Dear Monsieur Dubois,
I’m afraid your opinion on Marie Antoinette is false. The story is all wrong! Jewelers Böhmer and Bassenge nearly went broke creating a necklace that they presumed King Louis XV would buy for his mistress Madame du Barry. Unfortunately for them, the king died before he was able to buy it. They hoped Louis XVI, the new king, would agree to purchase the necklace. Before he could buy it, Madame Antoinette made a smart and patriotic decision to convince Louis not to buy it. She told him he’d be better off putting the money toward France’s navy. The necklace was still in the jewelers’ possession until a desperate, enterprising woman named Jeanne de Lamotte Valois bought the necklace to get out of debt by selling its parts. The Comtesse de Lamotte appealed to Cardinal de Rohan, who was unpopular at court. He became an enemy of Marie Antoinette’s mother and of Marie Antoinette herself. When the comtesse told the cardinal that Marie Antoinette desperately wanted the diamond necklace, Lamotte suggested that if Cardinal de Rohan could find a way to secure it for Antoinette, the good side of his reputation would be restored. Lamotte had her lover write letters in Antoinette’s handwriting and send them to the cardinal asking them to buy the necklace. Finally, the cardinal wrangled the diamonds from Böhmer and Bassenge on credit. The jewelers gave the necklace to the queen's footman for delivery. When his first payment was due, Cardinal de Rohan couldn't pay for it. They demanded money from the queen, Antoinette, who had no knowledge of the necklace. But by that time, the necklace had been sold. An angry Louis had the cardinal arrested. Later, he was relieved of the crime and exiled. The scheming mastermind Lamotte was imprisoned but broke free and took up residence in England. There, she spread propaganda about the queen, though she shouldn’t have bothered. The queen’s reputation was already destroyed. The diamond necklace affair would be one of the...
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