Table of contents:
- Why didn't the empress get married?
- Catherine I: the path from Cinderella to Empress
- Anna Ioanovna and her friend Ernst Biron
- Elizaveta Petrovna - the man's throne was not given
- Catherine II, who "stole" the throne from her husband
In a famous song it is sung that "no king can marry for love." Kings were kings, but if the kings, albeit in not entirely righteous ways, improved their personal lives, then with the princesses, and even more so with the empresses, marriage and the birth of children were not so simple. Why marriage, in their case, could be dangerous for the throne and what was the threat of "hazing" love relationships?
It would seem that the tsar's daughter is an enviable bride. Wealth, status, connections - any foreign prince, and even more so, a local prince, would be happy to intermarry with the king. But, despite the high demand for brides in the market, the girls who were lucky enough to be born into a royal family whiled away their lives locked up in monasteries and towers. For 200 years of the existence of tsars in Russia, 31 princesses were born. 15 of them died before reaching youth, only three of the remaining married, most remained unmarried. At that time, this meant only one righteous road - to the monastery. It was there that women of royal blood lived out their inglorious age.
Why were the fathers against their marriages and simply ruined the fate of their daughters? There are two reasons for this. Marriages with foreigners were complicated by religious differences. The Tsar's daughter could not accept another faith, and foreigners did not want to accept Orthodoxy, live together, but each with his own faith was too difficult by those standards. Therefore, marriages with foreigners were a very controversial decision. As for the local princes, the kings, more often than not, found it humiliating to give their daughters to those of lower rank. But this is the official version. Another and more plausible one is the possibility of a coup d'etat in the presence of children from such marriages.
Why didn't the empress get married?
Four empresses who occupied the throne in the 18th century: Catherine I, Anna Ioannovna, Elizabeth Petrovna and Catherine II, at the time of their reign, did not have official husbands. There are several reasons for this, most of which rests on the fact that the presence of a spouse would mean the absence of rights to the throne. • The thoroughly patriarchal society of those years (yes, even though the monarch is a woman), allowed a woman to occupy the throne only as a rare exception due to the lack of age-appropriate male heirs. If the empress had officially married, then, with a greater degree of probability, she would have lost the throne if her husband had wanted to claim it. • Choose the empress as a husband of one of the nobles, it would immediately lead to a split in the palace, a change in existing priorities and the alignment of forces. Most likely, there would be opposition. • The presence of a spouse could end sadly for the empress herself, because all the empresses occupied the throne during the most terrible intrigues and coups d'état. If a new surname suddenly appeared with a claim to the imperial one, it would provoke a new wave of coup d'etat attempts. • Absolutely any contender for the hand and heart of the Empress was below her in status, and their official marriage would lead to a fall in the authority not only of the state leader, but also of the country itself in front of other countries and kings.
So, if the empress decided to officially marry, then in all respects she would very much limit herself in power and would lose her authority. And since it was this lady, by the will of fate, was the empress, then she had the appropriate character - she would not have exchanged power and authoritarianism for love and emotions. Count Nikita Panin's words, which he uttered upon learning that Catherine II wanted to become the wife of Grigory Orlov, describe the situation in which the empresses were placed in the best possible way: “The Russian empress can do whatever she wants, but Mrs. Orlova cannot be the Russian empress ".
Catherine I: the path from Cinderella to Empress
Cinderella is still a very elegant nickname for the empress, she was called both the field wife and the Chukhon empress, because her biography is full of speculation and not very royal details. But she was the first woman to ascend the Russian throne. Her real name is Martha, her parents are peasants, the girl was left alone early, her parents died of the plague. So she ended up in the pastor's house. Then she got married, but her husband left for the war two days after the wedding, she was left alone again and ended up in besieged territory. It was there that the beauty was noticed by the soldiers and taken as a concubine to Prince Menshikov. According to another, more decent version, Martha was serving on the housework of the colonel, and it was from him that Menshikov begged her to help around the house. And already at the latter, she caught the eye of Peter I and the next year gave birth to his son, and then the second. Both of them did not live long. The tsar moved his mistress to his summer residence and left it under the supervision of his sister.
It was at that time that Marta became Catherine and was baptized, daughters Anna and Elizabeth were born. Peter introduced her as an official spouse, took her with him on military campaigns, where, according to legend, she helped the troops get out of the encirclement, buying off jewelry presented by the sovereign. Already the official queen gave birth to a total of her 11 heirs, but only the eldest daughters survived. Catherine and Peter were very close, and it was she who managed to restrain his violent temper and direct his initiative in the right direction. Peter did not leave a will after death, thereby condemning the throne to undercover games and palace coups. Officially, the throne was to pass to his grandson Peter Alekseevich.
Catherine was adored by the guards, because she more than once went on campaigns with them, slept on hard mattresses and without a murmur endured hardships and hardships with them, rode a man's saddle, and was physically enduring. She advocated an increase in the salaries of soldiers, personally inspected the troops and even appeared on the battlefield. It was their intercession that helped her become the first empress. Despite the fact that the relationship between the tsar and the tsarina was close and trusting, Peter was a womanizer, and besides, he devoted his spouse to all his adventures. When he began to suspect his wife of infidelity, he immediately executed the alleged lover, and presented his head to Catherine on a platter. For a long time they lived apart, but before the death of the king they made up.
