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Diamond Necklace, Affair of the

DIAMOND NECKLACE, AFFAIR OF THE

DIAMOND NECKLACE, AFFAIR OF THE. Though ostensibly unconnected to serious politics, the Affair of the Diamond Necklace damaged the French monarchy's standing in public opinion and thus constituted an important step toward the Revolution of 1789. The case centered on a series of deceptions. In 1785 a young woman living at Versailles persuaded Louis de Rohan, a leading courtier and churchman, that Queen Marie Antoinette (17551793) wished him to purchase on her behalf a famous and fabulously expensive necklace. He would have to make the purchase secretly since King Louis XVI (ruled 17741792) had previously indicated his disapproval. Forged letters and a brief appearance by a prostitute disguised as the queen had already softened Rohan for a request of this kind; he acquired the jewels and handed them to the plotters, who promptly sold them abroad. When the deception became known, he proclaimed himself an innocent dupe, but the outraged king and queen insisted that he be tried for fraud. Despite their efforts, in 1786 France's highest court, the Parlement of Paris, voted narrowly for Rohan's acquittal, a public rebuke to the monarch.

Historians have emphasized the widespread public discussion the case generated and the impact that such discussions had on eighteenth-century politics. Contemporaries from all levels of society eagerly bought pamphlets and lawyers' memoranda retelling the story; and many of these defended Rohan and the plotters by suggesting Marie Antoinette's involvement with all of them. These pamphlets attracted readers, it appears, because they expressed widespread fears about royal despotism and about women's influence over the monarchy. The affair made the queen seem greedy and possibly promiscuous, the king weak yet vengeful. From 1785, such images would increasingly dominate public discussion of the monarchy.

See also Louis XVI (France) ; Marie Antoinette .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kaiser, Thomas. "Who's Afraid of Marie Antoinette? Diplomacy, Austrophobia and the Queen," French History 14, no. 3 (Sept. 2000): 241271.

Maza, Sara. Private Lives and Public Affairs: The Causes Célèbres of Prerevolutionary. France. Berkeley, 1993.

Mossiker, Frances. The Queen's Necklace. New York, 1961.

Jonathan Dewald

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"Diamond Necklace, Affair of the." Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Diamond Necklace, Affair of the." Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/diamond-necklace-affair

"Diamond Necklace, Affair of the." Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/diamond-necklace-affair

Diamond Necklace, Affair of the

Affair of the Diamond Necklace, scandal that took place at the court of King Louis XVI of France just before the French Revolution. An adventuress who called herself the comtesse de La Motte duped Cardinal de Rohan, the grand almoner, who was out of favor with Queen Marie Antoinette, into believing that she could regain the queen's regard for him. Mme de La Motte and her accomplices then engineered a sham correspondence between the cardinal and the queen and even arranged an interview between him and a woman impersonating the queen. In the interview the cardinal was led to believe that the queen wished to acquire a diamond necklace of enormous value and that she had chosen him as her confidential agent. When Rohan obtained the necklace from the jewelers, he turned it over to the comtesse; her husband took it to London, where it was broken up for sale. The affair became public after Rohan failed to meet the payments to the jewelers. The cardinal was arrested and tried by the parlement; he was acquitted but lost his position in court. Mme de La Motte was punished and imprisoned, but she escaped to London, where she wrote her highly questionable memoirs. Alessandro Cagliostro, at first suspected of complicity, was acquitted. The queen, noted for her extravagance and frivolity, was unjustly implicated in the affair; her enemies hinted that she had schemed to ruin the cardinal or that she had used her favor to obtain the necklace and then refused to pay. The scandal added greatly to her unpopularity at a critical time. A vast literature has grown around the subject, notably Dumas's romance The Queen's Necklace and Carlyle's Diamond Necklace.

See also F. Mossiker, The Queen's Necklace (1961).

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"Diamond Necklace, Affair of the." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Diamond Necklace, Affair of the." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/diamond-necklace-affair

necklace

neck·lace / ˈneklis/ • n. 1. an ornamental chain or string of beads, jewels, or links worn around the neck. 2. (chiefly in South Africa) a tire doused or filled with gasoline, placed around a victim's neck, and set on fire. • v. [tr.] (chiefly in South Africa) kill (someone) with a tire necklace.

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"necklace." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"necklace." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/necklace-1

"necklace." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/necklace-1

necklace

necklace in Christian iconography, a necklace is the emblem of St Etheldreda.

In South Africa in the 1970s, necklace was used for a tyre doused or filled with petrol, placed round a victim's neck and set alight.

See also Affair of the Diamond Necklace at diamond.

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"necklace." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"necklace." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/necklace

necklace

necklace: see jewelry.

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"necklace." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"necklace." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/necklace

necklace

necklaceAlice, chalice, challis, malice, palace, Tallis •aurora australis •Ellis, trellis •necklace •aurora borealis, Baylis, digitalis, Fidelis, rayless •ageless • aimless • keyless •amaryllis, cilice, Dilys, fillis, Phyllis •ribless • lidless • rimless •kinless, sinless, winless •lipless • witless • annus mirabilis •annus horribilis • syphilis •eyeless, skyless, tieless •polis, solace, Wallace •joyless •Dulles, portcullis •accomplice •Annapolis, Indianapolis, Minneapolis •Persepolis •acropolis, cosmopolis, Heliopolis, megalopolis, metropolis, necropolis •chrysalis • surplice • amice • premise •airmiss • Amis • in extremis • Artemis •promise •pomace, pumice •Salamis •dermis, epidermis, kermis

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"necklace." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"necklace." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/necklace-0