Catherine II of Russia
Catherine The Great ( 1762-1796)
Full name: Born as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt- Zerbst
Date: April 21st. 1729 in Szczecin, Prussia (now located in Poland)
Father: Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst
Mother: Princess Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp.
On June 28th. 1744, Princess Sophie converted to the Russian
Orthodox faith and she took the name Catherine, also Yekaterina or
She married Peter III on August 21st. 1745.
The newlyweds moved to the Palace Oranienbaum on the
Gulf of Finland, west of St. Petersburg.
In 1762, Empress Elisabeth died and Peter III became the new
Tsar. Catherine was his Empress Consort.
The couple moved to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
In July 1762, Peter went on a holiday to Oranienbaum Palace
he left his wife in St. Petersburg.
On July 8th. 1762, Catherine heard that one of her
confederates was arrested by Peter III. She asked the soldiers
to protect her from her husband.
She and the soldiers arrested Tsar Peter III and forced him
to sign a document of abdication.
On July 17th. 1762, Peter III died.
In September 1762, Catherine was crowned as
Empress and Autocrat of All the Russians.
1/ Paul of Russia (1/10/1754 - 23/03/1801)
2/ Anna (1757-1759)
and a natural son Alexis Bobrinsky (later he became a count)
There were rumors that she would have another natural daughter
called Elizabeth, however this is not known.
In 1777 Empress Catherine II gave the village of Pavlovsk as
a gift to her only son Paul, when Tsar Alexander I was born.
Paul I of Russia
(1796 - 1801)
11 German Princesses received from Empress Catherine
the order to come to Russia.
Finally he married:
Wilhelmina Louisa of Hesse-Darmstad
Russian name: Natalia Alexeievna of Russia
Sophie Marie Dorothea Auguste Louise
Russian name: Maria Feodorovna
1/ Alexander I of Russia: 1777 - 1825
2/ Constantin Palovich of Russia: 1779 - 1831
married: 1/ Princess Juliane of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
( Anna Feodorovna) She was the sister of King Leopold I of Belgium
married: 2/ Joanna Grudsinska, princess Lowicz
3/ Alexandra Pavlovna of Russia: 1783 - 1801
married Archduke Joseph of Austria,
Count Palatine of Hungary had one daughter who died at birth
4/ Elena Pavlovna of Russia: 1784 - 1803
Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg Schwerin
5/ Maria Pavlovna of Russia: 1786 - 1859
married Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
6/ Catherine Pavlovna of Russia: 1788 - 1819
married 1/ Duke Georg of Oldenburg
married 2/ Wilhelm I, King of Württemberg
He was her first cousin and a widower as well. He succeeded his
father as King. The citizens appreciated the humanitarian
activities of Queen Catherine very much. Unfortunately she
died in 1819
7/ Olga Pavlovna of Russia: 1792 - 1795
8/Anna Pavlovna of Russia: 1795 - 1865
married Willem II, King of the Netherlands
9/ Nicholas I: 1796 - 1855
married princess Charlotte of Prussia (Alexandra Feodorovna)
10/ Michael Pavlovich of Russia: 1798 - 1849
married princess Friederike Charlotte Marie of Würtemberg
They lived at the Mikhailovsky Palace.
They got 2 children:
Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna
She married Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Alfred was the son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
They got 5 children:
Prince Alfred died in tragic circumstances
Princess Marie, who became Queen of Romania
Princess Victoria Melita
Princess Beatrice who married Infante Alfonso of Spain
Both Alfred and his wife were collectors.
Grand Duchess Elisabeth Alexandrovna
1806 - 1808
Nicholas I of Russia
King Wilhelm I was Alexandra Feodorovna's older brother.
1/ Alexander II of Russia
married Marie of Hesse and by Rhine
2/ Maria Nikolaevna of Russia
married Maximilian de Bauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna recieved on her wedding
day her own palace in St.Petersburg.
In 1844, the palace was ready. It was called the Mariinsky Palace.
3/ Olga Nikolaevna of Russia
married Charles I of Würtemberg
Olga Nikolaevna was attractive, cultured and intelligent.
She was considered to be one of the most eligible Princesses
in Europe. The Princess spoke several languages and was fond
of music and painting.
The wedding took place on July 1st. 1846 in Peterhof.
Grand Duchess moved to Württemberg in 1846 and she lived
in the palace on the Königstrasse.
The official residence of the Kings of Württemberg is situated
on the central square of Stuttgart.
She adopted her niece Grand Duchess Vera Konstaninovna.
In Württemberg the memory of the Russian noble women
still survives in the names of streets and squares.
Olga died in October 1892.
