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When French king Louis XVI was beheaded at the guillotine two centuries ago after the French Revolution, many spectators were said to have dipped their handkerchiefs in his blood. And now, scientists believe they have found an old gourd that they say may contain the blood of the executed monarch.
The day Louis XVI was decapitated in Paris on January 21, 1793, a Parisian named Maximilien Bourdaloue had joined the crowds and dipped his handkerchief into the blood left at the scene of the execution. Bourdaloue was then believed to have put his handkerchief into a hollowed-out gourd and had it embellished with images of revolutionary heroes and the words: "On January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation".
Two years ago, scientists had conducted a DNA analysis of the traces of blood found inside the old gourd revealed a likely match for someone of Louis description, including his blue eyes. However, they were never able to confirm at the time that the sample was indeed from the executed French king because they did not have DNA of any royal relation.
However, new research, published in the journal Forensic Science International, have now revealed that the blood in the old gourd contained DNA that is very similar to the genetic material from what is believed to be the mummified head that belonged to Louis' 16th century predecessor, Henri IV, who was killed in 1610, according to AFP.
On January 21st, 1793 Louis XVI was executed in front of the people of France who saluted his death as the beginning of a better era.