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The “Man in the Iron Mask” actually wore a velvet cover

The enigmatic identity of the “Man in the Iron Mask” seems to have been successfully revealed according to a new book by an American historian.

One version of the legend says the wife of Louis XIII of France not only gave birth to the future Sun King (Louis XIV) but to his twin brother. In order to avoid the twins competing for the throne the younger child was secretly kept under lock and key, and later his face was covered with an iron mask to hide his identity. Then his house arrest was replaced by prisons, where the masked man eventually died in 1703.

The strange story was first recorded by Voltaire, who represented the masked man as the illegitimate brother of Louis XIV, the fruit of a romance between Anne of Austria and Cardinal Mazarin. Later, French writer Alexandre Dumas transformed the story creating the legend of the bros.

However stunning the story of the man doomed to be secluded from the light, physicians allege that no one could live long while frequently wearing a full face mask.

In his new book titled The Search for the Man in the Iron Mask: A Historical Detective Story author Paul Sonnino, a professor of history at the University of California in Santa Barbara, told Live Science that the ill-fated man “only occasionally wore the mask and that when he did wear a mask it was velvet, not iron”.

Sonnino suggests, similarly to most historians, that the enigmatic man was a valet named Eustache Dauger, but he also claims Dauger was a valet of Cardinal Mazarin who had known too much about his boss’s fortune, which was built by embezzling the money of Louis XIII and the English Queen. Having blabbed by accident, Dauger was threatened with death if he disclosed his identity.

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