Affair of the Diamond Necklace
(1785) Scandal at the court of Louis XVI that discredited the French monarchy on the eve of the French Revolution. An adventuress, the countess de la Motte, schemed to acquire a valuable diamond necklace by duping cardinal de Rohan into believing that Queen Marie-Antoinette wanted to obtain it surreptitiously and that he could gain her favour by facilitating its purchase. When the plot came to light, Louis XVI had the cardinal arrested. Though acquitted, the arbitrary treatment of the cardinal deepened impressions of the autocratic nature of the king's government.
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