period: The Affair of the Necklace

The Affair of the Necklace

The Affaire du collier de la reine was an incident from 1784 to 1785 at the court of King Louis XVI of France that involved his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette (Joely Richardson). Her reputation, already tarnished by gossip, was ruined by the implication that she had participated in a crime to defraud the crown jewelers in acquiring a very expensive diamond necklace. In fact Marie Antoinette was blameless in the matter and Cardinal de Rohan was an innocent dupe.

A con-woman Jeanne de la Motte (Hilary Swank), who called herself Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy, became the mistress of the out-of-favour Cardinal de Rohan. She persuaded Rohan that she had been received by the Queen and enjoyed her favour. She then tricked him into acting as a supposed secret intermediary for the Queen to purchase a necklace originally intended for Madame du Barry; needless to say the necklace disappeared and the jewellers never received payment.

Jeanne de La Motte was condemned to whipping, branding and life imprisonment in the prostitutes’ prison at the Salpêtrière. She escaped and took refuge in London where she published her Mémoires Justificatifs in 1789, once again libelling Queen Marie Antoinette.

The makeup

Mario Michisanti and Gino Tamagnini were the key makeup artists; Enrico Jacoponi and Vincenzo Mastrantonio were the makeup artists.