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Role of the coach in failed flight to Varennes 1791

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  • axel
    Marged, I agree with you using such a large coach was a key error. Part of the problem was that the party was so large. With the dauphin s governess, the
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 10, 2013
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      Marged, I agree with you using such a large coach was a key error.

      Part of the problem was that the party was so large. With the dauphin's governess, the Marquise de Tourzel taking on the role of a Russian baroness, the queen and the king's sister Madame Élisabeth playing her maids, the king her butler, and the royal children her daughters, the royal family made their escape. So that was 4 adults and 2 children in one coach. The King's brother, the Count de Provence fled the same night in a much smaller faster coach with jus this wife - a party of two.

      The other issue was the size and luxury of the coach. Here in an effort to assure all the comforts to his dear friend and rumored lover Marie Antoinette, Fersen had arranged construction of a truly luxurious coach. Unfortunately, such a large coach needed many more horses with frequent changes and was subsceptable to breaking down which I believe also occurred en route.

      The King and Queen were fleeing for their lives and Fersen as well as the royal couple should have placed much more emphasis on speed and utility than assuring traveling comfort.

      Axel

      --- In Images_of_Marie_Antoinette@yahoogroups.com, "Marj Bennett" <marged36@...> wrote:
      >
      > The relationship between MA and Fersen is interesting indeed, but he was seemingly a playboy with many interests.
      >
      > His main error when planning the trip to Varennes was the type of vehicle he chose for the royal family to travel in - it was a fully equipped "Berlin" coach - a huge carriage - when a fast vehicle of some sort (perhaps a Berlin coach)would have been much safer in that it would not have attracted so much attention, and they would have arrived in half the time.
      >
      > There was also something about troops who were meant to have met them, having been diverted and waiting in the wrong place (but I would need to look that up before talking about it).
      >
      > Marged
      >
      >
      > Madame G,
      >
      > Thank you so much for calling my attention to this post. I hadn't thought about Axel von Fersen's birthday - this time of year brings to mind another tragic day in the life of Marie Antoinette - Sept. 3 - the date of the murder of her close friend, the Princesse de Lamballe in 1792.
      >
      > The story you have written of Axel von Fersen is well done. The relationship between Marie Antoinette and Axel von Fersen is so interesting beginning with their meeting at a masked ball in Paris when she was still Dauphine, both of them just 18 years old in 1774.
      >
      > One wonders of their fates 17 years later on the fateful day and night in June 1791 and the flight to Varennes. What if King Louis had not told Fersen to depart their party and thus dismissed the only experienced military man and the key planner of the journey from the party long before the real troubles began.
      >
      > Could the presence of Axel von Fersen at Varennes made a difference to enable the royal family to successfully escape France?
      >
      > Axel
      >
      > Replies
      >
      > Madame Gilflurt4 September 2013 14:53
      >
      > Welcome to the Guide, Axel, lovely to see you and thank you for your kind words!
      >
      > I don't know if his presence would have made a difference and will have to think about that one - what do you think?
      >
      >
      > --- In Images_of_Marie_Antoinette@yahoogroups.com, "axel" <Rand103242@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Hans Axel von Fersen (Stockholm, 4th September 1755 - 20th June 1810)
      > >
      > > Well, we're taking a slight detour across Europe today and, after yesterday's adventures in France and Italy, it's time to return to Scandinavia. We Gilflurts have always been keen on a gentleman with an eye for the ladies, especially one with a bit of scandal in his history, so Count Axel von Fersen is very welcome to join us on Gin Lane!
      > >
      > > Fersen was born to Countess Hedvig Catharina De la Gardie and Field Marshal Axel von Fersen the Elder. Raised in genteel luxury, the young man was schooled at home in preparation for a glittering career in the military. By the age of 18 he was at the French court and the striking and cultured Fersen made a deep impact on a certain Marie Antoinette, who found him utterly beguiling. With his military career in the ascendancy he accompanied Gustav III of Sweden through Europe, kept away from his circle at Versailles by the business of war.
      > >
      > > Fersen travelled with General Rochambeau to America, where he served as interpreter at meetings between the General and Washington. Here he proved himself to be a brave and decisive soldier, hailed for his distinguished service at the 1781 Siege of Yorktown.
      > >
      > > When Fersen returned to France he resumed his friendship with Marie Antoinette and, as gossips at the time murmured, there was the distinct possibility that the two were far more than friends. They pointed to the intimacy between the couple and whispered about the paternity of Louis-Charles, born in 1785. Whilst no evidence exists beyond conjecture to support the rumours that swirled around the queen and her favourite, there can be little doubt that the pair were quite devoted to one another. Indeed, Fersen was a favourite among the ladies wherever he travelled; intelligent, handsome and cultured, he seemed to live a charmed life.
