Rétaux de Villette
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The Affair of the Diamond Necklace
Through an intimate relationship with Jeanne de Saint-Rémy de Valois, the pair staged a scandal involving a diamond necklace. This famous "Affair of the Diamond Necklace" made history in France. Villette played the role of forger, writing letters to Jeanne in the hand of Queen Marie Antoinette, making it seem as if the Queen desired the necklace, but was unable to purchase it due to reluctance on the part of the King, Louis XVI. These letters were presented in turn to Cardinal Rohan, persuading him to buy the necklace for the Queen, or so he thought. After the necklace was purchased by Rohan and given to Saint-Remy to pass along to the queen, she and her husband, Nicolas de la Motte immediately took off to London and began selling the jewels from the necklace for their own profit. Villette later testified against the La Mottes. The scheme was eventually exposed and all those involved were prosecuted, including Villette.
As punishment for his involvement in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Villette was exiled from France. Moving to Italy, citation needed].[
- Webster, Nesta H. (1936). Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette Before the Revolution. Constable & Company Ltd. London.