1780s: Affair of the Diamond Necklace

1780s Western Europe, France:

The Affair of the
Diamond Necklace

[reference: Wikipedia.org]

Q: When did it take place?
The era of Louis XVI’s French court, that is, the 1780s.


Affair of the Diamond Necklace
by Strawberry-Chocolate whose gallery
can be viewed at
Deviant Art.com

Q: Why does an incident surrounding a Diamond Necklace deserve a landmark place in history?

A: The Affair of the Diamond Necklace was named by Napoleon Bonaparte as one of the three reasons why he believed the centuries-old absolute power of the French monarchy fell within three years and and resulted in the French Revolution (1789-1799) of great social and political upheaval.

Q: How is that possible? It’s just a Diamond Necklace.

A: It was a scandalous incident involving the French royal family, which added to the French people’s disillusionment with the French monarchy.

Q: What political consequences were there?

A: After the scandalous episode of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, centuries-old feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges vanished under unrelenting assault from liberal political groups and the disillusioned masses on the streets.

Q: What happened after the collapse of the French monarchy?

A: A political void occurred which created an opportunity, and need, for the introduction and ushering-in of the enlightenment principles of citizenship andinalienable rights (i.e. natural and legal rights). This fundamentally transformed French government politics.

Q: So, the court of Louis XVI was to blame for the end of the French monarchy?

A: In fact, even though the actual Affair of the Diamond Necklace incident took place during the French court of Louis XVI, events leading up to it were in place during his predecessor Louis XV.

Q: So, what were the events leading up to the Affair of the Diamond Necklace?

A: In 1772, the Parisian crown jewellers, Boehmer & Bassenge, received a commission from Louis XV of France to make an ornate diamond necklace for his mistress, Madame du Barry, with whom he was infatuated.


Artist’s depiction of
the wearing of
the Diamond Necklace

Drawing sourced from a personal website named “The Affair of the Diamond Necklace: Marie Antoinette’s downfall”. Also contains other photos of Antoinette’s surviving jewellery.

The order was to create a diamond necklace which would surpass all others in grandeur. To be able to amass an appropriate set of diamonds, the jewellers Boehmer & Bassenge would need several years to conduct the search and complete the collection of required precious stones, as well as a great deal of money to finance the purchase.

However, in the meantime, before the commissioned Diamond Necklace could be finished Louis XV died of smallpox and Madame du Barry was banished from court by his successor.

Q: Did the jewellers, Boehmer & Bassenge, ever finish the Diamond Necklace? And what did it look like?

A: Yes, the completed infamous necklace would eventually total 2,800 diamond carats.


The Diamond Necklace exhibit at an exclusive exhibition
in San Francisco

Photo is from an article placed in
LA’s The Place Magazine (an event’s guide)
regarding an
exclusive Marie Antoinette exhibition
held at the
Legion of Honor,
which is one of the
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

  • First, was a 17-diamond choker and each diamond was five to eight carats each.
  • Second, from the 17-diamond choker hung a three-wreathed festoon and pendants.
  • Third, came the necklace proper which was a double row of diamonds cumulating in an eleven-carat stone.
  • Fourth and finally, hanging from the necklace proper was a four-knotted tassel. The four-knotted tassel was originally tied with pink satin ribbons which was Du Barry’s favourite colour, but later changed to blue ribbons.
  • It had an estimated cost of between 1,600,000 livres and 2,000,000 livres. Perhaps in today’s currency, this is the equivalent of $100 million.

Q: How the Diamond Necklace ever come to be a problem?

A: It occurred because Queen Marie Antoinette became implicated with the Diamond Necklace by way of being accused of participating in a crime to defraud the crown jewellers of the cost of a very expensive, royal-court commissioned diamond necklace.

Essentially, the jewellers were stuck with debt from having spent years toiling to create a grand diamond creation crafted by royal commission and yet no payment. They wouldn’t be able to receive payment since the customer, the king, had died.

So the jewellers tried to sell it to the incoming court of Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette.

Q: How did Queen Marie Antoinette become to be implicated in defrauding the crown jewellers?

A: Well, following the death of the commissioning customer (Louis XV) and the banishment from court of the intended recipient (du Barry), the crown jewellers were stuck with a uniquely grand diamond creation that not many in the world could ever conceive of purchasing.

The jewellers were now in substantial debt – they were at a significant loss and could not find a way to sell the necklace.

In order to try and ease their loss, the jewellers offered the Diamond Necklace to the new Queen (Marie Antoinette) hoping that it would be a product that she could buy.

