Blood in gourd 'is not from beheaded Louis XVI'

A sample of blood long thought to belong to French King Louis XVI is probably not authentic, scientists say.

An elaborately decorated gourd was thought to contain a handkerchief that had been dipped in the king's blood after he was killed by guillotine by French revolutionaries in 1793.

But scientists have now sequenced the genome of the sample and say it is unlikely to belong to the monarch.

The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Instead, the team thinks the gourd and its contents were probably the work of an 18th Century fraudster hoping to make some money from a revolutionary souvenir.

Prof Carles Lalueza-Fox, from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, Spain, 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 recognise whether the blood was from the king or not."

- BBC.com


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