Princess Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova was one of the most educated women of her time. It was a unique case in world practice, when a woman was the head of two Academies of Sciences (St. Petersburg and Moscow) for about eleven years. By the way, she took an active part in the overthrow of Peter III (an ardent follower of Prussia who did not like Russia). As a result of the palace coup in 1762 Catherine II became the Empress of Russia.
Dashkova was born on March 17, 1743 into the family of Count Roman Illarionovich Vorontsov and was the third daughter. Her mother Marfa Surmina died when Katya was two years old. The godmothers of the little girl were Empress Elizabeth Petrovna and her nephew Peter, the future Peter III.
Even during the life of the mother, the elder daughters Mary and Elizabeth Vorontsova were maids of honor in the palace, and sons Alexander and Semyon worked in public office. The father gave his younger daughter Katya to his brother Mikhail Illarionovich, the great chancellor of the Empress Elizabeth. Katya was brought up with his daughter Anna. You know, at the age of 14 Ekaterina was able to speak four languages. Moreover, 15-year-old girl had a personal library of 900 volumes, mostly French philosophers and naturalists.