Author Topic: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children  (Read 24527 times)

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Offline ivanushka

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Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« on: May 09, 2007, 12:20:07 PM »
Having checked the threads, I see that Ivan VI doesn't have a thread and I think he deserves one!

He has to be the most ill fated ruler in history.  He becomes Tsar at the age of two months, is deposed at the age of eighteen months, is separated from his family at the age of four, grows up in solitary confinement and is then murdered at the age of 24.  What an appalling life! 

His siblings didn't have it much better.  They grew up under virtual house arrest in Kholmogory and only when they were all nudging forty were they allowed to leave Russia for Denmark where their father's sister was the dowager Queen.  It appears that they weren't happy there and in the early nineteenth century the one remaining sister actually wrote to Emperor Alexander I begging to be allowed to return to Russia.  Sadly her request was never answered and she died in Denmark a few years later.

It's one of the fascinating "What if's" of history.  How would Russian history have played out if Ivan had never been deposed but grown up to be Emperor.  What sort of ruler would he have been?  Would he have continued Russia's move towards superpower status?  Who would he have married?  Would his sisters have married into other European royal families and started dynasties of their own?  The questions go on and on...

Does anyone have pictures of Ivan in captivity and of his siblings?  It's so hard to find information about them.


Offline Yseult

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2007, 01:20:58 PM »
What a fascinating thread!
If they were in russian history two grand dukes and two grand duchesses absolutely forgotten, I swear these were the four siblings of Ivan VI: Catherine, Elisabeth, Peter and Alexei. It is so strange, cause one of them -Catherine- lived until 1807.
All that I have found it is that they were settled in Jutland, but I really wish to know more about the four of them...

Offline scarlett_riviera

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2007, 03:30:05 PM »
I feel so bad for Ivan VI. I've only seen a painting of his death scene on Wikipedia. Really horrible!
I can't believe they were so cruel as to actually lock-up a child and let him waste away for so many years. Surely, if they felt sooo threatened by him, there were other ways- more humane ways -to handle his banishment? Poor kid. 

In memory of Grand Duke Dimitri! The man had style.

Offline Yseult

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2007, 03:46:40 PM »
I also feel a great pity for Anna Leopoldovna. She was really a pawn, and she paid a great price for her lack of political wisdom after the death of her aunt Anna Ivanovna.

Offline ivanushka

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2007, 05:58:31 AM »
I completely agree, Scarlett.  How could anyone have done that to a child?  The only royal fate that comes close (that I'm aware of) is that of Louis XVII, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette who was separated from his mother at the age of eight and spent months locked away in a dark room seeing no one.  His treatment did improve after that but he died in prison at the age of only ten.  You'd have thought they could have treated Ivan in a more humane way - especially as Empress Elizabeth was considered to be a warm hearted woman - but I suppose there was the constant fear of him being abducted and used as a tool to stage a coup if he were in any way visible to the public.

Yseult, the book "Five Empresses" by Ansimov has the most comprehensive discussion of the lives of Ivan's siblings that I've yet come across.  Poor Catherine, the sibling who survived the longest and wrote the pitiful letter to Emperor Alexander was quite deaf and thus very dependant on her brothers and sisters.  Apparently her hearing was damaged on the night her brother Ivan was deposed.  In the scuffle in the royal appartments, Catherine was picked up from her crib and then accidentally dropped, damaging her hearing. 

I also agree with you that Anna Leopoldovna was a very unlucky woman.  Her own mother died shortly after Anna Ivanovna became Empress and she had no contact with her father, the Duke of Mecklenburg Schwerin.  Anna Ivanovna doesn't seem to have had any great maternal feelings towards her niece and did little to prepare her to rule the country - hence the ease with which she and her son were overthrown.

The only picture I've ever seen of the internet of the adult Ivan is the one on Wikipedia that you mentioned, Scarlett.  I did, years ago, see a drawing in a book that represented the meeting between Ivan and Peter the third.  I don't know if it was just a drawing for the book or a copy of a painting - it looked very detailed so I suspect it was a painting, but I can't find a copy of it anywhere!!!

One rather touching aspect to this tragic story is that the children's father, Anton Ulrich of Brunswick, was offered the chance of returning to his native Germany (on the accession of Catherine the Great I think) but his children would have to stay in Russia in case they were ever needed for succession purposes.  Anton Ulrich refused to leave his children and remained in Kholmogory with them for the rest of his life.

