Fersen, Count Hans Axel

Fersen, Count Hans Axel,

1755–1810, Swedish soldier and diplomat; son of Count Fredrik Axel FersenFersen, Count Fredrik Axel
, 1719–94, Swedish politician and soldier. He served (1743–48) in the French army and retired as brigadier general. As lieutenant general in the Swedish army (1750–57), he distinguished himself in the Seven Years War.
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. He entered (1779) the French service, was aide-de-camp of comte de RochambeauRochambeau, Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de
, 1725–1807, marshal of France. He took part in the wars of King Louis XV and had been promoted to lieutenant general by 1780, when King Louis XVI sent him, with some 6,000 regulars, to aid General Washington in the
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 in the American Revolution, and later at the court of Versailles became a favorite of Marie AntoinetteMarie Antoinette
, 1755–93, queen of France, wife of King Louis XVI and daughter of Austrian Archduchess Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I. She was married in 1770 to the dauphin, who became king in 1774.
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. He was recalled (1784) to Sweden, but returned to Paris on the eve of the French Revolution. In 1791 he helped the marquis de Bouillé plan the flight of Louis XVI and Marie Antionette, and he himself drove their coach outside the city limits, but the king and queen were arrested at Varennes. Fersen later held diplomatic posts at Vienna and Brussels and in 1801 was made marshal of Sweden by Gustavus IVGustavus IV,
1778–1837, king of Sweden (1792–1809). On the assassination of his father, Gustavus III, he succeeded under the regency of his uncle, later King Charles XIII, a liberal.
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, whom he accompanied to Germany in the Napoleonic Wars. After the Swedish revolution of 1809 that forced Gustavus IV to abdicate, Fersen was accused by popular rumor of reactionary intrigues and was killed by a mob.


See his diaries (tr. 1902); biography by S. Loomis (1972); M. Coryn, Marie Antoinette and Axel de Fersen (1938); E. John (pseud. of E. V. Simpson), Kings' Masque (1941).

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