Life of Catherine the Great
What would be your thoughts, at fourteen years old, if you discovered that everyone was pressuring you to marry an unaffectionate, immature prince? Princess Sophia Augusta Fredericka was put into this situation when Empress Elizabeth of Russia sent for her to become the bride of her nephew and heir, Peter III. Sophia took a strong dislike in her husband and therefore helped to remove him from the throne. She then took charge as the Queen of Russia, and changed her name to Catherine the Great. Catherine was loved for the impact she had on Russia politically, economically, and culturally.
Catherine the Great was born into the family of Prince Christian, August May 2, 1729 in Stettin, then Germany, currently Poland. Catherine’s mother and father, who had hoped to have a son, did not show much affection toward their daughter Catherine. As a child Catherine adored her governess Babette. Catherine described her as, “the kind of governess every child should have.” Catherine’s education was focused on the classes proper for one of her class: history, music, French, German, and religion. At age fourteen Catherine was sent to Russia to meet the heir to the throne, the Grand Duke Peter, a disagreeable youth of sixteen. Soon after Catherine converted to Russian Orthodox, the young Grand Duke Peter and Catherine became married. Their marriage turned out to be a very unhappy one in which little affection and love was shown. Both Peter and Catherine were unfaithful towards each other. However, Catherine did not let her loveless marriage take over her political interests. She would read novels, plays, and verse but was mostly interested in the writings from the major figures of the French Enlightenment. On June 28, 1762, Catherine and her lover Gregory Orlov rallied the troops of St. Petersburg to her support and declared herself the sole ruler of Russia. She had Peter arrested, and for him to step down from power. During the years 1762 to 1796...
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