This week, we want to share a little something we’ve been cooking up here at Hemlock Creatives! Over the course of creating Trashy Divorces, we’ve come to realize that trashbaggery is a permanent part of the human experience, and few figures in our history has been ostentatiously trashy as any given period’s elites. Enter: Trashy Royals, a new podcast dropping every Thursday that explores the enduring truth of all cultures: our betters have always been among our worst.
Please enjoy this Trashy Royals episode, The Affair of the Diamond Necklace, and listen to Trashy Royals wherever you get your podcasts!
05. The Affair of the Diamond Necklace
Unsurprisingly, the French Revolution didn’t happen particularly spontaneously. Years of financial mismanagement, poor crops, massive unemployment, and a swelling population in Paris itself all contributed to a growing dissatisfaction with King Louis XVI and the monarchy in general. The King’s cause wasn’t helped at all by a lingering suspicion that his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette, was a profligate spender and an Austrian spy, but Marie Antoinette’s reputation took a calamitous hit in 1785, when an ambitious con artist named Jeanne de la Motte hatched a plan to acquire one of the most expensive jewelry pieces ever crafted.
Playing on the vanity and avarice of one of her lovers, Cardinal Louis de Rohan, Jeanne and her crew succeeded in boosting a piece worth $2 million – and forever ended any goodwill the French public had toward their Queen.