Marta-Ekaterina lived with Peter for more than 20 years, a long enough time to nurture ambitions. The term of her reign was just over two years, but it was 26 months of revelry and debauchery. It seems that she adopted the style of her late husband's behavior and changed favorites like gloves. These were both eminent aristocrats and simply handsome for one night. All this was accompanied by abundant libations. This way of life seriously undermined the health of the empress, and she died at the age of 43.
Anna Ioanovna and her friend Ernst Biron
Peter's niece, she, as a representative of the Romanov dynasty, was distinguished by a more productive outlook on life and ruled for 10 years. Peter I was perhaps the first Russian emperor to marry a princess to a foreigner. But here we are not talking about great mercy, it was a strategic move that was supposed to make the two dynasties related. This was the most advantageous outcome of the war with Prussia for both sides. However, Anna stayed as the wife of the Prussian duke for exactly two months, her newly-minted husband died suddenly. Her uncle forbade her to return to her homeland, the treasury was empty, because Anna lived very limitedly. It was this circumstance that became the reason for inviting Anna as a pretender to the throne, when the need arose. It was assumed that Anna, not spoiled by wealth, would easily agree to the terms of the aristocracy.
Among other restrictions that Anna agreed to by signing an agreement with the Privy Council, there was also marriage. By this time, the empress already had a favorite - Ernst Biron. For obvious reasons, his arrival in Russia together with the new empress in the royal palace was met with very skepticism, because many had their own plans for the personal life of Anna Ioanovna. Biron immediately became known as the main rivals and those who prevent him from exerting maximum pressure on the empress. However, there is no compelling reason to believe that Anna and Biron had a close relationship, it is likely that he was just a friend at court.
Elizaveta Petrovna - the man's throne was not given
Despite the fact that the long reign of Anna Ioanovna had already generated dissatisfaction in society with the fact of the absence of a male monarch, this did not become a reason for Elizabeth not to try to carry out her plans to seize power. The daughter of two monarchs, she possessed all the qualities necessary to govern the state, which she demonstrated over the 20 years of her reign. A huge period even at that time. She not only managed to hold out at the head of state for so many years, deftly maneuvering among palace intrigues and suppressing coup attempts, but also did a lot for the development of the country, including its cultural enlightenment.
Elizabeth was Peter's beloved daughter and had a tremendous influence on him. Despite the possibilities, she only studied languages, geography, danced and loved to dress up. The father planned to marry her profitably, but his plans were not destined to come true. The death of her parents and the absence of any supervision allowed her to lead an idle lifestyle, however, Empress Anna Ioanovna sent a person capable of claiming her place away. The seizure of power by Elizabeth and her associates was the most bloodless in history. The company of grenadiers, which helped her to implement the plan, was immediately awarded and even elevated to the nobility.
Elizabeth did not have an official, let alone a husband, but even a favorite. Already from her youth, after unsuccessful attempts to get her married, she realized that a wild life was very much to her liking. From time to time, she was credited with novels with Alexei Razumovsky, then with Ivan Shuvalov, but there is no official confirmation of their connection. It was believed that the empress had a son whom she gave birth in secret, it was this rumor that gave rise to a lot of false heirs after her death.
Catherine II, who "stole" the throne from her husband
Catherine, who was destined to become the next empress, was chosen by Elizabeth herself. Realizing that Pyotr Fedorovich, whom she identified as her heir to the throne, does not have a sufficiently strong character, she decided to reinforce his authority by making him related with European surnames. It was for this that the eminent, but not rich Catherine was discharged from Prussia. Spouse Peter was too infantile and marital relations did not work out, Catherine entertained herself by studying law and economics. She received a fairly good education in childhood, which became an excellent foundation for her future emperor. Soon, Catherine gives birth to her son Paul, despite the fact that many had good reason to believe that the father was not Peter, but a certain Saltykov, even the outward resemblance of Paul to Peter refutes this fact. Paul is taken away from the young mother for upbringing, and the unloved wife and rejected mother is left to her own devices.
Passionate and energetic, she excites the hearts of men, she has many admirers. She was credited with a long romance with Lieutenant Grigory Orlov, she even gave birth to an illegitimate son. Peter threatened to exile his wife to the monastery as soon as he inherited the throne. But fate decreed otherwise, and Catherine spent much more time on the throne than her untimely deceased husband.
It was during the reign of Catherine that the dawn of "favoritism" fell, after Orlov was dismissed, the empress led a more riotous lifestyle, and her favorites were not allowed to deal with state issues. But she parted with them amicably, gave estates, titles, no one went into opposition. Many rumors and conjectures are associated with the name of the last Russian empress, testifying to her lasciviousness and promiscuity in relationships. Now it is clear where the now well-established "crazy empress" came from, because personal life, which is considered to be unworkable for historians without a husband, in fact turns out to be stormy and loud. Knowing the female nature, many aristocratic families tried to promote “their own” to the role of the Empress's favorites in order to influence her. This is just a small part of intrigue and gossip, who reigned at the courts, there were also their own ways of getting rid of unwanted.