Indeed, in 1778, the new king, Louis XVI offered the Diamond Necklace to his wife as a present, but she refused.

After having vainly tried to place the necklace outside of France, the jewellers again attempted to sell it to Marie Antoinette after the birth of the dauphin Louis-Joseph in 1781. The Queen again refused. This began her association with the Diamond Necklace…

Q: Who was the actual culprit in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace?

A: There was a con artist who called herself Jeanne de Saint-Rémy de Valois and she conceived a plan to use the necklace to gain wealth and possibly power and royal patronage.

After marriage to an officer, this con artist was known as Jeanne de la Motte.

Q: Right, but Queen Marie Antoinette has already refused the Diamond Necklace, so what else happened to implicate her?

A: On January 21, 1785, Jeanne de la Motte told the Cardinal de Rohan that Queen Marie Antoinette wanted to buy the necklace, but, not wishing to purchase such an expensive item publicly during a time of need, Jeanne concocted that the Queen wanted the Cardinal to act as a secret intermediary to help aid the discreet purchase of the necklace.

Rohan agreed and a little while later he came to negotiate the purchase of the famous necklace for the sum of 2,000,000 livres, to be paid in instalments.

He claimed to have the Queen’s authorization for the purchase, and showed the jewellers the conditions of the bargain approved in the Queen’s handwriting.

Q: What did Rohan and Jeanne do with the Diamond Necklace?

A: Rohan took the necklace to Jeanne’s house, where a man, whom Rohan believed to be a valet of the Queen, came to fetch it.

Then, Jeanne de la Motte’s husband secretly took the necklace to London, where it was broken up in order to sell the large individual diamonds separately.


Replica of the diamond necklace
in white sapphires and cut glass

Photo source: the credits page of website
The Splendors of Versailles.org
hosted by Mississippi State University.

Q: How was it discovered that it wasn’t actually Queen Marie Antoinette who had ordered the purchase of the Diamond Necklace?

A: Well, when the time came to pay, Jeanne de la Motte presented the Cardinal’s notes, but these were deemed insufficient authority of payment, and Boehmer (the jeweller) complained to the Queen, who told him that she had never received nor ordered the necklace.

She had the story of the negotiations repeated for her, which consequentially created a coup de théâtre.

On August 15, 1785, Assumption Day, when the whole court was awaiting the King and Queen in order to go to the chapel, the Cardinal de Rohan, who was to officiate, was ordered to explain himself and was taken before the King, the Queen, the Minister of the Court Breteuil and the Keeper of the Seals Miromesnil.

Rohan produced a letter signed “Marie Antoinette de France”, on reading which the King became furious that Rohan, a prince étranger, could have let himself be fooled, since royalty do not use surnames. Rohan had been duped.

Q: What were the consequences of this fraudulent activity?

A: Rohan was arrested and taken to the Bastille, where he destroyed the correspondence he had thought had been with the Queen. In addition, Jeanne was not arrested until three days later, after having destroyed her papers.

Q: Only two people for such a big scandal? Was there anyone else involved?

A: After the arrests of Rohan and Jeanne, the police set to work to find all of Jeanne de la Motte’s accomplices, and arrested the prostitute Nicole Leguay d’Oliva and Rétaux de Villette, who confessed that he had written the letters given to Rohan in the queen’s name, and had imitated her signature on the conditions of the bargain. The famous charlatan Cagliostro was also arrested, although it is doubtful whether he had any part in the affair.

Q: Was there a legal trial and battle?

A: Yes, the Cardinal de Rohan accepted the Parlement de Paris as judges and a sensational trial took place on May 31, 1786.

Q: What was the result of the trial?

A: The trial of May 31, 1786 resulted in:

  1. The acquittal of:
      1. the Cardinal,
      2. the girl Nicole and
      3. Cagliostro.
  2. The banishment of:
      1. Rétaux de Villette
  3. The condemnation of Jeanne de la Motte to be:
      1. whipped
      2. branded and
      3. sent to the prostitutes’ prison, the Salpêtrière.

BUT, Jeanne de la Motte’s whipping and branding were not carried out, and in June of the following year Jeanne escaped from prison disguised as a boy.

Consequentially, in her absence, her husband was condemned to the galleys for life.

Q: So there was a fair trial, but how did the Affair of the Diamond Necklace irreversibly harm the French monarchy?

A: The trial of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace caused much excitement amongst public opinion and further aroused and entrenched detrimental scandalous depictions of the court of Louis XVI and further tarnished them in the minds and hearts of the French masses.

