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French king Louis XVI blood mystery solved

Paris, Jan 3 (): A team of scientists believe that the blood stains found in an old gourd may contain the blood of the French King Louis XVI. The French king Louis XVI was decapitated at the guillotine two centuries ago, on 21st January, 1793 after the French Revolution.

For so many years, researchers have been taking efforts to find out a genuine reminder of this significant execution in the Place de la Revolution that survives today. Recently, they have partially solved this mystery that has lasted for almost 220 years by a new DNA analysis on the bloodstains of the fallen king found in an ornate gourd.

On January 21, 1793, the day when Louis XVI was beheaded in Paris, Maximilien Bourdaloue, a Parisian had joined the crowd and dipped his handkerchief into the blood left at the scene of the execution.

Bourdaloue should have placed his handkerchief into a dried, hollowed-out gourd and then had decorated the gourd with images of revolutionary heroes and the words: “On January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation”. The ornate dried vegetable is decorated with likenesses of French Revolution heroes.

The leftover has since been in the hands of an Italian family for a century. The vegetable has long since decomposed, but it still carries crimson stains along with the inscriptions.

Two years ago, scientists who had conducted a DNA analysis of the traces of blood found inside the old gourd, revealed a likely match for someone of Louis description, including his blue eyes. However, they were never able to confirm at the time that the sample was indeed from the executed French king because they did not have DNA of any royal relation.

From the inscriptions on the gourd and DNA analysis, one cannot exactly prove the blood really belonged to Louis. A DNA sample could not solve the riddle unless it was compared with another drawn from a relative of the king.

However, new research studies have now revealed that the blood in the old gourd contained DNA that is very similar to the genetic material from what is believed to be the mummified head that belonged to Louis’ 16th century predecessor, Henri IV, who was killed in 1610 — a direct ancestor of Louis XVI. The DNA data obtained from Louis XVI could now be used to interpret the genetic code of France’s last absolute monarch and his living relatives.