25 Apr, 2014 @ 10:22
1 min read

Spanish scientists deny Louis XVI blood sample


A BLOOD sample long thought to belong to Louis XVI is probably not the real deal, according to Spanish scientists.

The team from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona carried out extensive DNA testing on the handkerchief, said to be dipped in the French king’s blood.

Supposedly a souvenir of the king’s execution in 1793 – guillotined during the French revolution – the team says it is more likely to be the work of an 18th century fraudster.

Professor Carles Lalueza-Fox, from the Barcelona-based institute, said: “In the French revolution, the guillotine was working every day – and probably it was much more easy to approach the scaffold when non-important people were being beheaded.

“Maybe that was one of the occasions. They thought nobody was going to be able to recognise whether the blood was from the king or not.”

Stowed in an elaborately decorated gourd, the sample has belonged to an Italian family for the last century.

It all comes down to eye colour, according to the team, as portraits of Louis always show him to have blue eyes, whereas the sample has a 97% chance of being from someone with brown eyes.

Imogen Calderwood

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