This enforced the persistent belief of the public masses in France that their Queen was:

  1. not an innocent victim of the greed of others
  2. as manipulative as her image, and
  3. a spendthrift interested more in vanity than in the welfare of France and the French.

This led to a huge decline in the Queen’s popularity and caused events leading up to the uprising of the French Revolution (1789-1799).

Q: So it was because of Queen Marie Antoinette’s already tarnished image that she could be further toppled from her throne along with her husband?

A: Pretty much, yes. However, although she was legally exonerated from the implication of defrauding, there were still many who believed she was very probably part-guilty of causing the scandal.

After all, many knew she could have, somehow, simply created peace with the jewellers by paying for the necklace from the wealth of the monarchy and thus bailing the crown jewellers out of debt that the French court had subjected them to. However, since she had not rejected this straightforward and simple plan of action, the jewellers were subjected to a loss-making activity with no way out.

Q: So why did Queen Marie Antoinette continue to reject the Diamond Necklace and create opportunity for the occurrence of the rather long-winded, drawn-out and understated (i.e. discreet) Affair of the Diamond Necklace? Was there a point to it all?

Nerd smile My Thoughts

A: The Affair of the Diamond Necklace could have been a very discreet and understated episode in history, but the principles to be derived and learnt needed vast distribution, analysis and understanding through chronological time, geographical space and varieties of Peoples to enable discovery and establishment of the exact and correct principles to be learnt globally, albeit translation necessary for differing cultural reasons.

Translationis different from interpretation since interpretation alludes to the deciphering of something encoded or nonsensical, whereas translation corresponds with the correct transfer of true knowledge, or sincere messages, between cultures.

Below are some derived principles and learning from the Affair of the Diamond Necklace as occurred during the court of Louis XVI, that I can personally derive from the incident, but are in no particular order, .

  1. Firstly, there is the issue of reinforced clarity of the business-customer relationship, and thus the escalation of a scandal was the only fitting methodology of that time (the late 18th century).

Today, the law in England offers legal rights to both customers and businesses undergoing exchange, via:

  1. Customer Statutory Rights, e.g.
    1. the Sales of Goods Act
    2. the Refund and Exchange of Goods Policy
  2. Business Contract Law i.e.
    1. between business entities
    2. between business entity and private individuals.
  • Secondly, the conduct of royally appointed establishments for the provision goods and services.

Thus, what it is to be royal:
Bear in mind, to be royal is an all-encompassing way of being and not only an over-bearing label.

  1. Royalty is but a high standard with which people should judge as whether or not is correct and worthwhile to strive towards as a way of being and living.
  2. Royal ways are definitely achievable within three generations of a family and thus they are but a high yardstick of living.
  3. Royalty are duly rewarded for their continuous and relentless efforts to independently and cohesively gather, deduce, select, maintain and evolve such high standards of morality and integrity.
  4. Even if royal individuals seek advice, the primary and ultimate influencer and decision-maker is themselves – they must be able to claim and be held personally responsible for their final decision and actions.
  5. Royal efforts and results on themselves, as well as others, should be as natural as possible to create real, tangible and thorough individuals of high-value involved in the development of society, culture and country.
  6. Royal work, and life, is domestic in nature and involves in-depth participation in the construction and progress of a home country.
  7. The objective of a home country is the creation of a substantial wider environment to ensure the home country may flourish for its people, residents and visitors, in the context and relevance of the world as a whole.
  8. Royal “excesses” are benefits-in-kind required to propel and aid royalty in their work which, if done correctly, is all-consuming and all-encompassing of them.
  9. To conduct royal work, or to be a royal individual, is a way of living from which there is no true escape.

Thus, to be royally appointed for the production of goods and services is indeed a very ‘noble cause’ and almostas heavy as being a royal, since there is:

  1. no get-out clause,
  2. no excuse for failure,
  3. no blind-eye to poor taste,
  4. no escape from scandal (especially if de-appointed),
  5. no devolution of personal responsibilities, and
  6. no pardon for ill-intended deception of the patron (or customer), which includes misguidance and mistreatment with the purpose of fooling the patron.
  7. etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

A discursive mention of the finer differentials between the higher social rankings of
(a) nobility (b) aristocracy (c) royalty :

  1. being noble | to be noble | undertaking a noble cause | being of nobility | being of noble descent | a noble opportunist (generic and relatively anonymous) | the noble opportunist (specific and named) | a noble failing | a truly nobleperson

Since the process and consequence of escalating your service to a higher level requires increased effort and skill, such royally appointed providers of goods and services often gain the prestigious notion of ‘being noble’ but not necessarily ‘being of nobility’ nor ‘being of noble descent’ .

