The richest heiress of an ancient aristocratic family, the princess, who at court was called nothing less than "Shining", Zinaida Nikolaevna Yusupova She became famous not only for her beauty and wealth, but also for her active charitable activities: schools, churches and hospitals were built at her expense. However, the path to personal happiness was thorny for her - her sons died one after another. It was said that this was the result of an ancient ancestral curse that persecuted more than one generation of the Yusupovs.
Zinaida Yusupova was born in 1861 in one of the most noble and wealthy families of the Russian Empire: her father, the last prince of the Yusupov family, was the owner of factories, manufactories, mines, tenement houses, estates and estates, their annual income exceeded 15 million gold rubles … Despite a life of abundance and luxury, the Yusupovs became famous for their generosity, modesty and generosity. Zinaida's father founded several charitable foundations, maintained an institute for the deaf and dumb.
Zinaida Yusupova was not only one of the most enviable brides, but also one of the first beauties of St. Petersburg. For the purity and light that she radiated, she was called the "Shining" at court. In addition, the princess received a good education, spoke several languages and was as smart and generous as her father. The most noble suitors wooed her, but they were all refused.
Her choice came as a surprise to both the family and the entire high society: the princess married a guard officer Felix Elston. This marriage was called a misalliance - the count was lower than his wife both in status and in terms of wealth. The princess firmly decided to become the wife of only the one whom she loved, and her father did not interfere with her in this, although he was dissatisfied with her choice.
Princess Yusupovs gave birth to 4 children, but two of them died in infancy. Two sons survived - Nikolai and Felix. The elder Nikolai did not want to share his parents with his brother and even offered to throw him out the window. As it turned out later, he was frightened by the stories of the servants about the ancient curse of the Yusupov family, according to which only one son could survive in each generation, and if more were born, the rest died before the age of 26. According to family tradition, the descendants of the founder of the clan, Khan Yusuf, were cursed by their relatives after they betrayed Mohammedanism and adopted Christianity.
The princess was smart enough not to believe such rumors, if this curse did not come true in every generation. She happened to be convinced of his reality when Nikolai died at the age of 26. He fell in love with a married woman, shot because of her and was killed in a duel by the husband of his beloved.
Before the revolution, the youngest son, Felix, organized the assassination of G. Rasputin, and his mother supported him in this, since she believed that he liberated Russia from the monster that was tormenting the entire country. Felix Yusupov also sincerely admired his mother: “She was not only smart, educated, artistic, but full of the most charming, heartfelt kindness. Nothing could resist her charm."
The artist V. Serov, who usually did not favor the aristocracy and did not flatter the noble ladies when he painted their portraits, agreed with this characteristic, but Princess Yusupova aroused admiration in him: “If all rich people, princess, were like you, then there would be no place for injustice. "To which Zinaida Nikolaevna replied: "You cannot eradicate injustice, and even more so with money, Valentin Alexandrovich."
In 1900, even before the death of her eldest son, the princess and her husband drew up a will, which said: “In the event of the sudden termination of our family, all our movable and immovable property, consisting of collections of fine arts, rarities and jewelry collected by our ancestors and we … bequeath to the state in the form of preserving these collections within the Empire to meet the aesthetic and scientific needs of the Fatherland. " After the revolution, the princess emigrated with her family to France. She spent the remaining 22 years of her life abroad. She was buried in the Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois cemetery near Paris.
At the expense of the princess, the Greco-Roman hall of the Museum of Fine Arts was built. Zinaida Yusupova forever remained one of the first Russian beauties who shone in high society
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