The Diamond Necklace Affair contributed to the ridicule of Marie Antoinette’s spending habits, although she was never personally involved in the scandal. An expensive diamond necklace was purchased in Marie Antoinette’s name, through a scheme by the cardinal de Rohan and the comtesse de La Motte (Thomas 47). The Queen had harbored distaste for the cardinal before the affair, which only amplified after it. The so-called purchase of this necklace by the Queen was detrimental to her already faltering reputation amongst the French people, who saw it as a rebellion against the crown jewelers, and an excessive purchase during a time of great need. After the trial of the cardinal and de La Motte cleared the Queen’s name, the public then took to the idea that Antoinette had organized the affair in order to punish the cardinal de Rohan.
In fact, the necklace, originally commissioned for the mistress of Louis XV, was offered to Marie Antoinette on multiple occasions before the affair, but she refused it. The King and Queen’s awareness of the financial struggles of the monarchy explain this refusal on more than one account. They are quoted as saying, “we have more need of ships than of necklaces” (Gruder 267). While this insistence for the betterment of the military over their own comfort was lost in the scandal, it serves as an example of a time when public sentiment for the royal couple may have been positive.