The Swedish count first met the French Queen at a mask ball in 1774 and when they were introduced again four years later, Marie Antoinette exclaimed: "Oh, he's an old acquaintance!". He immediately became a part of the Queen's inner circle when he moved to Versailles and was often invited to the exclusive dinner parties given by the Queen herself. He was even invited to Petit Trianon and spent many hours with the Queen and her friends. Axel de Fersen was sent off to fight in the American war of independence and divided his time between court and his regiment.
The correspondence between the Queen and the count show their affection for one another. These letters has nourished the legend of their affair and many has wondered whether Axel meant Marie Antoinette, when he wrote this to his sister: "I have taken the decision never to marry [...] I cannot belong to the one person whom I would truly wish to be mine [...] So I do not want to belong to anybody."
When Marie Antoinette and her family was imprisoned during the revolution, Fersen had stayed - unlike many of her other friends - and even arranged the flight to Varennes. When Marie Antoinette was beheaded Axel was devastated. He noted that now that Marie had died, he had lost everything that he had in the world. He continued on noting: She whom I have loved, for whom I would have given my life a thousand times for, no longer exists. He himself died in 1810.