Sunday, November 27, 2011

Count Fersen

“Helped Will Holmes butcher their pigs (10).  Got done about four o’clock.  Has a good day and got along first rate.  Rained this evening.”

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Lieutenant General Count Hans Axel von Fersen (Stockholm 4 September 1755 – Stockholm 20 June 1810) was a Swedish Count, a Lieutenant General in the Royal Swedish Army, one of the Lords of the Realm, diplomat and statesman. He is famous in history as the alleged lover of Queen Marie Antoinette of France.
He was the son of the statesman Axel von Fersen the Elder and the countess Hedvig Catharina De la Gardie (through her relatives to the Royal House of Vasa), nephew of Eva Ekeblad and grandson of General Hans Reinhold Fersen. He was carefully educated at home, at the Carolinum at Brunswick, in Turin, and in Strasbourg. In 1779 he entered the French military service with the Royal-Bavière Regiment. He accompanied the French commander in chief General Rochambeau's expedition to America and also acted as an interpreter between Rochambeau and Washington. He distinguished himself militarily, notably at the siege of Yorktown, 1781, and in 1785 was made proprietary colonel of the regiment Royal Suédois. At the close of the American Revolution, he became an original member of The Society of the Cincinnati. He is famous as a lover and had affairs with various women, especially the Italian-born adventuress Eleanore Sullivan, and the Royal Duchess Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp, married to the future King Charles XIII of Sweden; It is not known when her affair with Axel von Fersen occurred, it is only known that she wished to resume it when Fersen returned to Sweden after the death of Marie Antoinette and that Fersen refused to do so. King Charles was in his turn the lover of the cousin of Axel, Augusta von Fersen.

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