During the 1780s, countless pamphlets accused Marie Antoinette of ignorance, extravagance and adultery, some featuring salacious cartoons and others dubbing her "Madame Deficit."
At the time, the French government was sliding into financial turmoil and poor harvests were driving up grain prices across the country, making Marie Antoinette's fabulously extravagant lifestyle the subject of popular ire. In 1785, a thief posing as Marie Antoinette obtained a 647-diamond necklace in an infamous diamond-necklace scandal. Although Marie Antoinette was completely innocent, it permanently tarnished the queen's reputation.
Refusing to let public criticism, alter her behavior, in 1786 Marie Antoinette began building the Hameau de la Reine, an extravagant retreat near the Petit Trianon in Versailles.