Offline scarlett_riviera

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2007, 06:12:31 AM »
Thanks for more info on Ivan's life, Ivanushka. I didn't realize other members of his family suffered a lot as well. They did not deserve to experience such a horrible tragedy, especially the children, but due to other people's greed and cruelty, their lives were sacrificed in one way or another.
I can only imagine the day-to-day horror Ivan VI had to go through. The mental torture alone must have been horrific! And to think he had to bear with that kind of abuse for twenty-something years- only to be brutally murdered just as he was being rescued. Really, really unfortunate. I also feel bad for Louis XVII... but what makes Ivan's situation seem more horrible is that he had to endure it for far much longer.

In memory of Grand Duke Dimitri! The man had style.

Offline ivanushka

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2007, 04:15:51 PM »
Scarlett, you're right about Ivan's day to day existence being horrific.  From what I've read on him, it seems that the fact he was separated from his family at such a young age and kept in solitary confinement meant that he quickly forgot there was a world outside his prison cell - perhaps a blessing in the circumstances.  Though he knew that he was Empreror and kept telling his guards so, he never asked to leave his cell and see the world outside.  Ultimately his mind suffered and when Emperor Peter the third met him in prison he encountered a tall, pale thin young man, barefoot and dressed in a shabby sailor suit who announced that the real Ivan VI had been taken away to heaven years ago but that he was standing in for his namesake's claims.

The really tragic thing is that even if the coup in 1764 that led to his murder had been successful, poor Ivan was too mentally damaged to have ever been more than a pathetic puppet dominated by others.  It's sad as from what I can gather his brothers and sisters grew up to be decent, warm hearted people and chances are Ivan would have been the same had he been allowed to develop normally.  He could well have been a good and kind Emperor had he only been given a chance.

Offline scarlett_riviera

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2007, 09:40:00 PM »
How mentally damaged was he? I heard he can read and write though... is that true? And wasn't there anyone who showed him a little love or something? Cause I really feel bad for him.

In memory of Grand Duke Dimitri! The man had style.

Offline ivanushka

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2007, 10:09:35 AM »
Scarlett, I feel bad for him too!  It's one of those stories that once heard about you can never forget.

I don't know how mentally damaged he was, but growing up the way he did it's hard to see how he could have come out of that a "normal" human being.  I too had heard that he could read and write.  I think that when he was under house arrest with his parents a local pastor taught him his letters.  However, bearing in mind that he was only four when he was taken away, I doubt his literacy levels could have been anything more than basic.

I don't think he was ever shown any love or kindness from the age of four onwards.  Apparently, when he was about sixteen, the Empress Elizabeth decided that she wanted to meet him and had his prison changed from Kholmogory to the Schulluselburg (spelling?!) fortress in St Petersburg.  She had a meeting with him in- hidden behind a curtain I believe so that he couldn't see her, and afterwards she had the grace to cry when she saw what she had done to him. 

Offline Vasaborg

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2007, 09:10:56 AM »
Can anyone tell me if Ivan VI s siblings married and had children?

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2007, 09:54:55 AM »
No, they didn't as far as I know. The book the Five Empresses has the most info on the siblings of Ivan VI. I can't remember the author's name off the top of my head though . It was a Russian author translated into English. The siblings of Ivan VI had a sad life, perhaps sadder than his. They lived with their father in exile after a certain point, but they never had freedom, really, in the real sense. At the very least, they were never free of the past, never free to have their own lives.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2007, 10:21:18 AM by imperial angel »

Offline Vasaborg

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2007, 10:06:01 AM »
Thank you for that information! Sorry i took so long to reply, i was look through other other forums on this wonderful site!

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2007, 10:12:43 AM »
Glad to be a help! There might be more info on Ivan VI  and his family as well on some other thread here. The author of the book is Evegeni V. Anisimov, and it was published a few years back.

Offline ivanushka

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2007, 11:30:57 AM »
No, they didn't as far as I know. The book the Five Empresses has the most info on the siblings of Ivan VI. I can't remember the author's name off the top of my head though . It was a Russian author translated into English. The siblings of Ivan VI had a sad life, perhaps sadder than his. They lived with their father in exile after a certain point, but they never had freedom, really, in the real sense. At the very least, they were never free of the past, never free to have their own lives.

I'm sure they didn't, otherwise Ansimov would have mentioned them.  The book was so thorough - the most comprehensive account of the life of Ivan and his siblings that I've ever managed to find.

Though I agree that Ivan's siblings had sad lives, I don't think they were sadder than Ivan's.  Imagine being separated from you family at the age of four and spending your whole life in solitary confinement.  It makes me shudder just to think about it.  Poor Ivan - his only crime having a better right to the throne than anyone.  At least his brothers and sisters had each other and their father to look to for support.  It sounds as if they were a very close knit and loving group.


Offline Vasaborg

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Re: Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ioann VI and other children
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2007, 04:40:22 PM »
Thanks everyone for all the information!