      > >
      > > Fersen remained fiercely loyal to Marie Antoinette and her family, remaining at court as the clouds of revolution gathered. With the worsening situation he began assisting with plans to get the family to safety, playing an important role in the ill-fated flight to Varennes. It was Fersen who commissioned the carriage that would carry the Marie Antoinette, Louis and their children and he even travelled with them on part of their unsuccessful journey to the border. One can only imagine the horror with which he must have greeted news of their capture and from that moment, there would be no more hope of escape for the doomed family.
      > >
      > > With the situation in France growing ever more dire, Fersen was dispatched to Austria to entreat Emperor Leopold to join a coalition in support of the French monarchy. When Leopold proved himself disinterested in the idea, Fersen requested that he be released from the pointless mission and returned to France. At great danger to himself, he presented himself in Paris under an assumed identity and stole into the Tuileries, where he was able to spend an evening with the king and queen discussing counterrevolutionary plans. He made further secret visits but his audacity was to prove unrewarded, the royal family utterly trapped.
      > >
      > > All diplomatic efforts exhausted, Fersen could do nothing to intervene as his friends went to their deaths, leaving the Count utterly bereft at the loss of those so previous to him. Returning to Sweden he established a political career but found his efforts on the continental stage hampered by the notoriety of his closeness to the French court. Napoléon flatly refused to deal with him, sounding the death knell for any wider political ambitions he might have had. His efforts frustrated, Fersen took a position as envoy to the court of Baden, a long way from flitting about the grounds of the Tuileries in disguise. His star fell further when Gustav III died and was replaced by a regent, Charles Philip, Duke of Södermanland. As a great friend and supporter to the late king, Fersen was sidelined until the reign of Gustav IV Adolf, at which point he returned to the Swedish court in triumph.
      > >
      > > When revolution came to Sweden in 1809, Gustav IV Adolf was swept unceremoniously aside in favour of Denmark's Prince Carl August of Augustenburg. Fersen distanced himself from the turmoil and voiced his support for Gustav IV Adolf's son, Prince Gustav of Vasa, believing him the only legitimate heir to the throne. His beliefs were to come back to haunt him when Carl August died suddenly and once again the gossip began, this time that the vengeful Fersen had played a part in poisoning the Dane.
      > >
      > >
      > > Even as he found himself tainted with the rumours that he had conspired to commit murder, Fersen's official duties found him in the unenviable position of having to accompany Carl August's funeral cortege through Stockholm. An enormous crowd gathered to mourn the popular Crown Prince and as the cortege progressed, the spectators began to heckle and throw stones at Fersen's carriage. Fleeing the unrest he attempted to seek shelter in a private house but the mob attacked him, dragging him from his refuge.
      > >
      > > The Royal Life Guards made a token effort to escort Fersen to the court house but the mob had grown too hostile to be stopped. Fersen was beaten to death as the Life Guards stood by, their commanding officer instructing his men to hold their fire. Later some suggested that Fersen was sacrificed to the mob by the new King, desperate to distract the crowd's ire at the death of the Crown Prince. Whatever the reason for the inaction of the troops at the scene, by the time they finally intervened in the riot, Fersen was dead.
      > >
      > >
      > > Eventually, Fersen was cleared on any involvement in the death of the Crown Prince and he was buried with full honours as a Marshal of the Realm. Today his name remains forever linked with that of Marie Antoinette, the beloved friend he was unable to save.
      > >
      > > Posted by Madame Gilflurt at 06:43, September 4, 2013
      > >
      > > LINK: http://www.madamegilflurt.com/2013/09/axelvonfersen.html
      > >
      > > * * *
      > >
      > > The above article was written by my friend Madame Gilflurt from the UK and posted today at her website "A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life - Dispatches from the long 18th century..."
      > >
      > > We corresponded today and Madame G was kind enough to give me permission to repost her lovely article on Axel von Fersen here at Images of Marie Antoinette yahoo group. I commend Madame G's website and encourage all to pay a visit. You are welcome to comment on her article here or at her website.
      > >
      > > Yes, today is 258th anniversary of the birth of Axel von Fersen in 1755 - he was a little less than two months older than his beloved friend (and perhaps lover), Queen Marie Antoinette.
      > >
      > > Axel
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • axel
      I think Fersen could have made the difference. He might have injected more discipline to keep to the schedule. He might have taken action to reconnoiter with
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 11, 2013
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        I think Fersen could have made the difference.

