Furthermore, Victoria Louise of Prussia, great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Catherine, was a maternal great-grandmother of King Felipe VI. Swedish royalty [ edit ] Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia , a grandaughter of Catherine, was an ancestor of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in two ways, those being the same from Queen Margrethe ...
Catherine the Great: With Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Gina McKee, Kevin McNally. The life and times of the woman who reformed the Russian empire.
- Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Gina Mckee
- 2 min
Enter the World Of Catherine the Great. Helen Mirren dives into Catherine the Great's extraordinary reign and her passionate love affair that changed the course of Russian history. Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke discuss what it took to make an 18th century Russian political love story in modern times.
- 1 min
Catherine the Great was born Sophie von Anhalt-Zerbst to Prussian prince Christian August von Anhalt-Zerbst. At age 16, she married Karl Ulrich (later Peter III), the heir to the throne of Russia. Shortly after Ulrich ascended the throne, Catherine led a successful rebellion against him. Ulrich abdicated, and in September 1762 Catherine was ...
- Early Life
- Empress Catherine
- Foreign and Domestic Strife
- Government Reorganization
- Russo-Turkish War
- Succession and Death
Catherine the Great was born Sophia Frederike Auguste in Stettin, Germany (now Szczecin, Poland), on May 2, 1729 (April 21 in the Old Style calendar). She was known as Frederike or Fredericka. Her father was Prussian Prince Christian August von Anhalt-Zerbst and her mother was Princess Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. As was common for royal and noblewomen, she was educated at home by tutors. She learned French and German and also studied history, music, and the religion of her homeland, Lutheranism.
She met her future husband, the Grand Duke Peter (later known as Peter III), on a trip to Russia at the invitation of Empress Elizabeth, Peter's aunt, who ruled Russia after taking power in a coup. Elizabeth, unmarried and childless, had named Peter as her heir to the Russian throne. Peter, though the Romanov heir, was a German prince. His mother was Anna, daughter of Peter the Great of Russia, and his father was the Duke of Hostein-Gottorp. Peter the Great had 14 children by his two wives, only three of whom survived to adulthood. His son Alexei died in prison, convicted of plotting to overthrow his father. His elder daughter Anna was the mother of the Grand Duke Peter, whom Catherine married. Anna had died in 1728 following the birth of her only son, a few years after her father died and while her mother Catherine I of Russia ruled. Catherine the Great (or Catherine II) converted to Orthodoxy, changed her name, and married the Grand Duke Peter in 1745. Though Catherine had the sup...
When Czarina Elizabeth died at the end of 1761, Peter became ruler as Peter III and Catherine became the empress consort. She considered fleeing, as many thought that Peter would divorce her, but Peter's actions as emperor soon led to a coup against him. Military, church, and government leaders removed Peter from the throne, planning to install Paul, then 7 years old, as his replacement. Catherine, however, with the help of her lover Orlov won over the military in St. Petersburg and gained the throne for herself in 1762, later naming Paul as her heir. Soon after, she may have been behind Peter's death. Her early years as empress were devoted to gaining the support of the military and nobility to strengthen her claim as empress. She had her ministers carry out domestic and foreign policies designed to establish stability and peace; instituted reforms inspired by the Enlightenment, a philosophical, intellectual, and cultural movement of the 17th and 18th centuries; and updated Russia'...
Stanislas, the king of Poland, was Catherine's former lover, and in 1768 Catherine sent troops to Poland to help him suppress a revolt. The rebels brought in Turkey as an ally, and the Turks declared war on Russia. When Russia beat the Turkish troops, the Austrians threatened Russia with war. Russia and Austria partitioned Poland in 1772. By 1774, Russia and Turkey had signed a peace treaty, with Russia winning the right to use the Black Sea for shipping. While Russia was still technically at war with the Turks, Cossack Yemelyan Pugachev led a revolt at home. He claimed that Peter III was still alive and that oppression of serfs and others would be ended by deposing Catherine and reinstituting Peter III's rule. It took several battles to defeat the rebellion, and after this uprising that included many of the lower classes, Catherine backed off many of her reforms to benefit that stratum of society.
Catherine then began reorganizing government in the provinces, strengthening the role of the nobility and making operations more efficient. She also tried to reform municipal government and expand education. She wanted Russia to be seen as a model of civilization, so she paid considerable attention to the arts and sciences to establish the capital of St. Petersburgas a major center for culture.
