"The Man in the Iron Mask" is one of Europe's most popular royal mysteries. This mysterious man was imprisoned in 1687, and brought to Paris 11 years later to be kept under close guard in the Bastille. He ate, slept, and eventually died in 1703 still wearing his mask. Two musketeers stood close by in his prison cell to kill him if he removed his mask. This secrecy lent itself to a number of conspiracy theories that took shape in the following century.
Voltaire speculated 50 years later that the Man in the Iron Mask resembled Louis XIV of France, which led to a far-fetched theory that this man was Louis's twin, kept confined in order to secure the king's position. Other theories suggest he was a failed assassin, debauched nobleman, the playwright Molière, or an Italian nobleman.