Being noble’ is to undertake obligations, regularly achieved more successfully and expectantly by nobility, imposed upon you by royalty via aristocracy.

Thus, ‘to be noble’ is to undertake imposition of higher order demands, otherwise known as ‘noble causes’ and if they are then successfully achieved, then the service provider becomes a serious contender to be granted further substantial occasions to eventually substantiate the possibility of becoming an original founder of significant familial heritage and lineage of naturally occurring progressively superior successors.

Superiorly, ‘noble causes’ are considered to be an invaluable opportunity for spectacular generational successes and thus, conversely, unequivocal failures.

Any indisputable failings derived from the undertaking of ‘noble causes’, need only discreet allusion to cross time, geography and Peoples to be understood by all those who need to, and should, know.

Thus, by undergoing imposition of a ‘noble cause’, the service provider becomes ‘a noble opportunist’ and indisputable failings, in this case, will be noted as a noble failing’ which determines the individual’s current level of grading within the social hierarchy, until further notice.

Conversely,a truly nobleperson cannot escape their noble ways, no matter how many generations or failures pass, because those ways are instilled in every physical cell, consideration of being and accomplished action.

Thus, a truly nobleperson is unable to make true, indisputable noble failings, which means their only failings may be an innate inability to fulfil to the level and quality relevant to aristocratic characteristics or pertaining to a nature intrinsic to royal form and outlook. These resultant failings, of course, are to be considered for a royal pardon and/or resolve.

This has considerable similarities with being a truly royal individual because they, also, cannot escape their royal ways and way of being.

And thus, it may be asked: why should such people be ‘rewarded’ for being themselves?

They are rewarded for their:
(1) proactive handling of personal challenges for the benefit of many,
(2) discreet discrimination
(3) exemplary judgement of emphasis, enhancement, deepening, reinforcement and distribution of:
(i) royal ways
(ii) superior aspirations, and
(iii) correctness of etiquette.

  • So what would be the difference between being ‘royally appointed’ and actually ‘being royal’?

There is (true) escape from royal appointment, but not from being royalty.

  • And thus, what is ‘aristocracy’?

They are royalty-in-waiting, they are but a step away from being royalty. Hence, the dire straits of being aristocracy who is out-growing aristocratic has yet to be able to be truly royal in stature and nature. It is the time spent awaiting, yet not yet being able to receive unwavering escalation and appreciation of to be allocated undeniable resources to enable further growth of self, which frequently leads into royal behaviour, stature and nature. Thus, when such an out-grown aristocrat is not being served royal duties and responsibilities to action and accomplish further personal development, the deprivation induces accumulation of subtle grievances toxic to the aristocrat and their surroundings. Such dire circumstances are the final hurdle before the isolated wilderness of individual metamorphosis of becoming a truly royal person, not just in nature, but in true living and breathing action. They don’t just beit, they truly action it from within, without having to seek external advice, guidance and further direct knowledge of their work, of themselves or of their nature.

  • So, what happens after ‘being royal’?

    The cycle starts again: of being a commoner and needing to rise once more. But with each consecutive cycle the process and result is more efficient, more effective, more profound, more swift and has greater influence.
  • Thirdly, I am sure someone in the French court, if not Marie Antoinette herself, implicitly understood that each successive French court is discrete of its predecessors. Thus, any debts owed or outstanding exchanges needed to be dealt with with that particular court that had initiated and processed the deal.
  • Fourthly, it was really for the jeweller to learn to take responsibility to protect its business from any (potentially) loss-making or unscrupulous business exchange, rather than the monarchy.

That is, it is not for the Crown to bail out poor business practicesno matter how loyal and committed the royally appointed provider of goods and services.

