When French King Louis XVI went to the guillotine in 1793 eager Parisians rushed to dip their handkerchiefs into the blood, as souvenirs of the event. DNA analysis now shows fabric placed in an ornate gourd contains blood of the beheaded monarch.
An elaborately decorated gourd belonging to a family in Bologna contained the handkerchief of Parisian preacher Maximilien Bourdaloue. Text on the gourd indicated the handkerchief had been soaked in the blood of the decapitated Louis XVI. Although over time the fabric deteriorated, traces of blood were left on the gourd. Now new DNA analysis has proven the blood belongs to the former French king.
The Telegraph reported a new study in the Forensic Science International reveals that the blood from the gourd was compared with a DNA sample from the mummified head of French King Henri IV, who ruled France almost two centuries before Louis XVI suffered his demise.
The severed head of Henri IV was unearthed by ransacking mobs who attacked Parisian tombs during the chaos of the French Revolution. Hidden over the centuries the head was confirmed by scientists in 2010 as belonging to Henri IV, Naharnet reported.
The new study, conducted at the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva in Barcelona shows: "Taking into consideration that the partial Y-chromosome profile is extremely rare in modern human databases, we concluded that both males could be paternally related. Historically speaking, this forensic DNA data would confirm the identity of the previous Louis XVI sample."
Thus the mystery of the blood in the gourd is finally solved by modern DNA methods.