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The diamond necklace was commissioned by Louis XV of France for his mistress, Madame du Barry.At the death of the King, the necklace was unpaid for, almost bankrupting the jewellers and leading to various unsuccessful schemes to secure a sale to Queen Marie Antoinette.Thus began an alleged correspondence between Rohan and the Queen.
The tone of the letters became very warm, and the Cardinal, convinced that Marie Antoinette was in love with him, became enamoured of her.
He begged Jeanne to arrange a secret night-time interview with the Queen on his behalf, and the supposed meeting took place in August 1784.
According to Madame Campan, Jeanne, pretending to be the Queen, sent several letters to the cardinal, including an order to buy the necklace.
They were signed "Marie Antoinette de France"; the Cardinal either did not know or did not remember that French royals signed with their given names only.
The Affair of the Diamond Necklace was an incident from 1784 through 1785 at the court of King Louis XVI of France involving his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette.
The reputation of the Queen, already tarnished by gossip, was ruined by the implication that she participated in a crime to defraud the crown jewelers in acquiring a very expensive diamond necklace.
On 21 January 1785, Jeanne told the Cardinal that Marie Antoinette wanted to buy the necklace; but, not wishing to purchase such an expensive item publicly during a time of need, the Queen wanted the Cardinal to act as a secret intermediary.
A little while later, Rohan negotiated the purchase of the necklace for 2,000,000 livres, to be paid in installments.
The jewelers Boehmer and Bassenge resolved to use her to sell their necklace.
She at first refused a commission, but then changed her mind and accepted it.