        He might have injected more discipline to keep to the schedule. He might have taken action to reconnoiter with Boulee's troups. Fersen not only had the energy and military experience Louis lacked, but he also had much more knowledge of the country and of the escape plans which he had worked out for the royal couple.

        So it is quite amazing that Louis XVI could dismiss from his service a man with such knowledge and experience at what would become the critical time in their journey. It really leads one to question what was Louis thinking at that moment.

        I like to think that Axel von Fersen would have made a difference to allow Marie Antoinette to escape to freedom just as I like to think that he and the Queen shared a fulfilled love in the time they had together.

        Axel


        Replies

        Madame Gilflurt:

        You make a *very* good point about his discipline and experience; Louis does seem to have made poor decision after poor decision regarding the escape plans.



        --- In Images_of_Marie_Antoinette@yahoogroups.com, "axel" <Rand103242@...> wrote:
        >
        > Madame G,
        >
        > Thank you so much for calling my attention to this post. I hadn't thought about Axel von Fersen's birthday - this time of year brings to mind another tragic day in the life of Marie Antoinette - Sept. 3 - the date of the murder of her close friend, the Princesse de Lamballe in 1792.
        >
        > The story you have written of Axel von Fersen is well done. The relationship between Marie Antoinette and Axel von Fersen is so interesting beginning with their meeting at a masked ball in Paris when she was still Dauphine, both of them just 18 years old in 1774.
        >
        > One wonders of their fates 17 years later on the fateful day and night in June 1791 and the flight to Varennes. What if King Louis had not told Fersen to depart their party and thus dismissed the only experienced military man and the key planner of the journey from the party long before the real troubles began.
        >
        > Could the presence of Axel von Fersen at Varennes made a difference to enable the royal family to successfully escape France?
        >
        > Axel
        >
        > Replies
        >
        > Madame Gilflurt4 September 2013 14:53
        >
        > Welcome to the Guide, Axel, lovely to see you and thank you for your kind words!
        >
        > I don't know if his presence would have made a difference and will have to think about that one - what do you think?
        >
        >
        > --- In Images_of_Marie_Antoinette@yahoogroups.com, "axel" <Rand103242@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Hans Axel von Fersen (Stockholm, 4th September 1755 – 20th June 1810)
        > >
        > > Well, we're taking a slight detour across Europe today and, after yesterday's adventures in France and Italy, it's time to return to Scandinavia. We Gilflurts have always been keen on a gentleman with an eye for the ladies, especially one with a bit of scandal in his history, so Count Axel von Fersen is very welcome to join us on Gin Lane!
        > >
        > > Fersen was born to Countess Hedvig Catharina De la Gardie and Field Marshal Axel von Fersen the Elder. Raised in genteel luxury, the young man was schooled at home in preparation for a glittering career in the military. By the age of 18 he was at the French court and the striking and cultured Fersen made a deep impact on a certain Marie Antoinette, who found him utterly beguiling. With his military career in the ascendancy he accompanied Gustav III of Sweden through Europe, kept away from his circle at Versailles by the business of war.
        > >
        > > Fersen travelled with General Rochambeau to America, where he served as interpreter at meetings between the General and Washington. Here he proved himself to be a brave and decisive soldier, hailed for his distinguished service at the 1781 Siege of Yorktown.
        > >
        > > When Fersen returned to France he resumed his friendship with Marie Antoinette and, as gossips at the time murmured, there was the distinct possibility that the two were far more than friends. They pointed to the intimacy between the couple and whispered about the paternity of Louis-Charles, born in 1785. Whilst no evidence exists beyond conjecture to support the rumours that swirled around the queen and her favourite, there can be little doubt that the pair were quite devoted to one another. Indeed, Fersen was a favourite among the ladies wherever he travelled; intelligent, handsome and cultured, he seemed to live a charmed life.
        > >