4/ Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia
married Friedrich-Wilhelm of Hesse-Kassel (Fritz)
Before her marriage, she became very ill (tuberculosis).
After her marriage, Alexandra gave birth to a son (Wilhelm).
The baby boy died shortly after his birth.
Alexandra died the same day as her baby.
She was buried together in the Peter and Paul Fortress in
5/ Elizabeth Nikolaevna
(died at childhood)
6/ Konstantin Nikolaevich of Russia
married Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg. She took the name
Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich's family would spend the
winter months in their town residence in St. Petersburg. This
residence was called the Marble Palace.
Here the family of Konstantin Nikolaevich would have musical
salons. The most famous literary figures and composers would
be invited to attend.
They had 6 children:
6.1 Nikolai Konstantinovich
6.2 Olga Konstantinovna
Grand Duchess Olga, the eldest daughter of
Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich , was born at Pavlovsk
She received a fine education at her paternal home and she
loved Russian poetry, music and history.
King George I of Greece fell in love with her and the two
married in St. Petersburg in 1867.
The newlyweds settled in the Royal Residence on the
Sintagma Square in Greece.
Olga and her husband had many important descendants like :
King Constantine II of the Hellenes;
Queen Sofía of Spain;
King Michael I of Romania;
Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia;
Archduchess Helen of Austria;
Prince of Wales....
Check also my Today in History of September 3rd on this
6.3 Vera Konstantinovna
6.4 Constantin Konstantinovich
6.5 Dmitry Konstantinovich
6.6 Vyacheslav Konstaninovich
7 Nicholas Nikolaevich (the elder) of Russia
married Alexandra of Oldenburg (She was the granddaughter of Tsar Paul)
They had 2 children:
7.1 Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (the younger)
He married Princess Anastasia of Montenegro
(sister of Princess Milica).
Later he had a relation with Catherine Chislova, a dancer from the
Krasnoye Selo. They had children.
7.1 Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich
he married Princess Milica of Montenegro. They had 4 children
inter alia Princess Marina Petrovna of Russia.
I made a History / OnThisDay about him - see this link
8/ Mikhail Nikolaevich of Russia
married Cecilie of Baden who took the name Olga Feodorovna
This wedding took place in St. Petersburg in 1857.
She converted to Orthodoxy and received the name
Olga Feodorovna. The family moved to the Caucasus
where the Grand Duke was assigned as Governor General
8.1 Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich
He had the rank of General, but he was a famous historian.
He was assassinated on January 28th. 1919 at the age of 59.
8.2 Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna
She married Hereditary Grand Duke Friedrich Franz
of Mecklenburg Schwerin.
The grand duchess had a very willful and independent
character. Her dislike of Schwerin gained her the ire
of her husband's government. Anastasia loved gambling
and she always was elegantly dressed with style, she
also wore fabulous jewels and she attracted the attention
in any social situation. She played tennis very well and she
even participated in international tournaments. But she was
unpopular by her husband's subjects.
To know more about her, check this History / On This Day
on this link.
8.3 Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich
gave his parents the most worries. He was a brilliant
officer and loved by the society in St. Petersburg.
8.4 Grand Duke George Mikhailovich
(1863 - 1919)
In 1896 Grand Duke George Mikhailovich came to Athens
to formally propose to Princess Marie of Greece .
However she didn't have a lot feelings for him.
But the 20-year old the Princess agreed.
Their engagement took place on March 23rd. 1896 and the
wedding took place 4 years later, on May 12th. 1900.
Princess Marie of Greece took the name Maria Georgievna.
She found it very hard to get used to the severe northern
George was to have a military career, bit it wasn't the main
goal in his life. He injured his leg. He was interested in history,
art and he could draw very well. He also was a collector
He was assassinated on January 28th. 1919 together with his
brother Nicholas and Paul Alexandrovich. They met their fate
with dignity and amazing self-control. Nothing is known wat
happened with their boddies.
8.5 Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich
married Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna
(eldest daughter of Tsar Alexander III)
acquired a unique library collection of books about
8.6 Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich
would became an outstanding army artillery man
8.7 Grand Duke Alexei Mikhailovich
lived only for nineteen years. He could not recover
Alexander II of Russia
(1855 - 1881)
He married Marie of Hesse and by Rhine
Their official palace of Residence was the Winter Palace in
Tsarevich Alexander Nikolaevich first met Maria in 1839
when she was 15 years old.
He wrote to his mother: "My dear Maman, I absolutely do
not care about the secrets of Maria. I love her, and I would
sooner abdicate the throne, than give her up. I will marry
only her, that is my decision."
