Table of contents:
- Child of the Morganatic Marriage
- Humiliating marriage with Prince Baryatinsky
- Betrayal of the second husband
- Loneliness and death in an elderly home
Catherine, the youngest daughter of Alexander II, lived a long life, was married twice and gave birth to two sons. Her happy childhood was spent in the luxury of the Winter Palace, and her beggarly old age - in a British almshouse. Both marriages were unsuccessful. Men loved by the emperor's heiress cheated on her and betrayed her. Born into a sinful bond, she seemed to be paying the price for the actions of her mother and for the suffering that she caused to the first wife of Alexander II all her life.
Child of the Morganatic Marriage
The romance between Ekaterina Dolgorukova and Alexander II began in 1866, when she was 18, and he was 30 years older, and ended with the death of the emperor in 1881.
A passionate romance with the young princess overshadowed the 40-year marriage with Maria Alexandrovna, who gave birth to the king of eight heirs. The biggest blow to the empress, which was crippled by her already poor health, was the death of her eldest son, Tsarevich Nicholas in 1865. A year later, her husband began an affair with Katya Dolgorukova, which turned out to be not an ordinary affair, but grew into true love. This relationship was immediately recognized at court. The eldest son, the heir to the throne, openly condemned his father, and Maria Alexandrovna continued to fade away.
In 1870, Alexander's favorite became the maid of honor of the empress, but she was released from all court duties, but she had the right to attend all balls and freely dance with the emperor.
Even during the life of his lawful wife, Katya gave birth to four children to the tsar, one of whom died in infancy. After the death of the empress in 1880, the emperor, despite the undisguised discontent caused by this morganatic marriage in society, married his mistress and legalized the children, giving them the surname Yuryevsky.
A happy family life did not last long, a year later the tsar died at the hands of terrorists, but managed to leave his second wife with good support. The youngest daughter Katya at that time was only 4 years old. Together with their mother, brother and sister, they were forced to leave Russia, but in 1894 Nicholas II allowed them to return.
Humiliating marriage with Prince Baryatinsky
At the beginning of the 20th century, the youngest daughter of the emperor, Catherine, was in France and met Alexander Baryatinsky, who became her husband in 1901. The young prince led a luxurious life, was smart, rich and handsome, but at the time of the wedding he had been in love correspondence with the Italian singer Lina Cavalieri for 4 years. In 1955, the film "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World" with Gina Lollobrigida in the title role will be shot about the connection between the opera diva and her Russian patron.
The young man's parents were categorically against his connection with Lina. Their other son, Vladimir, secretly married an actress in 1896, which caused serious damage to the family's reputation - for them it was a disaster. But Alexander was not worried, his love for Lina was so strong that the prince even asked Nicholas II for permission to marry. The emperor did not give his consent, and Baryatinsky, submitting to fate, was forced to marry his unloved. Even after the wedding, he did not stop correspondence with the singer, moreover, he demanded from his wife that she be kind and supportive to his beloved.
Ekaterina Aleksandrovna truly loved her husband and tried to do everything possible to win him back from her rival: she dyed her hair black, adopted Lina's manners, and even studied vocals. All efforts were in vain, even after the birth of two sons, Baryatinsky continued to love Cavalieri.
This humiliating marriage lasted 9 years and ended with the death of the prince. According to rumors, his heart could not stand the news of the marriage of his beloved. And soon Alexander's father died, leaving his grandchildren a huge fortune, which Catherine used to manage as a guardian until they came of age.
Betrayal of the second husband
In 1916, Ekaterina Aleksandrovna came back to Russia and settled near Kursk. From time to time she goes on vacation to the Crimea, where she meets Prince Sergei Obolensky, who are 12 years younger than her. Despite the big age difference, their romance grew into a legal marriage. At first, Catherine's new life was developing well - a secure life and family happiness in the person of her beloved husband and children.
A year after the wedding, a revolution began, which robbed the family of security and money. They miraculously managed to survive - with fake passports, they fled to Kiev, and from there to England. There, left without money, Catherine dragged the whole family on her. Being a good concert singer, she performed in music halls, restaurants and other venues where she was invited to work. The financial situation still remained deplorable, and even the death of Catherine's mother, after which a good inheritance should have remained, did not improve it. Princess Yuryevskaya did not take care of the fate of the children and squandered all the funds left by the emperor.
In 1922, Prince Obolensky abandons his impoverished wife and leaves for Australia, where he meets the daughter of a millionaire and socialite Ava Astor.
Loneliness and death in an elderly home
After the divorce, Catherine remained to live in England, and by the age of 45 she was a successful singer, known under the name Obolenskaya-Yuryevskaya. She was often invited to various events where she sang for the British and migrants from Russia. Yuryevskaya's repertoire included more than 200 songs in Russian, English, French and Italian.
Having settled in England, Catherine converted from Orthodoxy to Catholicism. In 1932, with her modest savings, she bought a small house in Hampshire in the south of Great Britain - the climate in this area was beneficial for the princess suffering from asthma.
Ekaterina Alexandrovna enjoyed the favor of Queen Mary (the grandmother of the now reigning Elizabeth II) and for many years lived on her support. In 1953, after the Queen's death, an elderly woman was left without funds and was forced to sell her property, jewelry and clothes. Later, she will sell her only home and move to a nursing home in the same Hampshire, where she will die in complete oblivion in 1959. Only her ex-husband Sergei Obolensky and nephew Alexander Yuryevsky were at the funeral of the youngest heiress of the Russian emperor.
Catherine's eldest son Andrei emigrated from Russia, having lost everything, earned a living by physical labor and died 15 years earlier than his mother - in 1944. The younger Alexander lived a long life and died in 1922 in the small American town of Grant Pass.
There are still many dark spots in the history of the Russian monarchy. So historians to this day are wondering which of the Russian tsars was a freemason, and about whom they talk in vain.
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