The letters were written to French soldiers during the height of the Seven Years’ War, but never delivered.
For centuries, a box of letters sat unopened in the National Archives in the U.K., until one curious historian recently unsealed and read them for the first time. What he found was a panoply of human emotion—love, affection, anger, uncertainty, jealousy—intimately recorded at the height of the Seven Years’ War (1756–63).

Professor Renaud Morieux from Cambridge University had ordered the box of correspondence from the archives “out of curiosity” while conducting research for his book on the Anglo-French war. In it, he found upwards of 100 letters, bound in three bundles with ribbon, almost all of them still sealed in envelopes with red wax stamps. He would become the first person, he said in a statement, “to read these very personal messages since they were written” 265 years ago.

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French Love Letters, Sealed for 265 Years, Are Opened—and Read—for the First Time