Marie Antoinette (1755-1793)
After a facsimile kept at the château de Versailles - XVIIIth century
Château de Versailles et de Trianon, Versailles
In 1785 this sumptuous 1 600 000 pounds necklace with diamonds has been proposed to Marie-Antoinette by two jewellers but, with the king Louis XVI, she refused it because of the enormity of the amount, equivalent to the price of two war ships.
The schemer countess de la Motte made the cardinal de Rohan believe that the Queen wanted this necklace and wanted him acquire it secretly. Because of false Queen's missives supposedly addressed to Rohan, the jewellers entrusted the necklace to the countess de la Motte whose husband hastened to sell the diamonds in England.
The scandal of « the necklace case » was known on August the 15th 1785, the protagonists were arrested and the King entrusted this case to the parliament. If the cardinal de Rohan was discharged, the Queen, not very appreciated, was slandered; Lampoons spread, proving the waste and the futility of the court; this case certainly contributed to the drop of the monarchy.