Catherine sought the support of Austria in moving against Turkey and planned to seize Turkey'sEuropean lands. In 1787, Turkey's ruler declared war on Russia. The Russo-Turkish War took four years, but Russia gained a large amount of land from Turkey and annexed Crimea. By that time, Austria and other European powers had withdrawn from their alliances with Russia, so Catherine wasn't able to realize her plan to take over lands as far as Constantinople. Polish nationalists again rebelled against Russian influence, and in 1793 Russia and Prussia annexed more Polish territory. In 1794 Russia, Prussia, and Austria annexed the rest of Poland.
Catherine became concerned that her son Paul was not emotionally fit to rule. She planned to remove him from the succession and name Paul's son Alexander as heir. But before she could make the change, she died of a strokeon Nov. 17, 1796. Her son Paul ascended to the throne.
Russians continue to admire Catherine for increasing the boundaries of the country and streamlining its governance. At the end of her reign, Russia had broadened to the west and south over more than 200,000 square miles; provinces had been reorganized and towns renovated, expanded, or built from scratch; trade had expanded; military battles had been won; and the royal court had transformed into an attraction for the greatest minds of Europe. Catherine was a patron of literature who promoted Russian culture and one of the few women, including British Queens Elizabeth I and Victoria, to have been influential enough to have epochs named after them. Though outside observers acknowledged her energy and administrative ability, they saw her more as a harsh, unscrupulous ruler, egotistical, pretentious, and domineering, a woman of action who could be ruthless when it served her or the state. She was also widely known for being lusty, having taken young lovers up to her death at age 67."Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia." Encyclopedia Brittanica."Catherine the Great: Biography, Accomplishments & Death." Live Science."8 Things You Didn't Know About Catherine the Great." History.com.
- Catherine the Great’s name wasn’t Catherine, and she wasn’t even Russian. The woman whom history would remember as Catherine the Great, Russia’s longest-ruling female leader, was actually the eldest daughter of an impoverished Prussian prince.
- Catherine’s eldest son—and heir—may have been illegitimate. Catherine and her new husband had a rocky marriage from the start. Though the young Prussian princess had been imported to produce an heir, eight years passed without a child.
- Catherine came to power in a bloodless coup that later turned deadly. Elizabeth died in January 1762, and her nephew succeeded to the throne as Peter III, with Catherine as his consort.
- Catherine faced down more than a dozen uprisings during her reign. Of the various uprisings that threatened Catherine’s rule, the most dangerous came in 1773, when a group of armed Cossacks and peasants led by Emelyan Pugachev rebelled against the harsh socioeconomic conditions of Russia’s lowest class, the serfs.
Catherine's main interests were in education and culture. She read widely and corresponded with many of the prominent thinkers of the era, including Voltaire and Diderot. She was a patron of the ...
- The Horse Myth
- The Toilet Myth
- The Truth
Catherine the Greatwas Tsarina of Russia, one of the most powerful women in European history. So, how did the idea that she died while attempting an unusual practice with a horse become one of the most virulent myths in modern history, transmitted by whispers in school playgrounds across the western world? It's unfortunate that one of history's most interesting women is known to most people as a beast, but the combination of perverse rudeness and the relative foreignness of its subject makes this a perfect slander. People love hearing about sexual deviance, and they can believe it of a foreign person they don't know much about. So if Catherine didn't die while attempting sex with a horse (and just to reiterate, she absolutely, 100% didn't), how did the myth arise? Where did the fireless smoke come from? During past centuries the easiest way for people to offend and verbally attack their female enemies was sex. Marie Antoinette, the hated queen of France, was subjected to printed myt...
However, in recent years another myth has emerged. Take a quick look around the web, and you'll find pages debunking the idea of Catherine with the horse while stating that the great Empress of Russia died while on the toilet. Admittedly such sites are quick to point out another 'fact' as myth, that Catherine’s bloated body was so heavy it cracked the toilet (this variation was also spread by Catherine's contemporary enemies), but the toilet features prominently nonetheless. Indeed, some sources quote this from John Alexander's marvelous biography of Catherine: If you take 'closet' to mean water closet, another name for a toilet, the quote seems fairly conclusive. Unfortunately, this 'fact' isn't true but the product of a desire for belittling humor. The toilet is a common enough location of death to be true, but still intrinsically humiliating, especially for a great Empress. Much the same process is behind the spreading of this myth; it's just a little bit nicer and easier for the...