Just before Easter the following year, their engagement was
announced. In September 1840 the festivities around the
arrival of the bride took place in St. Petersburg.
Their wedding took place on April 16th. 1841 and the
young couple settled in the Winter Palace.
Life of Tsar Alexander II
The family liked to spend the summer months in Tsarskoye Selo.
On March 13th. 1881, Alexander II became a victim of an
assassination plot in St.Petersburg. Afterwards he was carried by
sleigh to the Winter Palace.
His wife died on June 3rd. 1880 @ the Winter Palace in
Tsar Alexander would have 8 children.
1/ Alexandra Alexandrovna
Died at the age of 6.
2/ Nicholas Alexandrovich
engaged Dagmar of Denmark
Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich was born on September 8th.
1843. The best teachers of the nation took part in his education
and upbringing and a great future was waiting for him.
He was known for his kindness and charm. Familiy called him
A very important part in the upbringing of Royal children were
their trips abroad. In 1863 the Tsarevich took a trip around
many Russian cities.
The following year it was time to visit European nations. During
this trip he visited Christian IX of Denmark and he turned his
attention to Princess Dagmar, who was then 17 years.
In October 1864 the young couple said goodbye to each other in
Denmark. He traveled to Italy and in just a month's time
Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich fellt the first symptoms
of a disease. He moved to Nice at his doctor's suggestion.
There he died on April 24th. 1865.
3/ Tsar Alexander III
married: Dagmar of Denmark
4/ Vladimir Alexandrovich
Vladimir was only two years younger than Alexander.
The two brothers shared the same teachers. They also
shared their joys and sorrows.
Vladimir was interested in history and he also collected
works of art.
married: Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (Maria Pavlovna)
The couple entertained in their palaces in St. Petersburg and in
Tsarskoye Selo famous politicians, diplomats and government
officials. Their court would be a famous place for the high society.
Marie was born in May 1854 as a daughter of Friedrich Franz,
Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. In 1784 she came to
St. Petersburg not long before her marriage with Grand Duke
Vladimir Alexandrovich. She would stay in Russia for 46 years.
They would have 5 children:
served in the Imperial navy.
4.5 Elena Vladimirovna
In Cannes Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna met
Prince Maximilian of Baden. The handsome, intelligent
and elegant young man conquered Helen's heart. The two
were engaged in 1898 but a few months later their
relationship broke down.
Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna married
Nicholas, the third son of Queen Olga of Greece.
This took place on August 16th. 1902.
5/ Alexei Alexandrovich
married: Alexandra Vasilievna Zhukovskaya
6/ Maria Alexandrovna
married Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
(see page Royal families in Germany)
7/ Sergei Alexandrovich
married Elisabeth of Hesse
Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna
(elder sister of Alix of Hesse (The last Tsarina)
Elisabeth 'Ella' knew the brother of Emperor Alexander III since
their childhood. He visited Hesse regularly with his mother.
In 1884 the couple's wedding was celebrated in the large chapel
of the Winter Palace.
On February 18th. 1905 Sergei was murdered at the Kremlin
in Moscow by a Socialist-Revolutionary.
After Sergei's death Elisabeth wore mourning clothes and she
became a vegetarian. In 1909 she opened the Convent of
Saints Martha and Mary. and she became its abbess.
In 1916 Elisabeth met for the last time her sister at
In 1918 Elisabeth Feodorovna was arrested and sent to
Siberia. There Ella was assassinated on July 18th.
In 1992 the Archbishops Council of the Russian Orthodox Church
beatified Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna as saints.
8/ Paul Alexandrovich
Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich (1860-1919) was the 6th.
son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia. He and Sergei studied
and played together. The boys would remain very close during
Paul was the last child and everybody's favorite. In 1881 his
father was assassinated. The young man continued to live in
the Winter Palace and served in the elite Hussars Regiment.
Later he bought a palace in St. Petersburg. A shield with the
initials of Paul Alexandrovich was placed above the entrance.
On June 17th. 1889 Paul Alexandrovich married
Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark
The marriage of Paul and Alexandra was very successful.
They would have 2 children. A few hours after the birth of
her second child Princess Alexandra died. She only was 21
years old. She was buried in the Peter en Paul Cathedral in
St. Petersburg. Later her remains were sold to Greece.
In 1902 Paul Alexandrovich married Olga Valerianovna Karnovich.
She was a commoner and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia didn't gave his
permission to marry. The couple settled in Paris.
During World War I he was placed in the First Corps of
the Imperial guard.
In August 1918 he was taken to prison in St.Petersburg. He died on
January 29th. 1919.
