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Mummified royal relics don`t belong to Henry IV

ANI | Last Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 14:55

Washington: A new research has revealed that forensic studies done by Spanish and French researchers erroneously ascribed a mummified head to Henry IV and blood on a handkerchief to Louis XVI.

Two purportedly royal relics recently surfaced on the collectors` market in France: a mummified head and a handkerchief with blood residues.

Spanish and French researchers had reported positive DNA matches.

Forensic identification specialist Professor Jean-Jacques Cassiman`s team from the University of Leuven in Belgium compared the published DNA results from the head and the blood in the handkerchief with DNA samples obtained from three surviving descendants of the house of Bourbon, progeny of Henry IV.

The genetic relationship between these three Bourbons, who come from different branches of the family line, is fixed on the basis of research carried out on the Y-chromosome. The DNA comparison found that there was no relationship between the Bourbons and the blood on the handkerchief, nor the mummified head.

Two breaks in the biological line on the paternal side would have had to occur in order for the head and the blood to belong to the two French kings.

Likewise, there was no evidence on the maternal side (based on the mitochondrial DNA testing) suggesting a positive identification of the relics. The mother of Henry IV, Jeanne III d`Albret, is related via Anna of Habsburg in an unbroken maternal line to the Habsburgs, including Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVII. Here, once again, there would have to have been at least one break in the maternal line for the head to belong to King Henry IV. The probability that one of the women in King Henry IV lineage was not the real mother of her daughter, or later of the king himself, is virtually non-existent.

Furthermore, DNA tests of the blood on the handkerchief show with 84.2 percent certainty that the blood belonged to a person who did not have blue eyes. It is known that King Louis XVI had blue eyes.

First Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 14:55
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