        > > Fersen remained fiercely loyal to Marie Antoinette and her family, remaining at court as the clouds of revolution gathered. With the worsening situation he began assisting with plans to get the family to safety, playing an important role in the ill-fated flight to Varennes. It was Fersen who commissioned the carriage that would carry the Marie Antoinette, Louis and their children and he even travelled with them on part of their unsuccessful journey to the border. One can only imagine the horror with which he must have greeted news of their capture and from that moment, there would be no more hope of escape for the doomed family.
        > >
        > > With the situation in France growing ever more dire, Fersen was dispatched to Austria to entreat Emperor Leopold to join a coalition in support of the French monarchy. When Leopold proved himself disinterested in the idea, Fersen requested that he be released from the pointless mission and returned to France. At great danger to himself, he presented himself in Paris under an assumed identity and stole into the Tuileries, where he was able to spend an evening with the king and queen discussing counterrevolutionary plans. He made further secret visits but his audacity was to prove unrewarded, the royal family utterly trapped.
        > >
        > > All diplomatic efforts exhausted, Fersen could do nothing to intervene as his friends went to their deaths, leaving the Count utterly bereft at the loss of those so previous to him. Returning to Sweden he established a political career but found his efforts on the continental stage hampered by the notoriety of his closeness to the French court. Napoléon flatly refused to deal with him, sounding the death knell for any wider political ambitions he might have had. His efforts frustrated, Fersen took a position as envoy to the court of Baden, a long way from flitting about the grounds of the Tuileries in disguise. His star fell further when Gustav III died and was replaced by a regent, Charles Philip, Duke of Södermanland. As a great friend and supporter to the late king, Fersen was sidelined until the reign of Gustav IV Adolf, at which point he returned to the Swedish court in triumph.
        > >
        > > When revolution came to Sweden in 1809, Gustav IV Adolf was swept unceremoniously aside in favour of Denmark's Prince Carl August of Augustenburg. Fersen distanced himself from the turmoil and voiced his support for Gustav IV Adolf's son, Prince Gustav of Vasa, believing him the only legitimate heir to the throne. His beliefs were to come back to haunt him when Carl August died suddenly and once again the gossip began, this time that the vengeful Fersen had played a part in poisoning the Dane.
        > >
        > >
        > > Even as he found himself tainted with the rumours that he had conspired to commit murder, Fersen's official duties found him in the unenviable position of having to accompany Carl August's funeral cortege through Stockholm. An enormous crowd gathered to mourn the popular Crown Prince and as the cortege progressed, the spectators began to heckle and throw stones at Fersen's carriage. Fleeing the unrest he attempted to seek shelter in a private house but the mob attacked him, dragging him from his refuge.
        > >
        > > The Royal Life Guards made a token effort to escort Fersen to the court house but the mob had grown too hostile to be stopped. Fersen was beaten to death as the Life Guards stood by, their commanding officer instructing his men to hold their fire. Later some suggested that Fersen was sacrificed to the mob by the new King, desperate to distract the crowd's ire at the death of the Crown Prince. Whatever the reason for the inaction of the troops at the scene, by the time they finally intervened in the riot, Fersen was dead.
        > >
        > >
        > > Eventually, Fersen was cleared on any involvement in the death of the Crown Prince and he was buried with full honours as a Marshal of the Realm. Today his name remains forever linked with that of Marie Antoinette, the beloved friend he was unable to save.
        > >
        > > Posted by Madame Gilflurt at 06:43, September 4, 2013
        > >
        > > LINK: http://www.madamegilflurt.com/2013/09/axelvonfersen.html
        > >
        > > * * *
        > >
        > > The above article was written by my friend Madame Gilflurt from the UK and posted today at her website "A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life - Dispatches from the long 18th century..."
        > >
        > > We corresponded today and Madame G was kind enough to give me permission to repost her lovely article on Axel von Fersen here at Images of Marie Antoinette yahoo group. I commend Madame G's website and encourage all to pay a visit. You are welcome to comment on her article here or at her website.
        > >
        > > Yes, today is 258th anniversary of the birth of Axel von Fersen in 1755 - he was a little less than two months older than his beloved friend (and perhaps lover), Queen Marie Antoinette.
        > >
        > > Axel
        > >
        >
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