In the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, the Cardinal met with a woman he believed to be Marie Antoinette.In fact, the woman was a prostitute, Nicole Le Guay d'Oliva, whom Jeanne had hired because of her resemblance to the Queen.A descendant of an illegitimate son of Henry II of France, Jeanne had married an officer of the gendarmes, Nicholas de la Motte, the soi-disant "comte de la Motte", and was living on a small pension granted to her by the King.
With this money, Jeanne was able to make her way into respectable society.
Because she openly boasted about her mythical relationship with the Queen, many assumed the affair was genuine.
The event is historically significant as one of the events that led to the French populace's disillusionment with the monarchy, which, among other causes, eventually precipitated the French Revolution.
In 1772, Louis XV of France decided to make Madame du Barry, with whom he was infatuated, a special gift at the estimated cost of 2,000,000 livres (approximately $14 million in 2015 USD).
He claimed to have the Queen's authorization for the purchase and showed the jewelers the conditions of the bargain in the Queen's handwriting.
Rohan took the necklace to Jeanne's house, where a man, whom Rohan believed to be a valet of the Queen, came to fetch it.
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.
According to others, Louis XVI himself changed his mind.
After having vainly tried to place the necklace outside France, the jewellers again attempted to sell it to Marie Antoinette after the birth of Louis Joseph, Dauphin of France, in 1781. A confidence trickster who called herself Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy, also known as Jeanne de la Motte, conceived a plan to use the necklace to gain wealth and possibly power and royal patronage.