Queen Marie Antoinette’s necklace
Marie Antoinette is known for her love of luxury. Even during the most difficult times for France, she spent fabulous sums on her clothes, jewelry and gambling. In the end, the queen became the victim of a conspiracy, in which one of the most expensive jewelry of the time played the main role.
Bomer and Bassange were desperate. But meeting with Jeanne de Luz de Saint-Remy (married to de Lamotte) gave them hope. This lady of the court introduced herself as a friend of the Queen and promised to put in a word for them before Her Majesty. Such assistance should have cost the jewelers 15,000 livres. In fact, Jeanne de Lamotte was an adventurer and all she wanted was her own wealth.
The deceiver was also familiar with Cardinal de Rogan (some even attribute a love affair to them). The latter was out of favor with Marie Antoinette for telling her strict mother about the entertainment to which the queen devoted all her free time. For a long time, the cardinal tried to regain the Queen’s favor. The swindler convinced him that she knew a way to arrange it.
On January 21, 1785, Jeanne informed the cardinal that the queen wanted to buy the same necklace for 2 million livres, but she was afraid to do it officially. The country is experiencing serious financial difficulties, and its people are in hardship, so Marie Antoinette allegedly asks the holy father to buy jewelry on her behalf.
Having received a receipt from the Queen, de Rogan purchased the necklace, paying 1 million 600 thousand livres in cash for it, and reimbursed the rest of the amount with promissory notes. At that time, this money could buy an estate with an area of 500 hectares of land. The necklace was delivered to Jeanne’s house, from where it was taken by the queen’s messenger, who was portrayed by the husband of the adventurer. He shipped the necklace to London, where it was disassembled and the stones were sold separately.
After a while, when neither the jewelers nor the cardinal saw their money, one of the jewelers complained to Marie Antoinette and heard in response that she did not buy necklaces.
Jeanne de Lamotte was found guilty – flogged, branded with the letter V (thief) and sent to prison. She would later flee to London, where she would publish a memoir about the Queen, presenting her in the most unfavorable light. The naive de Rogan was expelled from the country.
Despite the fact that the court recognized Marie Antoinette as an innocent victim of deception, the queen finally lost the trust of the French people. The Queen’s Necklace Case was the final straw. The outrage grew into a revolution, the victim of which was Marie Antoinette herself.
Today, in the Versailles Museum, you can admire the queen’s luxurious necklace. Alas, this is just a replica, recreated in the 20th century from sketches.