Author Topic: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I  (Read 65415 times)

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Offline Lisa

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2006, 04:51:53 AM »
MARIA FEODOROVNA, Pavel's second wife:

as Sophie Dorothée of Wurtemberg: by BOTMAN ; in the 1770's:
1780's SKORODUMOV: ; LAMPI the old: ; 1782-87 after BATONI: ; VON SIEVERS ; ;

Offline Lisa

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2006, 05:12:06 AM »
the same:
1770's ROSLIN: ;
by LAMPI: ; ; 1795
1780's: ; ;
1790's VOILLE: ; 1796 VEBER ; 1796 BOROVIKOVSKI ; 1795's VIGEE LEBRUN:
1800's ; 1817 ; 1828 KRONNOVETTER ; 1820-30's ; 1832 SCHULTZ

to be continued...
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Lisa »

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2006, 12:05:03 PM »
This Empress had an interesting life, from the murder of her husband, to the mysterious death of her son, some saying he slipped away to lead a new life. She saw many family tragedies, but all the while lived through it, and stayed quiet. She was in many ways typical of the German royal families from which she came. She was someone who performed her duties, stood by her husband, had many kids, and played a important but secondary role to all that went on around her. She wasn't a dynamic personality ( nor was she this in looks) but she was generally a good consort. One wonders sometimes what she must have thought of it all.  ;)

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2006, 08:34:53 AM »
That is a nice portrait, very 18th century. I think she must have been a strong woman to to survive everything she went through, which was alot. She passed her height from her family the Wurttemburgs in Germany into the Romanov line, resulting in those tall Romanov grand dukes that you still saw generations later.

Offline Miguelemejia

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2006, 03:50:44 PM »
I wrote this article abour his life for wikipedia

 Part I

Maria Feodorovna was born in Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland) on October 25, 1759 as Princess Sophie Marie Dorothea Auguste Louise of Württemberg. She was the daughter of Friedrich II Eugen, Duke of Württemberg and his wife Friederike Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt.

Princess Sophie Dorothea, as she was known in her family, was brought up in Montbeliard, the seat of the junior branch of the house of Württemberg to which she belonged, and at Etupes, were her parents had their court. Montbeliard was a culture center and many intellectual and political figures frequented her parents’ residence. Princess Sophie’s education was better than the average in the cultural oriented paternal home and she would love the arts all her life. She was raised according to French fashion and refinements, as was the custom of that era, but with German bourgeois simplicity.

In 1773, Sophie Dorothea, was among the group of German Princesses considered as possible wife of the heir of the Russian throne, the future Tsar Paul I. However, Sophie of Württemberg was not yet fourteen years old at that time, and Wilhelmina of Hesse-Darmstadt (Natalia Alexeievna) a princess of a more appropriated age was chosen instead.

Sophie was engaged to Princess Louis of Hesee, brother of Paul’s first wife, but when the Russian heir to the throne became a widower in 1776, Frederick II of Prussia proposed Sophie as the ideal candidate to be Paul’s second wife. Sophie’s former fiancé, the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt, received a monetary compensation when the engagement was broken. Sophia was seventeen years old and pleased with the prospect of being Empress of Russia. When her mother lamented the unfortunate destiny of some Russian sovereigns, she replied that her only concerned was to make her way in her new country quickly and successfully.

The Russian Empress, Catherine II, was delighted with the idea. The princess of Württemberg shared with her not only a similar education but also the same original name and place of birth. Frederick II arranged the marriage and Sophie was summoned to Berlin where Paul joined her. They met for the first time at a state dinner given in honor of his arrival in Berlin. Sophie was eager to please, having learned that Paul’s tastes were serious; she talked geometry to him at their first interview. Next day she wrote a glowing letter to a friend in which she declared that she was ‘madly in love’. Paul was as happy with the young princess as she was with him. “I found my intended to be such as I could have dreamed of ’’Paul wrote to his mother, “She is tall, shapely, intelligent, quick-witted, and not at all shy.” Sophia’s first impressions were not less enthusiastic.” I am more than contend.” She wrote. “Never, dear friend, could I be happier. The Grand Duke could not be more kind. I pride myself on the fact that my dear bridegroom loves me a great deal, and this makes me very, very fortunate.” By early fall, she had fallen deeply in love with her future husband. “I cannot go to bed, my dear and adored Prince, without telling you once again that I love and adored you madly,” she wrote to Paul. Soon after arriving at St Petersburg that September, she converted to the Orthodox Church, took the title of Grand Duchess of Russia and traded the name Sophia Dorothea for Maria Feodorovna. The wedding took place on September 26, 1776.

