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Marie Antonia Josepha Johanna aka Marie Antoinette (1755– 1793), the Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Navarre, became the Queen of France when her husband, Louis-Auguste, ascended to the throne as King Louis XVI. She was a popular figure with the French people during her early years, thanks to her beauty and winning personality, but she soon became an object of scorn to the French people. After Louis was ousted as king and executed, Marie followed him to the guillotine on October 16, 1793.
To be sure, Marie's accomplishments were few. Among them were:
- Her renovation of a home at Versailles, the Petit Trianon, in which she planted gardens and inside "plastered the walls with gold and diamonds." She later supervised the building of Hameau de la reine, a group of cottages in the gardens which are still part of Versailles today.
- Instituting segregated dining spaces at court.
- Instituting more rustic and simple dress styles at court, and the reduction of make-up.
- The appointment of Etienne Charles de Brienne, the archbishop of Toulouse, who, as the nation's finance minister, attempted to reduce France's expenditures.
- Her part in the reinstitution of the popular Jacques Necker as finance minister.
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