It is 1547 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V sends to his ambassador at the French royal court – a man called Jean de Saint-Mauris – one of many  letters. Once decoded it gives insight into the preoccupations of Europe’s rulers at a time of dangerous instability caused by wars of religion and rival strategic interests. Charles V is in constant fear of an assassination.

February 1547 was a time of rare relative peace between the rival powers of France and the Holy Roman Empire. Emperor Charles V isruler of vast areas including Spain, the Netherlands, Austro-Hungary and southern Italy. He is not longer at war with France’s king, Francois I. But mistrust still prevailed.

Fast forward to 2019. Cryptographer Cecile Pierrot first  hears a rumor of the letter’s existence at a dinner party in Nancy, France. After lengthy research she tracked it down to the basement of the city’s historic library. Setting herself a challenge to decode the document within a few days, she was disconcerted to find the task rather harder than she had thought.

In an article worthy of a “who done it”  find out how the letter was decoded and what it said! Entire Article

Thank you to society member Paul Albright for sharing this very interesting article.