  • Fifth, in this specific case of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, the crown jewellers i.e. the service provider, should be sufficiently skilled to be able to produce goods that are popular yet sophisticated and discerning enough to have admirable appeal to prevent the desirability of the finished product to descend to such a low-level as to become wholly dependent on the Crown for any particular purchase of a product.
  • Sixth, the service provider should not expect assured, guaranteed and finalised exchange of business before completion, inspection and sustained approval of the commissioned product.
  • Seventh, it seems as if the jewellers had became complacent of guaranteed patronage and business from the Crown and neglected to provide due diligence of a comprehensive and cohesive provision of services and goods to meet expectations and results that are befitting of royal discriminations.
  • Eighth, royally appointed establishments need to profoundly and fundamentally realize that the Crown is not a benevolent institution from which to take gratuitous and unwarranted benefits, as is right; otherwise the integrity of the Crown is undermined.
  • Ninth, to undermine the integrity of the Crown is to aggrieve the Crown and an aggrieved Crown can never consider its people and surroundings sufficiently enough in the correct form, which therefore endangers the future welfare of integral national heritage.
  • Tenth, for the Crown to expend time and energy to correctly consider its people and its wider environment should enable further long-term constructive contributive action to further reinforce, refine and define the detailed underpinning of the underlying stability of a nation to allow the further maturing and enhancement of:
    1. a country,
    2. its borders,
    3. its people, and
    4. its culture(s)
      for the sake of longevity and the enduring peace of minds, hearts, bodies and souls of aligned integrity.
  • Eleventh, the truthful and correct spirit of the Crown and its Peoples must be prudently and judiciously facilitated and must achieve the intrinsic support of the Peoples it serves, in order for it to thrive correctly.

When might the truthful and correct spirit of the Crown be under potential threat?

  1. When neighbouring nations, or countries, begin to destabilise, become (relatively) unstable, or become depleted, regardless of whether the dire situation is man-made or a consequence of nature.
  2. When there are political, economic or social upheaval(s) or revolutions.
  3. When people become unsettled, dissatisfied or restless.
  • Twelfth, any global, or regional, situation resulting from the above potential threats to the truthful and correct spirit of the Crown often generates a variety of opportunities for people development, social upgrading and structured domestic construction to be accomplished.
    E.g. the French Revolution (1789-1799).
  • Thirteenth, the discernment of the suitable exploitation of (trans-)national opportunities for a nation’s people, in relation to the safeguarding of the true integrity of the national Crown (as opposed to in relation to global development) calls for the discretion of international level superiority.

Thus, maybe that is why the French monarchy collapsed in three years, it needed to discreet itself away to strive for further improvements and advancements of itself in relation to international standards.

  • Fourteenth, during such unsettling times of trans-national opportunities and threats, the first to discern a threat to the truthful integrity of the Crown, are people of greater-substance yet, unless judiciously facilitated, are also amongst the last to voluntarily and willingly leave the epicentre of unrest and disturbance. Hence, the necessity for security of welfare for the safety of such people.

Thus, social grading and hierarchy is necessary for reasons of correct priority of salvationand expedient re-location; as well as for the correct progression and regeneration.

  • Fifteenth, the return of the correct people to the correct positions and in the correct locations, relatively speaking, must be enabled swiftly, effectively and above all, willingly, after the period of unrest is overcome and the integral welfare of the national Crown is no longer under threat.
  • Sixteenth, generally, the qualities, the skills and the substance of a person required for the same position on return to their country of origin are greater, but very rarely of a higher level.

That is, there will be greater expectations of returning people after the unrest, when compared to before the unrest.

National or trans-national unrest often, but not only, refers to perceived threat to the true integrity and welfare of the Crown.

  • Seventeenth, thus, during times of national or trans-national disorder, border control and customs management require discriminations of a truly royal spirit and nature to enable maintenance and evolution of the integral spirit of already established homelands.
  • Eighteenth, for border control and customs management to be able to provide such regal discriminations, of heart and mind, require the profoundly-understated, sharply-perceptive and higher-level skills of:
    1. objective and subjective reasoning and judgement of other people (and of the self), regardless of creed, colour, race, nationality, social standing, family background and home life, etc.
    2. measured and proportional consideration of regions, future outlooks, customs and cultures, potential and proven long-term contributive value within a variety of correct contexts and relevancies.
    3. reliable, assertive, independent objection of ill-founded widely-accepted beliefs and discriminations
    4. satisfying innately royal discriminatory ways, and moreover,
    5. being able to greater discern and meet international standards for the welfare of the national Crown.
  • Nineteenth, thus, the unintentional proliferation, or osmosis, of unnecessary benefits by the Crown must be stemmed, which is on a par of taking advantage of the Crown through inferior planning and poor goals, by enhancing boundaries and upgrading of the wider environment, again, in the context of, and with relevance to, the world on a global scale.
  • Twentieth, since the Diamond Necklace failed to be received either inside or outside of France the crown jewellers had clearly neglected to properly advise, consider and administer appropriate craftsmanship intended to be fit for royal tastes.
  • Twenty-first, negligence in achieving appropriate level of service provision followed by failure to strive to meet pre-stated expectations and criteria is considered to be professionally negligent and not only was a royal pardon not sought, but the crown jewellers were incorrectly insistent and persistent in pursuing payment for inappropriate, unsuitable and unsatisfactory provision of services. This could be said to pertain to treason.
  • Twenty-second, if there was no one else in the world who wanted nor was able and willing to achieve exchange, as a customer, of the commissioned Diamond Necklace, there is some deep underlying lesson to be learnt by the jewellers. To be completely unique in outlook and preference is impossible in the global spectrum, especially at royal standards.

