Dipped in the blood of beheaded French king: Scientists use DNA to confirm gourd was a VERY gruesome memento from the execution of Louis XVI
Two centuries after handkerchiefs were dipped in the blood of the beheaded French king Louis XVI, scientists believe they have proved one such rag kept as a revolutionary souvenir contains his bloodstains.
For years researchers have been trying to verify the claim that an ornately decorated calabash contained a blood sample of the king, who was guillotined in Paris on January 21, 1793.
On that day Parisian Maximilien Bourdaloue joined the crowds as dipped a handkerchief into the blood left at the scene of the decapitation.
He is then believed to have placed the fabric in the gourd, which has been in the hands of an Italian family for more than a century, and had it embellished.
Two years ago, analysis of DNA taken from traces of blood found inside the gourd revealed a likely match for someone of Louis’ description, including his blue eyes.
But it was never able to be proved beyond doubt as at the time the team did not have DNA of any royal relation.