Catherine may have never recovered full consciousness after her collapse, but she wasn't yet dead. Alexander's book goes on to explain (in paragraphs rarely quoted) how Catherine was laid in her bed as doctors tried to save her body and priests made rites to save her soul. Throughout she was racked with pain, her convulsing appearance causing great distress to her consorts. It was over twelve hours after Zotov found her, well past nine o'clock at night, that Catherine finally died of natural causes, in bed and surrounded by friends and carers.
She could have been remembered internationally for many things, but sadly most people know her for horses and toilets. In a sense, her enemies in France have won the longest game of all, because while Catherine dominated her era, the historical memory of her is tarnished, and the internet has turned the whole world into one giant school playground for rumors and hate to be spread, meaning Catherine's reputation is unlikely to be corrected anytime soon.
Alexander, John T. "Catherine the Great: Life and Legend." 1 edition, Oxford University Press, November 3, 1988.
- Catherine The Great’s Early Life
- Russia’s Political Situation
- The Love Story of Catherine and Potemkin
- …And That Horse
The woman who would become Catherine the Great was born the Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst, Sophia Augusta Frederica, on May 2, 1729, in a place called Stettin, then part of Prussia but located in what would now be northwestern Poland. In 1744, Russia’s Empress Elizabeth summoned 14-year-old Sophia to Moscow to marry the man who would become Emperor Peter III, and the Russian Orthodox Church re-christened her Catherine. Catherine and Peter III’s marriage was on the rocks as soon as it began, so Catherine had a lot of alone time. (Their son, Paul I, was also taken away to be raised by Empress Elizabeth.) This period was a formative experience for her as a leader, says Virginia Rounding, author of Catherine the Greatand a historical advisor to the show. “When she was grand duchess, in a marriage that wasn’t working, and having nothing to do at court except please the empress and stay out of trouble, she spent a lot of time reading,” says Rounding. Catherine became well-versed in French phi...
During her time on the throne, Catherine the Great oversaw the expansion of the Russian Empire — as well as the conflicts that come with seizing new territory, like the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774. She also annexed Crimea, the status of which remains politically charged to this day. “She built on the legacy of Peter the Great, who founded St. Petersburg [in 1703] and began the process of integrating Russia into Europe and the rest of the world. And she took it to a further level strategically, where [Russia] could compete with great powers in Europe,” says Rounding. She was under “immense pressure,” says Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Catherine the Great & Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair. “She had a series of crises that threatened her hold on the throne. The war with Turkey against the Ottomans didn’t go well. Her son was coming of age, meaning might be able to seize power from her, and there was a huge peasant rebellion which involved the whole of south Russia.”
Catherine the Great is said to have had about a dozen lovers throughout her reign — she was a “serial monogamist,” as Montefiore puts it — but Grigory Potemkin was the love of her life. She met him on the day of the 1762 coup that put her in power; he was part of the guard that overthrew her husband. Just 24 years old at the time, he was nearly a decade younger than she was. Scholars say the affair would be described today as an open relationship, based on their love letters, that lasted until Potemkin’s death in 1791 at the age of 52. “Potemkin was sent off, with her blessing, to do the conquering for her in the south of Russia and expand the empire, and he helped choose other favorites for her so she could be satisfied until he came back,” says Rounding. Paradoxically, “she needs to be loved, and is not happy on her own, despite ruling on her own.” Montefiore points out that Catherine and Potemkin were arranging companions for one another, and that the relationships were not alway...
Ever since the HBO series was announced, one questionhas come up repeatedly among some potential viewers: how will the series address the most infamous story about its subject? Helen Mirren has been getting the same question since she took on the role: That story is the one that says Catherine the Great died while trying to have sex with a horse.But that story is just a myth. Catherine the Great liked horses and has been painted on horseback, but there is no consensus on who started the rumor or when. Experts on the ruler say it is thought to have been ginned up out of jealousy at some point in order to damage the legacy of the powerful female ruler, who some claimed had slept her way to the top. “It’s not even worth discussing,” says Montefiore. Whatever that story suggests, “she was not a nymphomaniac.” In truth, Catherine the Great died of a stroke on Nov. 17, 1796. Write to Olivia B. Waxman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oct 21, 2019 · Was Catherine the Great married? Empress Catherine II of Russia was born Princess Sophie of Prussia (now Poland). In 1745, at the age of 16, she was married through a dynastic arrangement to her ...
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