 Grand Duchess of Russia
 

Paul was ugly and of nervous difficult character, however Maria Feodorovna was completely satisfied with her fate. “ This dear husband is an angel, I am madly in love with him.” She would write in a letter.

Catherine II, at least at the beginning, was enchanted with her daughter in law of which she wrote to a friend; “I confess to you that I am infatuated with this charming Princess, but literally infatuated. She is precisely what one would have wished: the figure of a nymph, a lily and rose complexion, the loveliest skin in the word, tall and well built; she is grateful; sweetness, kindnesses and innocence are reflected in her face.” However, the relationship between Catherine II and Maria Feodorovna turned sour quickly. Naturally, Maria sided with her neglected husband in the acrimony between the Empress and her son, and the Grand Duchess good intention to eased the difficult situation only aggravated the differences between them.

In December of 1777 Maria gave birth the first of her ten children, the future Tsar Alexander I, just three months later Catherine took the new born away to raise him on her terms without the interference of the parents.  When a second son was born in April 1779, Catherine II did the same thing. This caused bitter animosity with Catherine who allowed the parents only weekly visits. For the next four years, the couple did not have more children. Deprived of rearing her eldest sons Maria Feodorovna had to occupy herself decorating the Palace of Pavlovsk, Catherine’s II gift to celebrate the birth of her first grandson. Maria’s efforts would produce one of the most beautiful estates in all Russia.

 

Offline Miguelemejia

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2006, 03:52:21 PM »
Part II

Personality

Maria Feodorovna was not a great beauty, but was tall, fair, fresh, extremely shortsighted and inclined to be stout. Her carriage was indisputable regal, and she loved the pomp and ceremony associated with court life. She also had a taste for splendor and a passionate interest in small court intrigues. Particularly tenacious of her rank, she was prepared to spend the whole day from morning until night in full dress without respite or fatigue, she implacable imposed the same burden on all her entourage, and was ruled by etiquette in the most intimate details of her domestic life. She loved order and regularity.

Unlike, the Romanovs, she was frugal, a rare virtue in a princess of that time, but she came from a large family that for long time was only a minor branch of the house of Württemberg.

Her even temper and her patience were instrumental in knowing how to deal with a difficult husband and make a success of her marriage. Her parsimony was such that as a new Grand Duchess, she did not hesitate to take over the clothes of her husband first wife and to dispute with the lady’s maids the very slippers of the defunct Nathalie.

Maria Feodorovna cultivated the arts with great enthusiasm not disdaining even needlework. At Pavlovsk she gathered a literary circle in imitation of that Etupes and she organized theatricals for her husband, who delighted in that amusement. In addition to all this, she found time to devote her energies to the great charities and educational institutions. Serious and purposeful, she pride herself in being more clever than her mother in law, never losing and opportunity of contrasting her own impeccable virtue with her mother in law’s failing. She was equally watchful to attack Catherine’s favorites Potemkin and Mamonof.


Clever, talented, purposeful and energetic, Maria Feodorovna would make a nearly perfect Imperial wife, and Paul for many years would be a model husband deeply in love with the woman he married.

 Under Catherine II


Paul and Maria asked Catherine for permission to travel abroad to Western Europe. In September 1781, under the pseudonyms of the Count and Countess Severny, the heir to the Russian throne and his wife set off on a journey that lasted fourteen months and took them to Poland, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. Paris made a special impression on the couple. In Austria, Joseph II, comparing Maria Feodorovna with her husband found her superior.

During their visit to Italy, they gave proved to be much in love, surprising their traveling companions when Paul could not stop giving kisses in public to his wife. On their way, back to St Petersburg, Maria went to Württemberg to visit her parents. At the end of 1782, they returned to Russia and Maria devoted her attention to her Palace at Pavlovsk, there she gave birth to Alexandra Pavlovna, the first of six daughters she would bear during the next twelve years. To celebrate Alexandra’s birth, Catherine II gave them the Palace of Gatchina that would occupy Paul attention until he was called to the throne. Catherine II let the parents raised their daughters.