    We all know that it is impossible that we are the only ones in the world to like and be able to afford something, which is the position Queen Marie Antoinette discovered herself to be subjected to by the crown jewellers.

In fact, freakishly, no sooner was the necklace received under deception, without payment, than it was sent to be broken up into individual stones in London.

It appears that the jewellers, although having costed the necklace at 2 million livres had neglected their due duty to create a product that is considered to have unwavering desirable fit for royalty.

  • Twenty-third, there is no way anyone would have wanted and been willing to break-up something truly fit for royalty, let alone so immediately after obtaining such an object. Often, antiques fit for royalty assume natural patronage and protection by others, for posterity.

Such criteria worthy of royal suitability stands the test of time, land and subjectivity i.e. many varieties of people around the world would desire it in its entirety, regardless of when and how.

  • Twenty-fourth, it may be believed that the reasoning behind the high-price (or value) and perhaps high profit-margin of luxury items of significance e.g. considerably crafted jewellery, is the effort and labour-intensity of the craftsmanship needed to create such designs of jewellery, but it seems that the crown jewellers in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace remorselessly demanded an asking price that held no bearing on the desirability of the finished product creating an unwilling and victimised customer out of Queen Marie Antoinette.

But it is uncertain whether she refused based on personal taste, because she was not the intended recipient woman, or because she objected to the asking price.

  • Twenty-fifth, the excitement of public opinion and the seriousness of which such a ‘scandal’ was treated certainly indicates a landmark historical event had occurred. The long-term benefit of deriving principles from such landmark historical incidents is to consider the advancement of the harmonious and honourable operation of a country, a nation by use of a forward-thinking legal structure and system. The crown jewellers had shown they had flouted such spirit of long-term harmony.
  • Twenty-six, perhaps successive eras of French courts found themselves to be held to ransom by many, if not specific, royally appointed establishments of goods and services. The point is not the quantity of money demanded, although that is a series of topics and industries in itself to understand i.e. finance and banking and pricing structure; but more along the lines of deliberating deceiving the monarchy – early signs of treason.
  • Twenty-seventh, the overriding principle to be instilled and learnt was that any company or establishment appointed by the monarchy for goods and services must behave as an independent business of good practice which serves the monarchy like any other ‘pret-a-porter’ customer.
  • Twenty-eighth, the French court also have the rights of private individual customers, to be treated like individuals within a household who are not to be held responsible for the actions of others who also reside and live under the same roof.
  • Q: What is the conclusion of historians, since they have access to more complete records and have the luxury and wealth of time to labour over the details, albeit after the event?

    A: Over the years, most historians have come to contradict the French public, concluding that :

    1. Marie Antoinette was relatively blameless in the matter
    2. Rohan was an innocent dupe, and
    3. the de la Mottes deceived both, the Queen and Rohan, for their own ends.

    This was also broadly the legal findings and conclusions of the Paris Parlement, although they did not comment on the actions of the Queen.

    After her escape, Jeanne de la Motte took refuge in London and published her Mémoires, in which she once again accused the Queen.


    A fine drawing of the
    Diamond Necklace

    Photo from Robert Chamber’s
    The Book of Days.com (1869)
    relating to the day of
    16th October.

    The Book of Days’ is a
    “miscellany of popular antiquities
    relating to the calendar”.

    Q: In summary, how did this scandalous episode directly affect the king and queen?

    A: Over time, the Affair of the Diamond Necklace played an important role in discrediting the Bourbon monarchy in the eyes of the French people years before the French Revolution.

    Marie Antoinette became even more unpopular, and malicious gossip about her made her even more of a liability to her husband.

    She was never able to shake off the idea in the public imagination that she had perpetrated an extravagant fraud for her own frivolous ends. Nonetheless, the affair prompted Louis XVI to become closer to his wife, and may have inclined him to be more defensive of and more responsive to her leading up to and during the revolution.


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