The Affair of the Necklace

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There once was a necklace befit of a queen,Commissioned for a trollop—how terribly obscene.

When the King up and died, to his Favorite’s surprise, She was given the boot out the door of Versailles.

When the jewelers from Paris finished their work Filled with diamonds, pendants, festoons and tassels It surely surpassed all others in grandeur, And valued no less than two or three castles.

The jewelers presented their tour de force To a young King and Queen who could not be coerced.

Along came a lady with a lust in her eye For power, and wealth, and a place at Versailles.

She and her hubby petitioned the court. Their bloodline, they said, was royal in short.

Their claims were rebuffed, their wishes unheard, But industrious young ladies will not be deterred.

She turned her gaze to a man of the cloth Who was ambitious, perverse, petty and profane. A Bishop and Cardinal his moniker professed, Yet the pleasures of life he could never abstain.

Biblical knowledge was her first course of action, And pillow talk followed his full satisfaction.

His wish was to be in the Queen’s good esteem. For his past unkind words found her ear, it would seem.

The lady assured him she had the Queen’s favor And would convert her with the skill of St. Francis Xavier.

She marshaled a merry band to work at her pleasure: Her husband and a harlot, A gigolo, And a mystic for good measure

In the hand of the Queen, loving notes were forged Which left the Bishop’s hat fully engorged.

He beseechingly begged for a rendezvous Where the Queen’s countenance could be on view.

In the Gardens of Versailles the meeting was planned. By dark of night, by Venus he’d stand.

He hid in the shadows, anxious and sweaty. At last he would see his beautiful betty.

Dressed in black hood, she made her arrival And spoke sweet nothings not found in the Bible.

She gave him a rose and a peck on the cheek, And said she’d write him in less than a week.

Under the spell of the counterfeit queen The Cardinal was duped in a way never seen.

His assistance she requested, and he did it with zeal, To broker the purchase of the jewels for a deal.

No sooner was the necklace in hand for safekeeping When “Her Majesty’s” valet requested its retrieving.

The shrewd lady’s husband was ready and waiting. Post-haste with the diamonds he went for retailing.

Up to the palace the jewelers did go With invoice in hand for two-million livres. Having known nothing, the Queen was bewildered, Demanding at once that the jewelers should leave.

The jewelers insisted they had her inscription. When compared t’was declared just a bad imitation.

The Cardinal was summoned and taken to task. He was stunned and appalled and completely aghast.

The King and Queen demanded a trial, For the people believed it was they who were vile.

During the trial the gigolo admitted. But the Cardinal and harlot and mystic? Acquitted

The lady was whipped, imprisoned and branded, Yet escaped one year later—in London she landed.

Her husband altogether did evade retribution. In absentia he avoided the whole revolution.

Want to know more about this chapter of Marie Antoinette's life? Read more about the history of the infamous necklace here.