Marie Antoinette’s Mitochondrial DNA thwarts Pretenders to the French Throne

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Marie Antoinette as seen in better, more cake-filled days

After the French Revolution and the mysterious death at age ten of Marie Antoinette’s only son Louis Charles, there were many people who came forth claiming to be the little prince.  The most famous was a German clock maker named Karl Wilhelm Naundorff.  Naundorff even had the backing of Louis Charles’ nanny and Louis XVII was written on his gravestone!

Now enter good ole science.  Naundorff’s body was exhumed and his mitochondrial DNA was tested and compared to mDNA from locks of the executed Queen’s hair and her descendants.  And voila, no match.  Poor Louis Charles had died in prison and didn’t escape to make clocks.

Source I09

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