. It highlights the power of human imagination, the longing for lost royalty, and the relentless pursuit of truth in historical mysteries.

The tale of 100 imposters claiming to be Marie Antoinette’s dead son is a compelling reminder of the complexities of history and the enduring allure of one of the most famous families in French history.

Source: History.com - The 100 Imposters Who Pretended to Be Marie Antoinette’s Son




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Morgan Wallace

Morgan Wallace

Political journalist

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