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Molecular genetic analysis on the remains of the Dark Countess: Revisiting the French Royal family

Parson, Walther et al.

Forensic science international. Genetics. Volume 19 (2015, November); pp 252-254 -- Elsevier Science

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  • Title:
    Molecular genetic analysis on the remains of the Dark Countess: Revisiting the French Royal family
  • Author: Parson, Walther;
    Berger, Cordula;
    Sänger, Timo;
    Lutz-Bonengel, Sabine
  • Found In: Forensic science international. Genetics. Volume 19 (2015, November); pp 252-254
  • Journal Title: Forensic science international. Genetics
  • Subjects: Génétique légale--Périodiques; Forensic genetics--Periodicals; Forensic genetics; Periodicals; Mitochondrial DNA--Ancient DNA--Genetic identification--EMPOP; Electronic journals; Dewey: 614.1
  • Rights: legaldeposit
  • Publication Details: Elsevier Science
  • Abstract: Highlights:

    The authenticity of the Dark Countess from Hildburghausen was subject to speculations for many years

    Her lifestyle led to speculations that she was the true princess Marie Thérèse Charlotte of France, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

    We analyzed the mitochondrial DNA control region of the remains attributed the Dark Countess and compared it to literature data and data from a living relative of the French Royal family.

    Abstract:

    The "Dark Counts" were a mysterious couple that appeared in the Thuringian village Eishausen in 1807. After living in self imposed solitude for 30 years the woman died and was buried under the name Sophia Botta. Her companion, who presented himself as Vavel de Versay, died in 1845 and was later identified as Leonardus Cornelius van der Valck, secretary of the Dutch embassy in Paris. Their lifestyle led to speculations that she was the true princess Marie Thérèse Charlotte of France, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. According to these speculations she was substituted by another young woman on a voyage from Paris to Vienna. Molecular genetic analyses were set out to test the remains attributed to the Dark Countess. Mitochondrial DNA testing brought concordant results determined in two forensic laboratories (Innsbruck, Austria and Freiburg, Germany) on parallel samples of the remains. The results were in exclusion to both, the mitochondrial lineage earlier reported for the French Royal family and the mitochondrial haplotype observed in a living descendant of the Royal family.


  • Identifier: System Number: LDEAvdc_100075515574.0x000001; Journal ISSN: 1872-4973; 10.1016/j.fsigen.2015.08.006
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Physical Description: Electronic
  • Shelfmark(s): ELD Digital store

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