Maria Feodorovna proved to be very fertile and had ten children: four sons and six daughters. From the on the Russian Imperial house, who until then consisted of only Paul, would be a large family. The younger children were given up to the parents.

During the long years of Catherine’s reign, Maria and Paul were forced to live in isolation in Gatchina with a tight income. They remained a devoted couple. Maria Feodorovna moderated the extreme elements in her husband character’s having a beneficial influence over him. She continued to beautify Pavlovsk, and dedicated herself to charitable work among its inhabitants. She was devoted to expanding her modest literary salon and ardently planned infrequent theatrical and musical evenings for her family and friends. She herself was an adept player of the harpsichord and loved to read. She kept voluminous diaries that recorded her life in detail. However, in keeping with her last wishes, Nicholas I burned all these volume s after her death. Even most of the letters she wrote had no survived since she usually requested that her letters were burnt.

The close relationship between Paul and Catherine Nelidova, one of Maria Feodorovna’s ladies in waiting, was cause of the first crack in their marriage. Her relations with Nelidova were very bitter for several years. Paul’s liaison, a deeply intense, but according to him, only platonic attachment to Nelidovna, one of Maria’s ladies-in-waiting was particularly painful for Marie Feodorovna, as the other woman had been her friend. Later she began to accept Paul word that it was only a friendship and eventually Maria not only reconciled with the idea, but joined forces with Nelidovna in attempt to moderate Paul’s increasingly neurotic temperament.





Offline Miguelemejia

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2006, 03:54:09 PM »
Part III

 Empress

After twenty years in the shadows, the death of Catherine II in 1796, allowed Maria Feodorovna as Empress consort to have a prominent role. During Catherine’s’ lifetime, Maria Feodorovna had no chance of interfering in affairs of state, from which Paul himself was excluded, but after her husband’s accession to the throne, she took to politics at first timidly but afterwards increasingly resolutely. Her influence over her husband was great and in general beneficial. It is possible that she abused it in order to help her friends or hurt her enemies.

Maria Feodorovna had exceptional taste. The palaces of Gatchina, Czarkoye, the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and the Hermitage were decorated and furnished under her personal guidance. She loved all the arts and supported them generously. Her most important heritage to Russia however was the establishment of the first schools for women as well as numerous charity organizations in the empire. These institutions existed until the revolution of 1917. As Empress, she helped as much as possible her numerous poor relations, some of which as her brother, Alexander (1771-1833), were invited to Russia.

Although Paul and his wife were not as close as they once had been, there remained a good deal of warmth between them. Their relationship suffered further in the last years of Paul’s life. After Maria Feodorovna gave birth to her tenth and last child in 1798, Paul got infatuated with, nineteen-year-old Anna Lopukhina, . Yet again, Paul assured his wife that his behavior was irreproachable and that the relationship was of a paternal nature. Paul was Emperor for exactly four years, four months and four days. He was murdered on 12 March 1801.

On the night of her husband assassination, Maria Feodorovna thought of imitating the example of Catherine II and tried to proclaim herself Empress, on the grounds that she had been crowned with Paul. It took Alexander I several days to persuade her to relinquish her reckless claim; in any case, she had no party to support her. For some time afterwards, whenever her son came to visit, the Dowager Empress would place a casket between them containing the bloodstained nightshirt that Paul was wearing on the day of the murder, as a silent reproach. The strained relationship between mother and son improved and thanks to the new Tsar, Maria Feodrovna, only forty-two years old when she became a widow, kept the highest female position at court. In public ceremonies, Maria Feodorovna often took the emperor’s arm, while the Tsarina Elisabeth had to walk behind. This custom of precedence of the dowager Empress over the wife of the reigning monarch, was introduced with her and was unique to the Russian court, it caused resentment with Maria’s daughter in law.

Maria Feodorovna not only had the highest female rank in the empire, but managed all the charitable establishments, controlled the bank for loans and enjoyed a considerable income. This substantial revenue made possible for her to live in grand style. Her apartments were furnished with richness and great taste. Perpetuating the tradition of Catherine II, she attended parades in military uniform, the cordon of an order across her breast. Her elegant, gay receptions, at which she appeared sumptuously dressed, surrounded by ladies in waiting and chamberlains, were in sharp contrast with the simple court life of Tsar Alexander I whose retiring ways and the withdrawn personality of his wife were not match to the Dowager Empress old splendor in the style of the time of Catherine the Great.