Alexander III of Russia
1881 - 1894)
|Tsar Alexander III of Russia and his wife, Maria Feodorovna|
Hotel Negresco Nice - France
Dagmar of Denmark was the second daughter of King Christian IX
of Denmark and his wife Queen Louise.
On September 26th. 1866, Dagmar first set foot on Russian soil to
become betrothed to Tsarevich Alexander Alexandrovich. When
the Danish Princess stepped off the boat, she was amazed by the
large amount of people who had come to greet her at the quay.
On October 12th. Dagmar was brought into the
Orthodox faith. She took the name Maria Feodorovna.
On October 28th. 1886 the wedding festivities started in
St. Petersburg. The marriage, the wedding dinner and ball
took place in the luxurious Winter Palace. The couple would
live inter alia in the Anitchkov Palace. It was the favorite home
of Maria Feodorovna during her entire life in Russia.
Maria Feodorovna never lost contact with Denmark. A year
after their marriage Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich and
his wife made a visit to Denmark and it became yearly events.
1/ Nicholas II (last Tsar)
2/ Alexander of Russia
He died of meningitis
3/ George Alexandrovich of Russia
4/ Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia
She married her cousin Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia.
They had 7 children.
5/ Michael Alexandrovich of Russia
In 1907 Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia
was introduced to Natalia Sergeyevna Sheremetyevskaya.
At that time she was married to cavalry officer
Vladimir Vladimirovich Wilfert. This was her second marriage.
However rumors of a relation between the Grand Duke and
Natalia were spread in 1908.
Wulfert became very violent towards Natalia and she refused
to share his bed.
In July 1909 she even accused her husband of rape. She moved
to Switzerland and Grand Duke Michael was sent to the Orel
by Tsar Nicholas II.
However in August 1909 Grand Duke Michael could met his
Natalia in Copenhagen.
In December 1909 Natalia was pregnant and she feared that
her husband would claim the child and took it away from her.
In July 1910 the divorce between Wulfert and Natalia was
granted and she gave birth to a son on July 24th. 1910.
In 1911 Nicholas granted Natalia the surname Brasova and the
right to live at Michael's estate Brasovo.
On October 16th. 1912 the two married secretly in Vienna in a
Serbian Orthodox Church.
When Grand Duke Michael write to his brother Tsar Nicholas
II of Russia to inform him about his wedding, the Tsar refused
to approved it.
They even were banished from Russia.
Upon the outbreak of World War I Michael requested to return
home and to serve in the army.
After the February revolution of 1917, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated
in favor of Michael but he refused the throne.
Grand Duke Michael was taken captive in 1918 and killed in
Natalia could escape. First she went to England and later she
moved to Paris.
On January 23rd. 1952, Natalia died of Cancer in Paris in complete
She was buried in Passy Cemetery besides her son Georges.
6/ Olga Alexandrovna of Russia
In 1901 she married Duke Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg.
This marriage was annulled by the emperor in 1916.
Six months later she married Nikolai Kulikovsky.
Reign of Emperor Alexander III of Russia
The reign of Emperor Alexander III is characterized by a great
rise in the development of both Russian industry and the
On Christmas day in 1887 the Winter Palace had electrical light.
Emperor Alexander III and his son Michael were often called the
promoters of electricity in Russia.
Alexander III met Wilhelm II in St. Petersburg, after the German
emperor ascended the throne.
The German Kaiser and the Russian Tsar would visit each
other and often participate in the review of troops.
Life of Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia
In 1906 Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna's father died.
Her brother King Frederik VIII would become the new king.
Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom and her sister
Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia purchased the villa Hvidore,
In September 1907 Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and
Queen Alexandra first settled in their new seaside residence.
The flags of both England and Russia raised.
In 1914 Maria Feodorovna learned of the war between Germany
and Russia. She gathered her belongings quickly and she set off
to St. Petersburg but she was stopped in Berlin. She went to
Denmark There she stayed for a short visit. The Dowager
Empress ordered that all her valuable possessions should be
moved to Christian IX's palace at Amalienborg. Finally
Maria Feodorovna reached the Russian capital.
The Anichkov palace changed drastically. Large rooms were
transformed into a home for wounded soldiers. In the dining
room she and some ladies of the society of St.Petersburg would
prepare bandages and gift packages (clothing and linens).
The Dowager Empress ordered that hospitals had to be opened
inter alia in Minsk and in Kiev.
End March 1917, after the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II of
Russia, life became very dangerous for the Dowager Empress.
Source pictures: Wikipedia
To know more check this very interesting book:
|Russia and Europe Dynastic Ties an interesting book|