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Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna of Russia

Romanova Elizabeth

Portrait of Empress Elisabeth Alexeievna of Russia by Madame Vigee-Lebrun, 1795

Elizabeth Alexeievna was the wife of Emperor Alexander I of Russia.
Pretty girl was born in Karlsruhe, on 13 January 1779 as Princess Louise Maria Auguste of Baden. She was the third of the seven children of Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden and his wife Amelia Frederica of Hesse-Darmstadt. Her grandfathers were Charles Frederick, Margrave of Baden and Louis IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Empress Catherine the Great of Russia was looking for a bride for her eldest grandson, the future Alexander I. So, little Princess Louise became his bride. In the autumn of 1792, Louise and her younger sister Frederica came to St. Petersburg.
To tell the truth, Louise was a model of beauty, charm, and honesty. Alexander and his bride were engaged in May 1793.
Cute girl learned Russian, converted to the Orthodox Church and traded the name Louise Maria Auguste for Elizabeth Alexeievna. On September 28, 1793 the wedding took place. You know, the bride was only fourteen years old, and her husband was a year older.

The marriage began to appear first cracks after the death of Catherine the Great in November 1796. Elizabeth had a love affair with handsome Count Golovin. Later, she started a romantic liaison with Alexander’s best friend, Polish Prince, Adam Czartoryski. Their relationship lasted for three years.
On May 29, 1799, Elizabeth gave birth to her daughter, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna. There were rumors that she was the child of the Polish Prince. Soon Adam Czartoryski was sent abroad, and Elizabeth’s baby daughter did not live long.
Under the influence of the family, Alexander distanced himself from his wife and began a love affair with Maria Naryshkina. The beauty gave birth to the emperor’s son.
The emperor’s wife became involved in charity, took under her protection an orphanage and several schools in St. Petersburg. She paid special attention to the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum.
Relations in the royal family became particularly acute in 1806, when Elizabeth Alekseevna, actually abandoned by her husband, fell in love with cavalier guard Alexei Okhotnikov. A stormy love affair began. In October of the same year, Okhotnikov was fatally wounded by a hired killer on the steps of the Imperial Theater. At that time Elizabeth was on the ninth month of pregnancy from Okhotnikov. When Alexei died, the empress cut off her hair and put in the grave of her beloved.
People did not doubt that the murderer was hired by the Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, the heir to the throne.
A few days after the funeral, Elizabeth gave birth to a girl. Alexander I, who did not sleep with his legal wife for several years, officially recognized the baby. But fifteen months later the little girl died. She was buried near the grave of Okhotnikov. Few people doubt that the child was poisoned.
At the beginning of 1825, Elizabeth Alekseevna was unwell. She suffered from severe pain in the heart, shortness of breath.
Suddenly the emperor fell ill and died on November 19, 1825. The Empress was shocked – because everyone was waiting for her death!
Elizabeth died of heart failure on May 4, 1826 in Belev, Tula Province. It is known that in the morning of the demise of the Empress Maria Feodorovna arrived in Belev, already dressed in a mourning dress. First of all, she ordered to leave her alone with the deceased, removed all the family jewels from the corpse, took the letters and urgently left for St. Petersburg.
You know, Elizabeth was regarded by contemporaries as one of the most beautiful women in Europe and probably the most beautiful consort at that time.
Russian poet Alexander Pushkin dedicated his poem “I wasn’t born to amuse the Tsars” to her.

Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna of Russia