The future of her daughters and the education of her three younger children took Maria’s attention on the first years of her widowhood. Her son Alexander I let her total control over the future Nicholas I and his younger brother Grand Duke Michael. Maria Feodorovna tried in vain to surpass the formation Catherine had provided to her two eldest sons but she did not choose the best teacher’s for the young ones. Once all her children were grown up, the dowager tsarina maintained an avid correspondent with them but being of a cold temperament, Maria Feodorovna could be cool and remote.


Offline Miguelemejia

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2006, 03:55:04 PM »
Part IV
The Dowager Empress exalted position made her Palace at Pavlovsk a mandatory place to visit for the great personages of St. Petersburg, but her attempts at having more political influence over her son’s policies were not very successful. She vehemently opposed any approach her son made to get to an agreement with Bonaparte. In this, she was as haughty and categorical. When the French Emperor proposed to get married with her youngest daughter, Anna Pavlovna, Maria Feodorovna strongly opposed the proposed marriage. Her court was the center of anti- Napoleon sentiment and during the Napoleonic Wars; she was a bitter enemy of Bonaparte.

Even past fifty, Maria Feodorovna retained traces of her youthful freshness. Of a robust constitution, she outlived five of her ten children, including her son Alexander I and her daughter in law Elisabeth Alexeievna, seeing the ascension to the throne of her third son, Nicholas I, and even was an influential figure in the early education of his grandson the future Alexander II. She died in Pavlovsk on November 5, 1828, at the age of sixty nine.

After her death, Maria Feodorovna’s memory was revered by her children and grandchildren. Later Russian tsarinas looked up to her as an example to follow. Her Palace of Pavlovsk, in which she lived for so long and left a big imprint, was maintained for her descendants as she left it, almost as a family Museum, in accordance with her instructions, first by her younger son Michael and later by the Konstantinovich branch of the family who inherited and kept it until the Russian revolution.



Offline Yseult

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2006, 04:59:46 PM »
It´s a very good article!

I´m very interesting about the relationship between Maria and her children. How she felt about her elder sons, Alexander and Constantine, and how she felt about the daughters, too...

Offline Elizaveta

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2006, 09:27:50 PM »
Maria Feodorovna was noted for her height--she was said to be the tallest Russian empress ever recorded. I once heard that the taller one is, more self-esteem one has (not always true, but still...), so I'm sure Maria used her height as an advantage to overshadow others! However, I did not know how tall she really was (who knows, she might be thought to be so tall in her time, but in our time, she might be average)...does anyone know?
"I may not be a lion, but I am a lion's cub, and I have a lion's heart"

Elizabeth I

The louder he talked of his honor the faster we counted our spoons.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline aron

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2007, 04:34:10 PM »
I read somewhere that Maria was pregnant 15 times and that she miscarried 5 times. Is that true?

Offline Dru

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2010, 10:53:16 PM »


Maria Feodorovna by Borovikovsky.

Offline violetta

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2010, 06:18:07 AM »
i don`t think maria feodorovna had any political influence. buut when her son aleander I ascended to the throne she made her court in pavlovsk more important than that of the reigning tzar and tzarina. she loved luxury and parties, she loved entertaining guests and she liked stressing her superior position as the first lady of the empire. her carriages were bigger and more lavishly decorated that those of her son, the tzar. elizaveta alexeevna her daughter-in-law,led a more quite life.to be precise she didn`t throw parties she attended only those parties where her presence was absolutely necessary so she was not really popular due to the fact that she led a more secluded life. maria feodorovna, on the other hand, enjoyed being in the center of attention in peterburg society

Offline Dru

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2010, 09:46:38 PM »


Maria Feodorovna.

Offline gem_10

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Re: Maria Feodorovna-wife of Paul I
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2010, 09:55:27 PM »
I read that the relationship between Maria Feodorovna and Elizabeth Alexeievna was not good, especially after Maria Feodorovna became the empress. She didn't like her daughters-in-law Elizabeth and Anna Feodorovna, while Alexandra Feodorovna (Nicholas I's wife) and Elena Pavlovna (Mikhail Pavlovich's wife) were high in her favor.